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“Stay:” Fate, Free Will, and Philosophical Elevator Thoughts

By Emily Von Urff | 26/4/17 11:59am
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This week was a great week to have an existential crisis. At least, that’s what my brain told me.

I spent many a night contemplating the unanswered questions of our species, so when Zedd and Alessia Cara’s newest video set out to answer one of my biggest inquiries, I was all for it.

So, what controls your life: free will or fate?

According to the video, and myself, both. But more on that later.

When I first heard “Stay,” I immediately fell in love with it. For me, it has the perfect balance of emotional turmoil (which speaks to my soul) and vibrant beat drops (which help me forget that emotional turmoil exists). It’s one of those songs that you can listen to at any time or in any mood which is usually a rarity.

I had high expectations for the video because Zedd has cultivated a visually stunning collection of releases for his past songs (I mean, the video for “Stay the Night” is freaking brilliant). Plus, anything with Alessia Cara has got to be good.

Thankfully, they followed through.

The video follows the singer and DJ through a typical, boring day: waking up, getting ready, and leaving their small, dusty apartments to go their separate ways. Cara gets some coffee. Zedd shoots some pool. That’s about it.

But, what if one small moment had changed it all?

The second part of the video chronicles all the ‘what ifs.’ What if Zedd had caught the elevator sooner? What if the two had started talking? What if Cara agreed to hang out with him? And what if all of these moments led to a ‘wrong place, wrong time’ fatality?

Yeah, it just got deep.

Behind the gorgeous cinematography and perfect rewind editing lies a deeper, philosophical conversation: the debate of free will versus fate. What determines the day, year, or life you will have? In the video, small actions seem to change the paths. Zedd catches the elevator the second time around, but did he choose to run a bit faster or did fate make him walk out the door at the perfect time to catch it? Cara made the choice to talk to him, but was it fate that she met him on a day that was wide open for adventure?

I made the choice to watch this video, but was it fate that it came out during my week of existential crisis?

Honestly, our lives could be controlled by both, and I think it’s important to think with that mindset. Fate has multiple plans for you, but they will never come to fruition if you don’t make choices.

Hold the elevator for people. Talk to them. Invite them out. Put yourself in the path of fate. Sometimes, all it takes is one moment to change your entire life.

So, thank you, Zedd and Alessia Cara, for helping answer one of my big questions. It’s videos like yours that make my weekly music video philosophy lessons so easy.