Video premiere: Jim Swim, ‘Softee Boy’

Nolan Ketelsen as Softee Boy. — screenshot

Two years ago, LV reviewer Lucas Benson described Jim Swim’s In It With You EP as “a blend of hip hop, Nick Drake bootlegs, a book of poems by Rumi and a cold Arnold Palmer spiked with a little bit of whiskey.”

It’s striking that, if you squint, those are all things you can imagine existing in the bedroom of Softee Boy (Nolan Ketelsen), in a new video dropped today by Iowa City’s Jim Swim for the song of the same name, off his upcoming Softee Boy EP release. It’s a consistent aesthetic that permeates much of his work, a dreamy, wry and hopeful distillation of his always astute, insightful ponderings.

“Softee Boy” is a gentle, “it gets better”-type look at masculinity and its ostensible limitations. “Softee Boy’s got problems,” the track repeats — but promises, “stay patient tho, there’s space for your way.”

“How long till he learns / How to harden up / And hold his own / When holdin’ on is hard enough?”

The video, by Iowa City’s Benjamin Handler, hews close to the tale of the lyrics, “though it’s not exact,” Jim Swim said in an email, calling Handler “an amazing creative and collaborator.”

“We shot it in Iowa City at our friend Skinny’s house on Lucas Street (such an Iowa City thing to type out lol),” he said.

Softee Boy eventually finds his own way, both in the song and in the cinematic, slice-of-life, Altman-esque video. “I’m gunna learn to love the way I am,” the song asserts, and then pleads: “You don’t have to understand / The way I am / Could just love me / Love me, love me.” But eventually, “Got a different set a problems now, they oughta do / He’ll meet the world as he is, like it’s somethin new.”

Full credits:
Director: Benjamin Handler
1st AC: Ben Palmer
sFX + Set Decoration: Marissa Sill
Asst Editors: Jim Swim and Lloyd Wilcox

Softee Boy played by Nolan Ketelsen
Softee’s Dad played by Ben Rollins
Jim Swim as himself

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