PopScreen: James Blunt, "Goodbye My Lover"

Dir. Sam Brown

James Blunt’s latest video is the sort of melodramatic, post-bad break-up story that would be expected from everyone’s favorite sensitive singer-songwriter. We find Blunt dejected once again, sitting in an empty hotel bedroom reflecting on his past relationship.

This relationship was presumably with Mischa Barton, who is in another hotel room wasting little time in enjoying the intimate company of another young man. The proximity of the two rooms in unclear, yet the sterile, impersonal quality of the hotel atmosphere suggests an affair.

Faithful viewers of “The O.C.” will find Barton in a familiar role: the tormented lover. If there are any differences between her character here and Marissa Cooper, they’re not apparent. She wears flowing, angelic white clothes in a white-curtained room. But she’s clearly no angel, because she left poor Blunt so sad. The sexually-charged, possibly adulterous images of Barton wouldn’t have been out of place in the movie “Closer.”

Similarities with Blunt’s other chart-topping ballad “You’re Beautiful”—also from his debut album “Back to Bedlam”—leave us wondering if he’s ever happy. Dark lighting, whining lyrics, sparse décor, and the hopelessness of his message are—bluntly—depressing.

Desultory frames of grass, statues, a parking meter, and a parking lot litter the video with overwhelming feelings of loneliness and desolation. At the end, we hear Blunt coo about being “so hollow” and we see Barton in her bed alone as well. The suggested affair has possibly come to a close, leaving her just as stranded as her former lover. The only thing that we’re sure of in the end, and indeed one of the few sure things in life, is that James Blunt is sad.