Jehnny Beth has shared the visuals for her latest single, ‘French Countryside’.
The track appeared on the Savages leader’s debut studio album, To Love Is To Live, and ‘French Countryside’ offers up the most personal moment from her impressive record. There’s no facade for the singer to hide behind on the track as she reflects on her upbringing in rural France – a time before the character Jehnny Beth even existed – and she was simply Camille Berthomier. There’s a brutal candour to ‘French Countryside’ as Beth discloses everything and puts herself in the most vulnerable position to date through her career. Beth faces up to memories and feelings on the track that she’s purposefully hidden away from since leaving France over a decade ago.
Commenting about the number, Beth stated: “This is the song that caused me the most issues. Up until the last week of mixing we didn’t have a version I was happy with, but I am very proud of it now. I almost didn’t put it on the record because it is so close to the bone it almost feels too self indulgent, but it was my intention to write a song that felt more vulnerable than anything I had ever written before.”
Adding: “It’s a promise song, I wrote the verses on a plane as I was convinced it was going to crash. I was making promises to myself about what I was going to do differently if I survived. Death has been very present in my mind during the process of writing this record. It all started around Bowie’s death.”
The song saw Jehnny Beth write it alongside The xx’s Romy Madley Croft and long-term collaborator Johnny Hostile. Romy recalled how ‘French Countryside’ first came about, stating: “She played me the beginning lines and they were so instantly visual and different to anything I’d heard her say before, it was instantly a beautiful place to write from and explore.
“It felt like her guard was dropping for a moment and she was inviting the listener in to get to know her vulnerable side, but with a sense that this invitation wouldn’t last for very long. Hearing the album version made me cry because it felt like it was my friend Camille, as I know her, a window behind the Jehnny Beth that the world sees.”
The video for the track is as personal as the lyrics, with Beth staring straight into the lens in a darkened room whilst wearing one of her To Love Is To Live hoodies. There’s a genuine rawness to the visuals that exasperates the message of ‘French Countryside’. The track’s arrangement is stripped-back, as is the video, there’s nothing elaborate about either which creates a pure and sincere result that precisely explains who the real Jehnny Beth truly is.