Getting matching tattoos with your significant other: cute idea or surefire kiss of death? In the latest video from Lauv, for his aptly titled new single "Tattoos Together," he makes a case for both.
"To me, it wasn't a bad idea because it was such a special time in my life when we were really happy together," Lauv told MTV News about the idea for the song — which, yep, came after he got matching ink with a now-ex-girlfriend. "I think everybody's different. And it's a really cute tattoo. It's not, like, names or something. I think names is where I draw the line."
On the upbeat hook, Lauv takes that no-regrets approach to life by proposing, "Let's get / Tattoos together / Something to remember / If it's way too soon / Fuck it, whatever." That blissfully carefree sentiment comes to life in the accompanying visual, in which he dances around a colorful neighborhood block where flowers are sold like drugs and flash mobs are an everyday occurrence. He and director Declan Whitebloom scrapped an initial idea for Lauv to get a tattoo with a fan, and settled on a more visually interesting concept inspired by the Hall & Oates dance sequence from 500 Days of Summer. In that dreamlike scene, Lauv said, "everything kind of goes perfectly for the main character," which mirrored his own headspace when he wrote "Tattoos Together" last year.
"At that time in my life, I was manic," he said. "I was super, super, super, super unrealistically happy and impulsive because I had just gotten on my antidepressants and I was in a really big hole before that. I was super, super high and I didn't realize it at the time. I wanted the video to feel like you're so in love and it's so perfect, and then had the idea to shatter it at the end with the cheating."
Indeed, after dancing up a storm with his smiley neighbors, Lauv wanders back home, ready to propose to the girl of his dreams. But when he gets down on one knee, he sees her in bed with another guy — which sets off a hilarious outro and blooper reel wherein Lauv cusses up a storm and freaks out about their matching tats by screaming that he "can't be buried in a Jewish cemetery" anymore.
"That scene was funny to shoot because I totally improv'ed it," he said. "We had to do it so many times and the first two times, I really felt in it. And then after you're yelling, like, ten times, you kind of start to feel bad and weird. Especially because, the girl in the video, I think it was her first music video ever, so I felt super bad screaming at her."
Impressively, the video was shot all in one take, though they ended up using the 15th run-through for the final version. Chalk that up to the choreography, which Lauv only learned the day before filming.
"I think it's the most [dancing] I've done," he said. "But I'm going to do a lot more in future videos. I've been learning how to dance, which is really fun."
"Tattoos Together" is the latest taste of Lauv's upcoming debut album, ~how i'm feeling~, and it's not the only new song linked to a piece of his growing collection of body ink. He has 14 tattoos total (none he regrets), with the most recent being the phrase "Modern Loneliness" on his arm, in commemoration of one of his favorite tracks off the album.
"It's this super, super meaningful song to me," he said. "That one's basically about... I feel like these days, I'm so used to never being alone but feeling so alone. It's so easy to feel totally isolated even if there's people around you. I just think it's this condition that a lot of people in my generation feel."
We'll have to wait to hear that song until ~how i'm feeling~ arrives on March 6, after a long and steady rise for Lauv. It's already been two years since he broke out with "I Like Me Better," and he's kept up a constant stream of singles ever since, including "I'm So Tired...," "Fuck, I'm Lonely," "Sims," "Mean It," and "Drugs & the Internet," all of which appear on the upcoming album.
"It feels very long overdue," he admitted about the project's impending arrival. "I'm honestly nervous because there's a lot of different vibes on the album and some of them I think are going to be way different than what people would expect. But they're really important parts of me as an artist, and I think it's the first time that I'm really exploring every aspect of who I am and the kind of music I want to make."
And make no mistake: there's plenty more music (and plans for more tattoos) on the way.
"I'm honestly already working on my next project," Lauv said. "I've just been in such a creative flow, so I'm really happy."