Are we lucky to live here or not? It’s a question every Vancouverite asks themselves constantly, the pros including one of the most spectacular settings on the planet, the cons starting with, um, the price of practically everything.
The beauty of Colleen Rennison’s video for “I Do” is the way that it operates as an understated love-letter to a city that is often more than happy to forget its past. While large swaths of old Vancouver continue to be bulldozed for condos, condos, and more condos, the backdrop here is East Van, with its quaint heritage homes, ramshackle alleyways, century-old grocery stores, and still wondrously intact Chinatown.
Visually, “I Do”—the new single off the upcoming full-length Persephone—serves as a reminder to get out and see the underappreciated parts of the place you call home. Hop on your bike sometime and pedal through Strathcona and you’re guaranteed to be enchanted by a neighbourhood that throws back to an era of parlour radios, kitchen ice chests, and double-hung sash windows.
Fittingly, there’s something transcendentally retro about “I Do” on the sonic side of things.
Famous for possessing one of the most powerful set of pipes in the city, Rennison is mostly a model of restraint there; instead of firebrand blues, we get vintage soul at its most cinematic, the gorgeousness starting right off top with majestic throwback strings. “I Do” goes on to channel the best of ‘60s AM radio—a time when the likes of the Shirelles, the Crystals, and the Ronettes reigned as new queens of American pop music.
The highest compliment one might pay Rennison here is that she sounds beautifully timeless—like the Strathcona neighbourhood she rides through in the video.
As the song builds to a wide-screen finish—all exploding-star vocals and wall-of-sound strings—Rennison finds herself standing on the shores of the West Coast ocean. It’s a setting so dramatic that, no matter how much things change in this city, it always makes you glad you call Vancouver home.
Do you feel lucky to live in Vancouver? The message here from one of the city’s most gifted singers is that you most certainly should. So stop and think about what you’ve still got, even as endless condo towers continues to take over the skyline. And, because it’s true, feel free to answer that question with “I do”.
Watch for Colleen Rennison’s new album, Persephone, later this year.