In July of 2011, country music fans in St. Louis as well as those across the nation were excited to hear the video recorded Facebook announcement that Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood had been asked to host the Country Music Association Awards for the fourth time. Though Brad and Carrie’s awards show banter and obvious friendship had always been well-received by viewers, this would be the first time the co-hosts would appear after having been paired as recording partners as well.
The friends’ first duet, Remind Me, was released in May of 2011. The track reached the top 10 of Billboard’s Country Music Chart the week of July 30th, the same week the accompanying video was released.
The video, which was filmed in the El Mirage Desert in California, was a good choice of setting for the song. In a statement released on both artists’ websites, Brad Paisley commented that this was his first desert video and though he previously had said he wouldn’t do a “cliché'” desert video, in this case, the symbolic reference to the song made the setting make sense.
Remind Me tells the story of a couple whose one-time passion has settled into a bland day to day existence with one another. As the song begins, Brad recalls the fire that used to fuel their relationship but quickly lets the listener know that though the love is still there, the sparks are all but gone. As Carrie chimes in and the lyrics unfold, we find that both partners in this relationship are longing for days past and wanting to find a way to rekindle what they once had.
As the video opens, we see a vast expanse of desert and the very small silhouette of a man amidst the open land. To anyone who has already heard the song, these opening seconds alone can seem symbolic: a man feeling small and lost in a life that once held enough emotion to fill the big space around him. The angle quickly changes, however, zooming in on Brad as he walks toward the camera and then spanning the desert as though the emptiness is the perspective that consumes him.
The first glimpse of Carrie Underwood in the video is of her long skirt flowing in the wind and her sculpted legs and high heels as she walks toward the camera. In an inspired storytelling decision by the director, the first impression of the woman in this couple hints at her beauty and gives the viewer an understanding of the intensity the relationship once held.
As the camera alternates between the close up of Brad and the wide angle of the couple walking toward each other from a great distance, Brad begins to sing. He reaches the line, “Been so long, bet you forget, the way I used to kiss your neck,” and Carrie’s clear soprano chimes in. She simply sings, “Remind me” as she strides toward him in sensual, purposeful steps, running her fingers through her hair and clutching her arms to her chest as though begging him to remember the sparks that used to fly between them.
Carrie’s lines feed off Brad’s and then merge into her own verse, a memory of a long kiss and a missed flight as well as many passionate nights between them. As the intensity of the emotions resurface, Carrie’s facial expressions and body language suggest a woman who is reliving the sweetest of memories intermingled with an incredible longing for her man to bridge this distance between them and show her that he still wants her in the way he once did.
At the climax of the song, Carrie sings, “Oh, if you still love me, don’t just assume I know” as she nearly closes the gap between her and Brad. They continue toward each other. Guitar strains communicate Brad’s feelings while Carrie’s expressions contain just a flicker of flirting while becoming more and more pleading.
When the couple is finally standing face to face, Carrie plants her feet and sings with emotion that seems to swell from deep within her, desperate for this man to remember even as he is quietly pleading with her in return. As Carrie quiets and Brad sings the final “Remind me”, Carrie looks at him with a recognition that they have both come with the same desire. The apparent restraint of her body and the expressions of her face convey the surrender, somewhere between tears and passion that threatens to overtake her. With guitar fading, the sun begins to set on the couple, letting the viewer believe that the night ahead will be one of rekindling that love.
Both Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood fulfilled their roles in this video with beautiful acting. Brad portrays the average guy, for the most part not exclaiming his feelings in dramatic high notes, but rather steadily repeating his desires in a calm, straightforward appeal to his lady. Carrie, on the other hand, embodies the woman in a time-worn relationship, deeply in love and beseeching her man to return that desire with all that is within her.
Though upon first glance, the video for Remind Me may seem simple and lacking in creativity, it is actually the heavy dependence on setting, subtle conveyances and skillful acting that brilliantly tell this couple’s story. Once viewers train their eyes to look beyond the empty space, the video becomes quite a full and satisfying account of the couple’s background, their struggles and the underlying love that will see them through the rest of their lives together.
St. Louis country music fans can enjoy videos such as Remind Me on The Country Network, local channel 30.3, and watch the CMA Awards on ABC’s St. Louis affiliate KTVI, each fall.
Lyrics to Remind Me: (Video in left sidebar)
We didn’t care if people stared
We’d make out in a crowd somewhere
Somebody’d tell us to get a room
It’s hard to believe that was me and you
Now we keep saying that we’re okay, but I don’t want to settle for good, not great
I miss the way that it felt back then
I wanna feel that way again
Been so long, bet you forget, the way I used to kiss your neck
Remind me, remind me
So on fire, so in love, way back when we couldn’t get enough
Remind me, remind me
Remember the airport, dropping me off
We were kissing goodbye and we couldn’t stop
And I felt bad ’cause you missed your flight,
But that meant we had one more night
Do you remember how it used to be?
We’d turn out the lights and we didn’t just sleep
Remind me, baby, remind me
Oh, so on fire, so in love
That look in your eyes that I miss so much
Remind me, baby, remind me
I wanna feel that way
Yeah, I wanna hold you close
Oh, if you still love me don’t just assume I know
Oh baby, remind me
Oh, do you remember the way it felt?
You mean back when we couldn’t control ourselves
Yeah, remind me
All those things that you used to do that made me fall in love with you
Remind me, oh baby, remind me
Yeah, you’d wake up in my old t-shirt
All those mornings I was late for work
Oh baby, remind me, yeah
Oh baby, remind me
Baby, remind (Yeah, you’d wake up in my old t-shirt) me, yeah, oh
Baby, remind me