The video is produced by Bushwick video and performance artist Erica Schreiner.
The spirit and lyrical content of “Wistful” are captured on VHS in Erica’s ethereal, allegorical style. “Part 1” features Johnny reciting a spoken-word piece over the tinkling of a slowed-down toy keyboard in audible need of fresh batteries. We are presented with a single shot of a stew of the visual symbols (literally a fish bowl filled with broken eggs, butterfly wings, and roses) that will be manipulated later in the video.
“Wistful Part II” is a lush and bachata-tinged, off-key lullaby, complete with a QChord, sparkling guitar lines, and Fun Machine arpeggios. As Johnny sings about a ballet of brackets and parentheses and a specific and unnamed “word,” Erica places roses and eggshells (representing brackets and parentheses respectively) in the precise formations dictated by the lyrics. At the center a butterfly signifies “the word.” Surrounded by the opulent soundscape, the lyrics grow more byzantine and chiseled until they open onto a simple chorus:
Like the kind word she whisperedThe Johns, Wistful pt.2
As I was dancing with her
Still makes me feel so wistful
It makes me want to whistle