ABOVE: TERRY PRICE, AKA PHOTO OPS. IMAGE COURTESY OF KATHLEEN AMANO
There’s a nifty little trick that starts a little under three minutes into “It Makes Me Cry,” the first video from 30-year-old Nashville-based dream-pop artist Terry Price, who records as Photo Ops. We see Price as lead vocalist, keening into a mic about every mistake he’s made, alone against a pitch-black background. Then Price as lead guitar. Then on the keyboard. Then on the drums, the bass. Again and again. Finally, nearly a minute later, it all comes together: four Terry Prices, all wearing the same v-neck t-shirt, all in a row, fitting together the song’s final chorus like a puzzle: “I love that it makes me cry / It makes me cry.”
By the time the parade of Prices rolls around, though, we’re already more than familiar with his face. Director Jordan Noel and cinematographer Bernesto Duende have spent nearly the entire video framing it in brightly-lit close-up, intercut with almost disconcertingly intimate shots of a spotlit Price doing laundry, doing dishes, reclining shirtless in bed. Watching the video, it’s easy to feel a little like a voyeur; and the song’s lyrics are fittingly personal: “I cried like a baby when you left home,” he confesses, and, “I suffered in ways I never thought I would.”
This kind of all-out-on-the-table sincerity would be a ballsy move for any musician, but perhaps especially for Price—as he’ll tell you, “can be a little self-conscious” about his face. In 2009, its left half was completely paralyzed due to Bell’s palsy, a nervous disorder that took Price months of treatment to overcome.
That experience, combined with the death of his father at age 55 in 2011 and the breakup of his band Oblio, informed Price’s solo debut as Photo Ops, How to Say Goodbye, due out February 26. Call it “chillwave” if you must, but be prepared for something a little deeper than music about lawn sprinklers and beach vacations (no disrespect to Real Estate); yes, there’s a song about the ocean, but it was written in mourning. Impassioned, confessional, and surprisingly upbeat, How to Say Goodbye is already one of our favorites of 2013. Ultimately, it’s a good thing the “It Makes Me Cry” video offers such a thorough introduction to Terry Price’s face—we’re expecting to see a lot more of it.
HOW TO SAY GOODBYE IS OUT FEBRUARY 26. FOR MORE ON PHOTO OPS, VISIT HIS WEBSITE.