New Sounds: Carissa Johnson revisits ’90s kitsch in video for ‘You Lost You’


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Carissa Johnson has demanded our attention this year a number of times — first for her 2017 Rock and Roll Rumble win, and again with an inspiring Porchfest performance — but with the release of her new music video “You Lost You,” she stands out by giving us a serious nostalgia trip.

The video, which Johnson filmed around Boston with friend and area comic Alan Richardson, mixes live shots from her show at The Sinclair in late July with videos of the singer meandering around the city, 1990s-band style (certain snippets of Helium’s classic vid for “Honeycomb” come to mind).

“It’s an important song to me and has resonated with a lot of people,” Johnson says. “I wanted to portray it through a video and it was more of a challenge for myself than anything. I set aside a day to walk around Boston and get b-roll footage and I set up a tripod to do the rest. I edited it all while on the west coast while touring, I wanted to see if I could edit a whole video and make my own and not rely on anybody else to film one for me.”

The “You Lost You” video encapsulates fuzzy ’90s home videos with black and white shots and disorienting clips, sewing together images of Johnson in Downtown Crossing with sped-up driving shots and fade-into-the-sunset footage. Abundant hairflips and Johnson’s signature black pin-n-patch-clad jackets complete the whole package.

“I was inspired by a lot of ’90s videos when I put this one together, with the black and white, slow motion, fast forwarding and rewinding,” she adds. “It doesn’t have a set storyline but I wanted the confused emotions and a lost feeling to come through.”  

By the end of the video, the overall aesthetic comes full circle as Johnson sings “We used to walk hand in hand/And now we’re a time capsule in the sand.”

“You Lost You” marks the first that Johnson has released via her new media label Fuel Heart Productions, and she also has plans to make more videos for other bands on the Boston scene through her label.

More immediately, Johnson plays Koto in Salem tonight (August 11) with Stars Like Ours and Diablogato, and performs an acoustic set Sunday (August 13) at ONCE Ballroom for Bob Colby’s 65th Birthday Bash. Watch “You Lost You” below.