Savages lead singer Jehnny Beth has shared a new music video for her contribution to the Peaky Blinders soundtrack, a ripping single called “I’m The Man.” The video was done in close collaboration with the Peaky Blinders crew, as it was directed by the show’s acclaimed writer and director, Anthony Byrne, and features a spoken-word overlay from Cillian Murphy.
The video for “I’m The Man” opens with a close shot of a rain-soaked sidewalk before the camera turns the corner into a shady, neon-lit alley. Standing at the other end is Beth, hands crossed in front of her at attention. While the shot moves closer to the figure, Murphy’s somber voice recites a spoken-word piece called “A Place Above.” “Wars come and money flows,” he intones. “Everybody loses including me, including you. And I am left with feelings of hatred and violence.” In the shot, a man gets out of a car and begins screaming in Beth’s unchanging face. A deep synth grows while Murphy gives his last lines: “There’s a place above where I like to go in my head. It’s a place where I see others in their little ways. Where I know how to see.”
Beth’s eyes snap open suddenly and the collected persona she exuded before is lost. With a wave of determined anger, she trudges forward in her black trenchcoat—shoving strangers, stealing cigarettes and spitting in faces. Her chaos is unparalleled and watching the display of madness is admittedly pretty refreshing. With a Peaky Blinders-like level of badassery, she spits the lines, “I’m the man / All my friends are men / When we come to town / You should fear the man.” Beneath her voice, we hear hard-hitting drums and a crunchy bass line stirring up a bed of noise.
Then for a brief moment, Beth’s mania gives way to melodrama as she lies down on the muddied streets, clawing against the asphalt—but not for long. The ripping guitar riff re-enters and she takes hold of the camera, screaming into the lens. She’s taken control of everything in sight.
Beth explains in a statement where the explosive anger across the track is derived from:
“I’m The Man” is an attempted study on humankind, what we define as evil and the inner conflict of morality. Because it is much easier to label the people who are clearly tormented by obsessions as monsters than to discern the universal human background which is visible behind them. However, this song has not even a remote connection with a sociological study, collective psychology, or present politics; It is a poetic work first and foremost. Its aim is to make you feel, not think.
“I’m The Man” is featured on the Peaky Blinders original soundtrack, which was released Nov. 8. You can watch the video for the single below.