Bringing grunge back to the forefront, Los Angeles-based trio, Return to Dust, released their new music video for their single “Cellophane” on September 1st, 2023. The single is off their debut EP The Black Road, and is one of the most thought provoking songs of 2023.
As soon as the video began, I immediately felt transported back to the 1990s, when grunge rock was at its height with bands like Nirvana and Alice in Chains, which the Return To Dust echoes incredibly. But I was not expecting to experience fears I never had before. One of the first images we see is a guitar being played underwater. Not only does this image mimic what a guitar may sound like underwater, I actually felt I was being trapped underwater as the lyrics, “If they run out of oxygen,” filled the room.
The band has previously stated that "“Cellophane" is about fabrication. Whether it’s you trying to be someone you’re not or someone portraying you falsely, there is always a truth somewhere below the plastic." It's an unfortunate statement that I have seen become reality for many people, including myself. Portraying an image or trying to destroy someone else’s imaging can feel like you are drowning in water. The lies build and build and build until they eventually sink to the bottom. But defending yourself and your reputation can also feel like suffocation. If they run out of oxygen, we WILL be alright in the end.
The lyrics “You hold the gun / Say my name / 'Til you’ve got a heart made of cellophane” give the feeling of losing control over a situation. It’s also one of the first times we see the very creepy cellophane wrapped room in the video. The image is suffocating and unnerving and at one point, I feel like I could be trapped in a spider’s web. No matter how much I try to get out of the web, I’m stuck there. The imagery the band creates along with the lyrics of this is truly haunting and they remind us throughout the song and video that we can only control ourselves, not other people. This idea is represented with lyrics, “I’m losing sleep / my rep is under siege / when people talk about me / with their plastic faces,” driving this concept home. The video never lets up on the feelings of entrapment, whether we see members under water or trapped in a cellophane wrapped room. The heavy guitar riffs help keep the listeners immersed in the song and imagery as well.
I have not seen a video that perfectly represents a song like this in a long time. I truly was mesmerized by the imagery and lyrics. While watching, I was reminded that at the end of the day, we can only do our best and our best is being ourselves. Sometimes, that’s more than what others with see-through smiles can ever offer.
“Cellophane” is available now on streaming platforms!
Return to Dust