Loss, like shit, happens. The degree to which can vary drastically, from a quarter inexplicably missing from your pocket to the passing of a loved one. Regardless, we’re all going to experience it, and often.
That HARLOE (aka Jessica Ashley Karpov) acknowledges this on the newest single from her recently-released sophomore EP, River Runs Dry, isn’t an epiphany. But her expression of loss via the lyrics and especially video for “We’re All Gonna Lose” puts a visceral spin on the concept.
The video illuminates and interrogates a basic question HARLOE discussed in a quote about the song, video and loss in general, that of “What is something that can’t be taken away from you?” She opens the video dressed and framed to the nines, hair impeccable, set against a chic background with flashbulbs popping off. But by the end?
She’s literally stripped down to nothing, having been violently robbed of all possessions and wealth, her hair and clothes brutishly ripped from her writhing frame. The goddess getup is no more. Devoid of the external, all that’s left is her, naked, against a background of basic khaki.
“I can’t give it all with no guarantee / I did everything they said not to do / If I had it my way you’d be right here,” she finishes the opening verse. This acknowledgement of the pitfalls and false promises of whatever a “you” is in a given situation is the foundation of the song. She wants everything, but wants to hedge her bets in going for it knowing loss is imminent.
She continues through a chorus and second verse, crafting a sense of impending doom around the perpetual friction between wanting something and knowing with growing clarity the cost, both in terms of the lies we tell ourselves and what we are ultimately robbed and forced to give up. “Anyway you put it / Yeah we all gonna lose,” she ends the chorus and song.
The video’s enduring image, coming in its final seconds, is that of HARLOE, back to the camera, slowly engulfing herself with both arms. Perhaps this is an act of desperation, clinging hopelessly to all she has left.
To me it’s an epiphany, a loving, primal hug. Stripped down, she is free to embrace her true self. None of the bullshit. Just her essence. The one unloseable thing worth truly fighting for.