A Deeper Look into Robert Taira Wilson’s New Single: Dragonfly - By Michele Tanabe
As most of you know, Robert Taira Wilson is one of More than Music’s favorite headliners and his most recent slew of singles is causing all sorts of a ruckus among his fans, don’t worry, it’s a positive sort of uproar.
With songs like Blackbird and Morning Light, it’s impossible not to momentarily slip back into my teenage guise, even if for just a few minutes, and swoon over mesmerizing medley and lyrics that have the potential to make your heart break into a million tiny pieces. Robert’s music and lyrical tone speak to me on a very raw and nostalgic level. Mostly because I was the typical preteen who sat in the back of the bus, headphones concealing newly pierced ears, listening to similar melancholy alternative music. Transporting me into made-up music videos sewn together from the blurred images passing by, in painful moments I saw myself in the jilted lead singers you’d see bleeding their hearts out on MTV. Hurt and broken, I’d carry my Walkman around with me like it was armor.
Melancholy aside, Dragonfly hits differently. It’s not your typical heartbreak to love song as I had originally expected from Robert. We’re introduced with lines such as “vagabond across the ocean” and “all my promises so heavy on my chest,” seamlessly threaded together with ambient chords that give off heavy feelings of hope dotted with slight apprehension. This song immediately diverges into something more personal and exposed. When tied together with his music video, the song’s message comes to fruition.
In grainy black and white, Robert crashes out of the ocean, surrounded by lapping waves and a serene coastal backdrop. Yet, there’s something off about the introductory visual that makes your gaze struggle to comprehend. The opening lines “in the distance and delirium,” tease you. You may actually be somewhat delirious because something is definitely off. Then your mind finally catches up to what’s playing out on screen and the realization that the music video is in fact playing in reverse hits you. Scenes of crowded city train stations and busy streets solidify the perception. Backward-walking people whiz by Robert as he slowly walks his way through the world he’s crafted to further convey his innermost persona.
The artist himself comments that “the concept behind [the reverse effect] is that, once our lives and journeys are over, people generally feel like they go ‘back’ to their homes and/or to the places where they grew up in. Going back to the places they belong to. I feel very different. It may be a slight exaggeration and it may not be how I feel in the future, but I feel like I have arrived at my home.” And it’s true, Robert is charging forward through this reversing world, signaling that while he’s found his true home, he’s also gone through a transformation in the process.
This refreshing surge of beautifully crafted songs and music videos begins with Dragonfly. Not only as the title of the song but also as an overarching theme to…well, pretty much everything. Depending on the source, dragonflies can symbolize rebirth, transformation, change, and new beginnings. It almost seems like Robert planned this out on purpose. Whether planned or just a perfectly placed coincidence, you will soon sense that something incredible is afoot, and it has begun with Dragonfly.
Catch Robert Taira Wilson's next show here.