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Tune-In Tuesdays #83 BONUS: Sunbeam by Census

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By: burgundy bug

“Sunbeam” by Census

Source: Sunbeam | Census

Arkansas-based progressive rock band Census gracefully raises awareness on the deep, emotional scarring of sexual assault with the music video for their latest single, “Sunbeam.”

Trigger warning: This article contains descriptions of sexual assault that may be upsetting for some. If you or a loved one are currently struggling with sexual abuse, please call the 24/7 National Sexual Abuse Hotline (800-656-4673) or visit their website to live chat with a trained staff member.

If your partner is displaying verbally or physically abusive behavior, please call the National Abuse Hotline (1-800-799-7233) or text “LOVEIS” to 1-866-331-9474.

A Bit of Context…

With Ben Carey as the vocalist, Bo Sawyer on the guitar, Jathan Neider on bass, and Josh Coleman on drums, Census has rocked festivals and stages with their modern metalcore sound and deep lyricism.

“In the spring of 2017, the band was chosen to play So What?! Music Fest through a contest held by festival founder Mike Ziemer,” says the press release for ‘Sunbeam.’ “Census is constantly working to evolve and mature their sound by writing music with purpose and providing others with a platform to be involved.”

Their latest single, ‘Sunbeam,’ shines a light on the emotional toll of childhood sexual assault.

“‘Sunbeam’ is about a girl who deals with sexual abuse and battles depression and mental manipulation from her current partner,” the band explains in the press release. “Ben wrote this song for a friend of his (who would like to be anonymous) after hearing about how she went through some of the same experiences. We decided to make sexual abuse the main topic of the music video because, especially in 2020, it is becoming increasingly more clear how common sexual assault is, and we wanted to use this song and story to bring awareness to that.”

“It’s a hard thing for people to talk about, and honestly, it’s a hard music video to watch at parts, but it’s a real issue and it’s important to acknowledge it, rather than pretend it doesn’t exist.”


Sunbeam by Census

“Sunbeam” by Census music video

Source: Census – “Sunbeam” (Official Music Video) | Census

Immediately, the cinematography and dialogue in the music video for “Sunbeam” set the tone for the emotional importance of the track. It has a very grim, dark beginning. We see the nameless protagonist as a child, asking her mother to go play, but her mother dismisses her.

The older man, presumably her uncle, is sipping whiskey and says he’s going to nap it off. The mother doesn’t think much of it — and if she does, she doesn’t say a word.

We see the girl, a bit older now, in the psychologist’s office talking about how her parents dismissed “it,” because it was easier not to deal with what occurred.

As we see when the video cuts back to the uncle, he doesn’t simply go to “nap off” the liquor. He goes into the little girl’s room just one door down the hall, and the abuse happens behind closed doors.

For such a heavy topic, Census has made a conscious effort to make their representation of the story has graceful and sensitive to their friend — and anyone else out there who may have similar experiences.

The cinematography throughout the video is deliberately gut-wrenching. It doesn’t just focus on the abuse, but simultaneously draws the listener’s attention to the impact of the abuse — the trauma, the depression, the manipulation from the protagonist’s current partner. It also highlights the impact of the bystanders for their inaction.

As the music starts, we see Carey standing beneath a single blue spotlight with TV playing static behind him. His dynamic range and gripping vocals are the perfect build up for the heavy-rock guitars that follow the intro.

The camera pans to show words “depression,” “paranoia,” “unwanted,” and “nothing” etched into the wall in glow in the dark paint before panning to the rest of the band.

“I was different before,” the young woman says during the interlude. “I smiled and laughed like a little girl. But now I feel like a stranger in my own body. It’s like… It seems like there’s no escape.”

The raw emotion behind the band’s instrumentation, vocals, and lyrics can not be stressed enough. There’s a very deep sense of anguish, a desire to seek justice, and sincere compassion on behalf of the band as they deliver the message of the story.

Parts of the music video truly are hard to watch, and it is by no means the fault of the production. It’s incredibly well made, to the point at which it feels so… real. It’s nauseating and infuriating.

But sexual assault isn’t something you can just click off of in real life. We need to have these discussions and representations in the media, from “Sunbeam” to the #MeToo movement.

It’s easier said than done to speak up but we need to give a voice to those who have survived. They need to be heard.

And Census has done a remarkable job amplifying that voice. I commend them for their maturity, their empathy, and for their talent.

“Sunbeam” itself sounds amazing and the lyricism is fantastic, but the message they’re raising awareness of is truly remarkable.

Thank you, Census, for releasing “Sunbeam.” I can’t wait to hear what you release next.

Give Census’ “Sunbeam” a listen on Spotify or watch the music video on YouTube now!
Be sure to follow Census on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to keep up with their latest releases.

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burgundy bug


A cynical optimist and mad scientist undercover, burgundy bug is the editor, graphic designer, webmaster, social media manager, and primary photographer for The Burgundy Zine. Entangled in a web of curiosity, burgundy bug’s work embodies a wide variety of topics including: neuroscience, psychology, ecology, biology, cannabis, reviews, fashion, entertainment, and politics. You can learn more about working with burgundy bug by visiting her portfolio website: burgundybug.com

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