Intentionally or not, the message is something of a confusing one—and not just because of the seemingly random hockey helmet.
In the video for the melancholy, yet somehow gorgeously uplifting, “Collider”, Kuri starts things by walking out and then slumping against a white screen in front of two school-assembly chairs. When two take-no-shit guys who clearly work out more than you and me show up to take their places in those chairs, that foreshadows why the man also known as Scott Currie is carrying a hockey helmet.
What follows might be an interrogation. Or it might be a couple of dudes watching a heartfelt confession from Kuri, who, like the rest of us, had something of a rough ride during a COVID-19 pandemic that upended the world as we once knew it.
Discussing his upcoming sophomore solo album, I Love You, You’re Welcome, Kuri says “I Love You, You’re Welcome was the title before I wrote a single piece of music. It was initially meant to be a funny jab at how we often subconsciously expect praise in return for something that should be given freely. But during the pandemic, I started relating to the phrase very differently.
“I was writing these songs almost as a farewell to a past self,” he continues. “The change in me came from a place of love for my former self, and so the title transformed into meaning, ‘I love us and where we’ve been, but it’s time for us to step into something new.’ ”
For Kuri, that meant moving forward as an artist with a lush and symphonic release that sounds created by a small army, but in reality came together DIY-style in the basement of his Abbotsford home. After the songs were built in solitude, friends were called in for backing vocals, giving things a choral feel that suggests Sufjan Stevens or Sam Tudor in their most uplifting moments.
“I want to create songs that are meant to be sung communally,” Kuri notes. “This record is me trying to scratch every artsy and/or complex musical itch I have while creating something that feels accessible and familiar. Basically, I like to play in weird time signatures, but in a way that my mom can still sing along.”
Kuri knows something about the power of music that’s designed to be celebratory—his first live experiences had him playing drums, and then guitar, in the Mennonite congregation attended by his family. More recently, when not making music for himself, he’s carved out a burgeoning career as a Hollywood composer, scoring movies like the Bruce Willis flicks Gasoline Alley and American Siege.
But we’re getting a little off track here—let’s pull things back to “Collider”.
As mentioned, the video's one-act story arc is confusing, this driven home by mixed-message song lyrics like “I wanna die young I want to see what I’m missing”. One possible interpretation? There’s an endless afterlife waiting for us, and we’re wasting time on Earth as long as we’re alive and grinding the days out 9-to-5.
A minute into the proceedings things take a turn—with the caveat that the timeline subsequently bounces back and forth. One second a makeup-smeared Kuri is getting roughed up by those who’ve been watching him, the next his mini-audience is sitting there passively—and seemingly judgmentally—studying the singer. Counterintuitively, the real ultraviolence starts when “Collider” shifts from a downbeat meditation into indie pop at its most soaring and beautifully uplifting.
After standing up and bracing himself for a beating at 3:47, Kuri—hockey helmet in place—proceeds to get exactly that, the fists flying and blood flowing to lines “I don’t want to live here anymore”.
At the end, as he lays on the floor beaten, there’s a small smile on the singer’s face. The message? That’s for you to figure out. And it’s okay if you can’t, because things in life are seldom straightforward. That's why people sometimes end up looking for something more.