Hunter Hayes is trying out a new way to tell stories through his music. His new music video trilogy “Pictures” takes us back to the Doo-Wop era and uses his songs as soundtracks rather than the focal point of the videos. The trilogy got off to a strong start, setting up stories and romances that would have been interesting to develop. But the second video, set to Hayes’ “More,” cuts to a new scene that leaves more confusion than clarity.
“More” is a strong country-pop song about a couple falling more deeply in love than they thought possible, but the video never touches the lyrical content. Instead, we follow a single mother as she trying to forge a career in photography while her husband is serving in the Korean War. It’s a lot to cram into four minutes and never strikes the emotional chord it’s aiming for.
The only memorable moment comes when the woman refuses to photograph the interracial newlywed couple that she passes in the park. This moment points out that she is a racist just as Hayes sings “Just like that, I love you more.” It is confusing, to say the least. But this troubling twist occurs for no reason. It is irrelevant to what is happening and a completely effective method to make us not care about this woman or the song to which we are being introduced.
What if the story had followed the newlywed couple from their introduction in Episode 1 up to their marriage? It would have followed the lyrics as they fall in love despite the judgement from strangers in the park and would have built a story across the videos. Instead this trilogy has become a series of semi-connected pictures looking at life in the American midcentury. It’s an interesting way to debut new music, but with weak storytelling it’s hard to take a second look.