Squirrel Flower (aka Ella O’Connor Williams) is releasing her Polyvinyl debut, I Was Born Swimming, on Jan. 31, 2020. She made a splash with lead single “Red Shoulder,” a wrenching rock tune that pairs her poised vocals with scorching guitars, sounding astoundingly alive. “Headlights,” Williams’ new track, is practically its opposite—a soft, shimmering track that proves she’s just as excellent in the realm of tender introspection.
“Headlights,” which explores an existential moment Williams experienced while on the road, recalls the luminous, gentle guitar stylings of Julien Baker. ”‘Headlights’ takes place in a moment of solitary reflection; a glance back and a glance forward,” says Williams. “I wrote it on tour driving through the pioneer valley in Massachusetts in some heavy fog. Suddenly I was aware of the space the car was plummeting through, both physical and temporal.”
Director Bao Ngo also shared the influences behind the music video, which has Williams channeling retro glam as she takes a melancholy drive in her convertible:
The video for “Headlights” was inspired by cheesy, classic imagery of actors riding in cars through LA—evoking glamour and sunshine. Here, we ran with the concept and placed it in a Massachusetts suburb on a cold winter day, driving around in circles in a convertible, shooting from morning til night, playing with a slightly warped sense of time so that the video would feel a little cold and a little lonely, and perhaps at times a little jarring, while still aiming to subtly reference the beauty of older Hollywood films.
Watch “Headlights” below, along with Squirrel Flower’s 2018 Daytrotter session.