Tuesday Tunes – “Black Sun” by Death Cab for Cutie

Today’s tune is one of my favorites from Death Cab for Cutie’s 2015 album, Kintsugi. The Japanese term “kintsugi” translates to “golden joinery” or “golden repair,” which is the art of repairing a broken piece of pottery with a gold, silver, or platinum lacquer. (Source) According to this philosophy, the repaired piece does not lose value for having been broken. The filled cracks are considered part of the object’s history and add to its beauty.

Frontman Ben Gibbard has said that “Black Sun” is about “squaring the past with the present.” The song also presents opposing situations that contrast beauty and brokenness, for example, “death upon the vine,” “an answer in a question,” and “hope within despair.” The music video expands on this theme, showing the opposing realities of a stuntman and an actress.

I think this video serves as a metaphor for a broken relationship. The stuntman shoots a difficult scene in the sun over and over, further hurting himself each time, and has to eat his meal and tend to his injuries alone. Meanwhile, the actress is given a styling team, a comfortable chair, and even has someone holding an umbrella to shade her from the sun. It’s a visual representation of someone giving all of himself to a relationship while the other person contributes far less. Eventually, the stuntman reaches a breaking point of sorts when his body breaks the car windshield he’s thrown himself onto. It’s only after the windshield breaks that the stuntman’s work is finished and the actress gets in the car. Similar to the concept of kintsugi, he will leave the set hurt and broken, but stronger and more beautiful for what he’s endured.