Ask Dallas Green what went wrong with his previous relationships and he’ll tell you that he’s the problem. The Canadian singer/songwriter behind the primarily acoustic moniker City and Colour has made a career off of combining persistent love with desperate self-loathing, but his 2015 ballad “Lover Come Back” is different. Despite that Green still harps on his personally-triggered relationship issues, his love-sickness is countered by a much more optimistic supporting cast. The up-tempo percussion offers a strong auxiliary backbone, the piano is sparingly light, and the guitar leads with a cheerful resonance that teeters on a twangy alt-country style. Although Green remains as the pleading protagonist and anti-hero, it’s as if he has a newfound group of friends to support his emotional woes during his temporary period of perceived loneliness.
While “Lover Come Back” lyrically alludes to a distant interpersonal romance, the music video suggests an entirely separate theme. A skillful African-American ballet dancer casually revisits scenes familiar to his ancestry and makes a defining statement in the most expressive fashion he possibly can. The man gracefully dances through church ruins, cotton fields, and other symbolic venues to show that his antagonized history does nothing but inspire his currently articulate and colorful freedom. In that sense, the term “Lover Come Back” may refer to the dancer himself conquering his own familial demons to reach a state of personal liberation.