Alex Cameron Takes Us Deeper Into The Story Behind "Stranger's Kiss" Video With Evocative Polaroids

by Sid Feddema

Alex Cameron is an Australian singer-songwriter who mixes acting and music in the character-driven vein of singer/raconteurs like Tom Waits and David Bowie; in his case taking on the persona of a motel-hopping, down-and-out urbanite plying his music in the grimy streets of New York City. This tendency towards character and story allows Alex to create a unique aesthetic that ties his music and his videos together into beautifully damaged pieces of brilliant storytelling. His voice and style seem like a natural fit for Angel Olsen, an acclaimed American singer-songwriter who has had dreams of becoming a pop star since she was young, and made good on those dreams with a series of mournfully gorgeous records conjuring worlds of love lost and beauty in pain. 

As expected, Cameron and Olsen's voices blend harmoniously together in the duet for "Stranger's Kiss." What wasn't expected was the beautifully strange storyline for the visuals that Cameron and director/actress Jemima Kirke created to pair with the song. Cameron, appearing as a hustling subway busker, stars in the music video alongside Kirke, Cameron's down-and-out admirer, who combs the city frantically for the man she loves. In the video, Kirke starts off on her own, carrying a folded photo of Cameron, displaying it for others to see out in the streets of New York. She eventually finds the musician in the photo at the subway train station, essentially doing the same thing she was doing--attempting to grab the attention of pedestrians passing through. The strangers end up finding comfort in each other's familiarity and share a "Stranger's Kiss". 

We had Alex continue his vision for the video's story with a series of polaroids paired with poetic, eerie captions that show a romance blooming out of desperation in the grimy cracks between the city's facade:

Jemima's about the same height as my mother.  I've got the same look as her father. There's nothing wrong with two strangers getting what they need out of each other. 

Jemima's about the same height as my mother.  I've got the same look as her father. There's nothing wrong with two strangers getting what they need out of each other. 

You won't be able to tell from the video, but we had to shoot in NYC while dodging paparazzi.  You can find the articles online.  Tabloid trash.  Click bait for lonely emotion junkies.  Jemima put herself on the line and the clip proves it was worth it.

You won't be able to tell from the video, but we had to shoot in NYC while dodging paparazzi.  You can find the articles online.  Tabloid trash.  Click bait for lonely emotion junkies.  Jemima put herself on the line and the clip proves it was worth it.

We started shooting in Far Rockaway.  Double double denim.  Jemima was cooking from the word go.  I just tried to simmer next to her.  

We started shooting in Far Rockaway.  Double double denim.  Jemima was cooking from the word go.  I just tried to simmer next to her.  

Jemima is going to be a beautiful 40 year old.  I'd like to court her in her 50s.  She's that kind of beauty.  And her stories of hotel romances and tennis lesson hangovers will be really good by then.  We didn't have much money so cinematographer Ashley Connor used natural light and Jemima's face to carve out the heartbreak.

Jemima is going to be a beautiful 40 year old.  I'd like to court her in her 50s.  She's that kind of beauty.  And her stories of hotel romances and tennis lesson hangovers will be really good by then.  We didn't have much money so cinematographer Ashley Connor used natural light and Jemima's face to carve out the heartbreak.

I don't care how hot it is down in a New York City subway station.  You hold the girl close and keep her back from the tracks.  It was all Jemima's idea.  Including that my character would drink diet coke with the label ripped off.  She's as sick as me.  With twice the talent.  Imagine what we could do together with some money.

I don't care how hot it is down in a New York City subway station.  You hold the girl close and keep her back from the tracks.  It was all Jemima's idea.  Including that my character would drink diet coke with the label ripped off.  She's as sick as me.  With twice the talent.  Imagine what we could do together with some money.