The music video Wrong by Depeche Mode has something disquieting and mysterious. The video has been removed from Youtube and now you can find only a few partial videos. You can still see it on Vimeo, but who knows how long? Why does this video look special and obscure?
A short thriller psycho film
The video was directed by Patrick Daughters, a well-known American director, who also worked for Kings of Leon and Muses. The story is set in Los Angeles at night. A car starts moving backwards. There seems to be no one behind the wheel. The streets are wet, a sign that has just rained. On the seats, however, there is a man lying, who gets up and sits down. He wears a white mask. It really looks like a thriller movie with psycho contours.
The car meanwhile continues in its strange race backwards and clashes with other cars. It passes near the Depeche Mode members, who are walking on the sidewalk. They look at the car and meet the man’s eyes.
The car then hits a passerby and throws him to the ground. The masked man notices it and begins to wriggle, seems to be tied and gagged with duct tape. His car hits garbage bins, invests other people, and then is also chased by a police car.
The man tries to untie himself and takes off his mask. Soon he succeeds and we can see his face: the mouth is still wrapped in adhesive tape, from which blood comes out.
The video ends when the car is hit by another car sideways and the man bangs his head on the window, and then collapses. Really a disturbing story, it almost seems like a nightmare.
The meaning of Wrong by Depeche Mode
In my opinion, the video is closely linked to the meaning of the lyrics. The lyrics is about a man, who was born under a bad star and in the wrong family; besides, luck has never been on his side. He himself took wrong paths several times. A mix of situations and wrong choices. It’s a question of chemistry, Depeche Mode says.
The car that travels in the opposite direction is our life, when it seems that the world is on us, events overwhelm us and we go against the current. The man tied and gagged is us, when we look helplessly at what happens in our lives and we believe we can not change it, even if we make every kind of effort.
But really there is no solution for those born under a bad star? 50% depends on what happens but the other 50% are our “wrong choices”. Perhaps there is a margin to change life, it is not entirely a question of predestination.
The mask: the veil of Maya that prevents us from seeing the truth
But what does the mask represent? Man has a white mask, because our existence requires us to wear a mask of banality and daily life. This mask prevents us from seeing the world well. It is a sort of veil of Maya: that mask in a certain sense protects us and does not let us see everything: it hides so many beautiful things, but it also hides so many bad things. The veil of Maya is that metaphorical veil that prevents us from seeing reality for what it really is.
When the man in the video takes off his mask, he dies, because he sees everything clearly, he sees the truth. God had told Adam and Eve not to eat the fruit of the tree of life, otherwise they would have become like him. To become like God did not mean to become powerful and invincible, but it meant to see reality better and to understand what Good is and what Evil is.
To remove the veil of Maya means to free oneself spiritually, to be no longer bound to the body, to radically change one’s own existence. Perhaps the death of the masked man at the end of the Depeche Mode video is a metaphor: it is the rebirth of a new life after understanding one’s mistakes and the meaning of one’s own existence.