Joni Payne – More to Do
When I first listened to Joni Payne’s newest EP, More to Do, I was not aware that it was released along with an accompanying short film, which serves as a visual metaphor for several of the EP’s strongest emotional moments. I’m a huge fan of projects that interweave narratives throughout different media formats and push the limits of traditional single-format art. What I find interesting about this release specifically is the way that the images of the film were conveyed through the music without having listened to it. Art does not exist in a single-format vacuum. Ideas are absorbed and translated by artists of different mediums through countless dimensions of inspiration that branch off infinitely in and of themselves.
Payne has a background in modeling and graphic design, so it makes sense that her storytelling encapsulates a visual current. Together with producer Pretty Please, Payne has constructed More to Do as an evocative meditation on disconnecting from the pieces of sentimentality we hold on to from past relationships and journeying forward on a new path of transformation. The first track, “Waking Up”, is symbolic of the initial restlessness people feel as the ties that bind you to another person slowly start to unravel and come apart. The film layers images of a couple in happier times; over footage of Payne alone in dark moments of self-doubt, and once again I am impressed by how the music itself was able to evoke these visuals without even trying.
The lyrics of the title track, “More to Do,” reference drowning in the ocean. While sometimes a subtle interpretation is best, the film takes this literally and chooses to focus on imagery of Payne floating weightlessly in a sea of blue before deciding to eventually surface for air. It works because the interplay between the music and imagery is once again optional. You can watch the supplemental film if you choose to, or you don’t have to and can still experience the emotional impact. Very few multi-media projects tell a story that’s cohesive even if one of the key elements is missing, and that’s why this EP is deserving of a listen or view, whichever you choose.