Unlike Justice’s video for “Stress,” the video for Death Cab for Cutie’s “I Will Possess Your Heart” doesn’t really pretend to be a film, at least not a cinema-vérité documentary. Instead, it might actually be an account of one singer’s obsessive stalking, intercut with (somehow) real footage of the woman he’s stalking as she’s traveling across the world (in my mind, perhaps, trying to get away from him (there are shots of her sleeping, for goodness’ sake)).
As a song, I love this because of it’s slow build, the interminable (I say, even as I fully enjoy it) growth of the music, instruments being added, the volume knob slowly turning, until the wall (okay, fence maybe) of noise gets outrun by Ben Gibbard’s vocals. And the video (though there is a radio edit version) follows the song wholeheartedly, the visual cuts slowly building to create a story out of simple images of woman traveling (and a band playing (in a freezer)).
The lyrics bring that under-darkness to the fore. What does it mean to possess someone’s heart? In this case, it’s a promise that doubles as a threat. I will possess your heart, whether you want me to or not, and you will enjoy it (or simply be resigned to my possession).