Singer, songwriter, poet, and essayist Cameron Dezen Hammon revisits and reinvents the 80s on latest album, Words Don’t Bleed, interpreting eleven iconic song- all originally performed by male artists- through a female’s lens. Hammon has toured the country with her band the Rebecca West, landing a coveted spot on PBS’ Oxford Sounds. Her writing has been published in NYLON Magazine, Role/Reboot, Columbia Poetry Review, to name a few.
Today, Elmore is premiering Hammon’s video for Don Henley’s warm-weather anthem, “The Boys of Summer.” Hammon told Elmore of the classic track and her plan for the shoot, “[it] was one of the first songs I chose to record for my album… For the video, I wanted to play into the nostalgia from the original song and video, but add in an element of decay, and a little bit of darkness. When were were filming, which we did in Galveston, Texas on a rainy day in March, the city felt haunted, abandoned by the crowds of happy sun worshipers, and vacationers. All that was left were the empty amusement park rides and beaches, which is a lot like the feeling you get when a relationship has ended. We wanted to capture that.” She continues, adding an extra, macabre tidbit, “Fun fact: the cemetery where we shot is one of the oldest in Texas, and contains many graves dating back to before the civil war. A local Houston magazine calls Galveston “the most haunted city in America,” and we wanted to infuse “The Boys of Summer,” a song about lost youth and lost love, with that sense of something darker and mysterious.”
The pulsing synth and rock ‘n roll swagger of the original can in fact belie the heavier themes of the lyrics. Hammon emphasizes them by slowing down the track into a gauzy, indie ballad. Her voice is gentle, but carries a heavy maturity, and can channel her graceful pipes to convey a sense of pain. She uses syncopation to dwell on and emphasize crucial lines; “I never will forget those nights, I wonder if it was a dream,” she croons wistfully. Cinematographer Ben Wyman follows her closely as she explores the grey, barren landscape around her, and uses closeups on her face to drive home the theme of reflection on the past.