“What hath night to do with sleep?” John Milton asked in Paradise Lost.
Ella Henderson revisits the question in the video for her single, “Glow.”
Whether Henderson realizes it or not, “Glow” presents an interesting allegory to the ideas in Paradise Lost. It is unclear if she and the little imps (teenagers) romping around in the glow of the evening throughout this video are working for good or for evil. To what ends do they run and through the woods, in search of what?
Director Charles Mehling has crafted a career of beautiful make-up ads, making already stunning women look even more so for the camera with clever tricks of lighting and angle. Pantene and Rimmel dot his resume. Naturally he applies that beauty aesthetic to the look and feel of “Glow,” creating an eternal magic hour look on Henderson’s already lovely skin.
But as Henderson describes in the listeners of her song as “soldiers of the light” and a spotlight shows us the outline of several teenage figures marching in a loose formation, there is the feeling that this uplifting song has been matched with a visual of the tragedy of human experience. The children frolic around in glowing light with no clear purpose or intent. At times the aesthetics make them look malevolent as well as angelic. Are these angels dark, Milton might wonder? Or are they simply in desperate search for freedom — that same freedom Adam & Eve craved in paradise.