The Rolling Stones have been leaning into a high level of theatrical spectacle in visuals for songs from Hackney Diamonds, their latest studio album. In the newly-released music video for “Mess It Up,” the British actor Nicholas Hoult stars as an ex-boyfriend who doesn’t know what he has until it’s gone.
In the visual, directed by Kendrick Lamar and Anderson .Paak collaborator Calmatic, Hoult walks out of a tumultuous relationship and dances his way through the seasons. As time passes, he grows a scruffy beard and the Stones sing: “Oh, I said I’m sorry, mmm, I know it ended bad/You came to the right place, baby, at the wrong time, it’s kinda sad.”
When Hoult’s character comes to this realization, too, it’s too little too late. When he returns home and finds the front door locked, awaiting on the other side of it is a young boy. Shock overcomes the man, who has seemingly been away for at least a few years, having believed he was better off on his own. But when the woman he left behind reacts in fear, rather than celebrating his return, her new beau swoops in to rescue her — and to knock Hoult out cold.
Hoult is the second Hollywood star that has been recruited to appear in a Rolling Stones music video this year. In September, the band shared the accompanying visual for “Angry,” which featured Euphoria and Anyone But You actress Sydney Sweeney.
The entire release of Hackney Diamonds has felt celebratory, in a way. It’s the first album of original music that the band has shared since 2005 and their first since the death of drummer Charlie Watts. “Mess It Up” is one of two songs recorded for the album prior to Watts’ death.
“Anything I do is a tribute to Charlie Watts,” Keith Richards told Rolling Stone earlier this year. “It’s impossible for me to lay anything down without automatically thinking that Mr. Watts is laying the backbeat down.”