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Murder and Remorse in “Hallelujah” Music Video by Yify Zhang

By Charlie Maybee

Electro indie pop musician, Yify Zhang, is back with a lush new music video for “Hallelujah”. Pulling on the simultaneously emotive and spiritual strings of the song’s namesake, it takes on a haunting feel like an invisible entity keeps running a finger down your spine.

The video features a modern dancer performing gesturally driven movement in front of projected images of misty mountains, flocks of flying birds, deep forests, and more. The primary use of the hands makes the choreography feel sensual in nature to match the echoing, ethereal vocals of Zhang who appears only a few times with a ghostly piano, but there is something pained about the movement that seeps through each gesture.

Lyrically, she digs deep into the darkness, “I killed him off in the haze / I didn’t blink until it was over / Just before I heard the church bells ring”. Murder is something that one might not expect this musical confessional box, but as she sings out “He bled all over my face / And when I cleaned it off in the bathroom / Went to Sunday service singing… / Hallelujah” the titular final word repeats throughout the chorus with a deeply remorseful tone.

As the video progresses, warmer lights start to break through the mist giving us a glimpse of sunshine in an otherwise dim, gray landscape, but it is not permanent. The darkness persists, and perhaps that is something Zhang will have to live with. There is a lesson to be gleaned here about the ephemeral, fluid nature of morality and how it changes to meet certain moments. But like everything else in the music video, it shifts and fades quickly leaving us with nothing but a feeling of unease as the dancer continues to wrestle with Shakespearean spot of blood upon her hands.

“Hallelujah” is available on major streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music. The accompanying music video is also available on YouTube. Find this and more great music on the Alchemical Records Multigenre Mixture playlist on Spotify and YouTube.

Charlie Maybee

Charlie Maybee is a dancer, musician, educator, and writer based in Charleston, South Carolina who currently teaches with the Dance Program at the College of Charleston. His primary work as an artist is with his performing collective, Polymath Performance Project, through which he makes interdisciplinary performance art that centers tap dance as the primary medium of expression and research. He also currently plays rhythm guitar for the Charleston-based punk band, Anergy, and releases music as a solo artist under the name Nox Eterna.

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