“Before” by NIKI


It’s rare in this day and age to see an album tell a full story. Sure plenty of artists talk about the story their albums tell but an album that is actually a cohesive narrative track to track is hard to come by. So it is especially notable when an artist attempts to connect their songs in a truly meaningful way. Up-and-coming Indonesian singer-songwriter NIKI has taken a stab at this and really pulled it off. NIKI has been singing and making music since she was fifteen, and in her short career, she’s had multiple huge milestones including opening for Taylor Swift. Her latest album, Nicole, contains a series of tracks that interconnect to tell the story. This story even led to the creation of a short film titled But I’m Letting Go starring NIKI and Peter Adrian Sudarso. One of the tracks part of this interconnected story is “Before”, which is the lead single from Nicole and was released on June 3rd, 2022.


Before still 1

The spark is totally gone in this relationship.


“Before” begins the story of this album with the end of a relationship. The song covers NIKI’s time in college and how her relationship wasn’t able to survive it. NIKI wishes she was able to go back to “before” when things were good but she knows she can’t go back. There is no future for them together and this is truly over. This is the same relationship that NIKI details in “Oceans & Engines” and “High School in Jakarta”, the latter of which actually shows us the “before” times NIKI is nostalgic for.


Before still 2

NIKI consoles herself alone in the bathroom while wearing her optical white high top chucks.


The music video begins with NIKI and her boyfriend in a car, debating going to a Halloween party. They eventually head on in but it is obvious that things are not great. They are cold and barely holding onto each other. We see their day to day activities which either feature the pair arguing or evading eye contact with each other. When they are out during the day, we see NIKI is wearing optical white high top chucks as she did in the other video in this series. We also see that the only time NIKI’s boyfriend truly lights up is when he sees his friends. It’s after this and an awkward lunch date on the hood of a car that they truly have the hardest talk you can have with your significant other. They break up and NIKI consoles herself in the dorm’s bathroom before silently leaving into the night. It’s an all too real visual of the last days of a relationship, and as we see in the other videos in this series, it was once a beautiful one filled with joy. This makes what we see here all the more painful.


Before still 3

NIKI gets up and walks out of this relationship into the unknown.


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