screenshot from joji glimpse of us video

Joji’s ‘Glimpse of Us’ Exposes the Harsh Reality of Grief

Whether you’re grieving a breakup, a death or just the passage of time, the song is a beautiful reminder that you are not alone.
August 4, 2022
9 mins read

The song “Glimpse of Us,” by Joji, is a song with many layers that rose to the No. 10 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 and went viral on TikTok and Instagram. The song was released on June 10 and since then has easily become one of the most popular songs of the summer. But why does this song matter? Alongside being one of the most singable breakup songs on the radio, “Glimpse of Us” dives deep into the grieving process and the raw, chaotic rage that can come with loss. The song connects with a wide variety of people by expressing the pain of loss and reassuring listeners that they are not alone.

Glimpse of Us” is about a man who is still grieving over his last relationship despite being in a perfect new relationship. He describes the downward spiral he experiences trying to find himself again, only to admit that he has gotten nowhere.

The first verse is fairly short, but it explains so much. Joji sings, “She’d take the world off my shoulders if it was ever hard to move. She’d turn the rain to a rainbow when I was living in the blue. Why then, if she is so perfect do I still wish that it was you? Perfect don’t mean that it’s working, so what can I do?” This is not an uncommon feeling after getting into a new relationship after a breakup, especially if the grieving party is not given enough time to heal emotionally before trying to start over. Many times, we expect too much from ourselves and try to “bounce back” just weeks after a relationship ends, but sometimes that simply isn’t possible.

Joji pulls this idea into the chorus, in which he explains that just looking into the eyes of his new love reminds him of his past relationship. Whether his past relationship was good or toxic, it still left a scar that he has yet to heal from. He finishes the chorus by saying, “Said I’m fine, and said I moved on. I’m only here passing time in her arms, hoping I’ll find a glimpse of us.” Here, he reveals he wants to move forward with his new relationship and heal from his past, but it just doesn’t feel the same.

The song is sung in a slow tempo with sad, mellow vocals. However, the chorus picks up with stronger vocals and louder instruments, adding an almost forceful aspect to the song. The shift reveals the rage the protagonist feels behind his sadness and eagerness to feel something other than pain.

“Glimpse of Us” is a tearjerker on its own, but its music video adds an entirely new level to the grief we feel after a breakup. The video is filmed in found-footage style using an outdated camera and blurred-out faces, making the video feel as if we are taking a glimpse into the life of our protagonist. The content is jarring, to say the least; it employs troubling themes of gang violence and drug use, as well as disturbing language and images. However, it reveals the reason behind our protagonist’s downward spiral into gang violence: severe depression that set in after losing the love of his life. Violence is his coping mechanism.

The video for “Glimpse of Us” displays the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. In the beginning, we see our protagonist getting shaved and tattooed, likely to join the gang we see throughout the video. This is denial. He is distracting himself with things that seem great and new and exciting, even though they offer no long-term fulfillment.

Next, we see anger. Throughout the entire video, our protagonist fights, yells, cusses and destroys things. While he may not be directly yelling about his past love life, he still finds release by wreaking havoc wherever he goes.

We then see bargaining. We do not see this side much in the video, but it is there. In a quick clip, he texts someone labeled “baby” and asks them why he is doing the things he is doing to himself. He follows by texting “I miss you,” hoping to bring some normalcy back into his life. It is not revealed who exactly he is talking to, but nonetheless, he is bargaining for his sanity.

Throughout the video, we also see drugs, alcohol use and clips of overwhelming sadness — all signs of severe depression.

The only stage we do not see is acceptance: a healthy contemplation of the relationship and the realization of reality as it is. The video is not meant to glorify gang violence or substance abuse at all. Alternatively, the video and song together make for an eye-opening display of the true grieving process of a breakup.

The meaning of the song is not only applicable to breakups; many listeners find comfort in the song after the death of a loved one. Others may relate to the song when grieving the simpler times of childhood when everything seemed perfect. The song strongly implies it is about a breakup, but the pain is universal, which is why the song has gained so much attention and praise from listeners. In a way, we have all experienced this same type of suffering. But how do we apply this? What is the true takeaway from the song “Glimpse of Us”?

The answer is empathy.

Whether you’re grieving the death of a loved one, the end of a relationship or just the passage of time, the pain is the same. It can be hard, and it can take a long time to heal, but it’s not impossible. Healing takes place when you let go of your past and start prioritizing yourself. Harvard Medical School identifies a couple of ways to do this, such as exercising, taking on additional responsibilities and reaching out to loved ones.

However, the most important part is time. Give yourself time to grieve. Cry it out. Lay in bed. Take some time away from the world and reflect on what just happened. This can be healthy as long as you do it intending to better yourself and not distract yourself with things that can harm you. If you know someone who is grieving or experiencing a downward spiral of emotions, remember to always show empathy and not impart judgment. Sometimes, all people need is a shoulder to cry on to help them through tough times.

Joji’s “Glimpse of Us” is stunning. It is equally beautiful and chaotic, showing us the five stages of grief through sounds and visuals. Its universality touches every listener differently while still conveying the same message: You are not alone. You have people. You have loved ones. And even if you don’t, there are people out there who understand what you are going through, and they want to help you. No doubt, this is the most beautiful and important song of the year.

Tori Rose, Spartanburg Methodist College

Writer Profile

Tori Rose

Spartanburg Methodist College
English and Religion

My name is Tori Rose, I am an Engish and religion major at Spartanburg Methodist College, and I love Marvel, being outdoors, and, of course, writing!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Don't Miss