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Music Video Breakdown: 'Don’t Leave Me Alone' by David Guetta ft. Anne-Marie

At first glance, “Don’t Leave Me Alone” seems like any other pop tune about a girl yearning for her lover. We have Anne-Marie, an ice-blonde starlet, reminiscing about a reticent man as she drifts through her morning routine. Their moments together are sweet and short: kissing and letting loose on the dance floor, caressing and reaching for leaves, paddling under a bridge. As expected from David Guetta, the music is catchy, captivating, yet simple, and the visuals are nothing short of stunning, especially given their subtleties. As Anne-Marie laments, “Don’t you ever leave me, don’t leave me alone,” the screen gently crackles with silver static interspersed between short sequences where Anne-Marie stares longingly at the camera.

Yet there’s an unmistakably eerie feel to the setting: Anne-Marie’s eyes glow with an artificial cyan hue, her bedroom is situated in an apocalyptic steel box, and — perhaps most creepily of all — all of her memories of her boyfriend are, in fact, digitized experiences played through her virtual reality glasses. Throughout the video, small details that would otherwise go unnoticed heighten the mystery of the futuristic environment and transform the meaning of the lyrics. For example, hanging over Anne-Marie’s bed is a black and white poster of man with crimson graffiti scrawled across his face, spelling out the words, “NO GODS NO MASTERS.” Does it refer to anarchy, nihilism, or perhaps even feminism?

As Anne-Marie pours cereal into a bowl, we’re able to discern the words “i am cereal” on the plain white cereal box. The brandless cereal box seems to be a mockery of rampant product placement in music videos. It proclaims instead to be simply what it is: just plain cereal. Beyond the bedroom windows is a “Metropolis”-esque city filled with skinny skyscrapers, a throwback to the ’20s. In fact, the entire atmosphere of the bedroom evokes a certain nostalgia for a time before advanced technology became commonplace. The room is filtered in soft sepia tones reminiscent of 19th Century photography, a stark contrast to later scenes cast in bright blue light emitted from fluorescent bulbs.

“A-, a-, -lone,” Anne-Marie softly wails as she sits alone, wallowing in misery. Her croon soon breaks into a hypnotizing beat as she slips on a pair of virtual reality glasses to cure her loneliness. And indeed, her escape from reality does help her cope with her emotions, at least for a few minutes. The glasses immediately take her to a dance club where neon pink and blue strobe lights bounce across writhing bodies. Emerging from the crowd, her lover gazes upon her as he languidly approaches her. We get a glimpse of his unnaturally light irises, prompting us to wonder whether he’s a real human being or just a simulation.

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Firmly secured on Anne-Marie’s spandex jumpsuit is a neon green yin-yang symbol, which seems in line with the theme of her lyrics: She’s unable to exist without her counterpart. But as her virtual trip nears its end and the two land in a barren tundra, reality hits and her lover fizzles out, leaving her cold and alone. We’re taken back to her bedroom as she lowers her glasses, leaving us to wonder who or what she really can’t live without. Is it simply her boyfriend, or is it technology itself?

— Staff writer Jennifer R. Xiao can be reached at jennifer.xiao@thecrimson.com.

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