Rudy’s lyrics take us to the precipice of this experience by telling us her story. Yet, as almost half of “Handshakes” is an instrumental coda, we are left to fill in the rest for ourselves. Hello June finally delivers the wistful sentiment that has been building the entire song in a crash of warmth and longing. Meanwhile, the video’s impressionistic imagery tracks the music exactly. The effect is like a choreographed dance, with each movement and cut becoming part of the ongoing motion of the whole video.
At the end, the viewer leaves Rudy where she began: alone in a field. I have the impression that the wash of memory that has flooded over her recedes here, leaving her pensive and reflecting on how she got to where she is, how her experiences both contributed to and took away from her to leave her what she is now. There’s a bit of ennui in the final dissolving crescendo of the guitars and feedback. Perhaps much was lost along the way. More than anything unsettled, however, is a sense of peace with the world of the past.
Virginia Woolf once said, “I can only note that the past is beautiful because one never realizes an emotion at the time. It expands later, and thus we don't have complete emotions about the present, only about the past.” Hearing “Handshakes,” watching the video, and thinking about my grandmother and my childhood, I have to agree with Woolf.
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