Kanye West’s new video for “Lost In The World” is being positioned as a collaboration with a filmmaker rather than a “music video,” and that’s good, since it’s a pretty shitty music video. If there’s a sure bet in music videos, it’s Mr. West, who tends to have a ton more vision and audacity than any other artist of his stature. And there are, to be fair, some striking images in the “Lost In The World” clip. But the video brings no ideas, precious little energy, and no basic sense of what a music video can and should do. Below, we’ve got five clips that do have that.
5. ASAP Rocky – “Goldie” (Dir. ASAP Rocky) (NSFW)
At this point, Rocky’s a better music-video figure than he is a rapper. As with the excellent, mesmeric “Peso” video, “Goldie” gives us a trip inside the syrupy brain of a restless fashion-addict type who spent so much time staring at No Limit album covers as a child that he’s fully internalized the whole late-’90s rap-opulence aesthetic. As a result, he knows exactly how to hold himself while he’s driving a goofy-expensive drop-top down the Champs-Élysées: with one foot hanging out of the car and a blunt hanging from his fingertips.
4. Tennis – “My Better Self” (Dir. Chris Osborn & Matthew Shorr)
Something about the combination of blank, ominous stares and unexpected choreographed dances will always get me. This video goes all-in on the David Lynch atmosphere, which isn’t an easy thing to execute, and it absolutely sticks the landing. It works because it never gives us any reason why this ridiculous scene might be unfolding. That restraint makes a big difference; a video like this lives and dies on its inherent mystery.
3. Tenacious D – “Rize Of The Fenix” (Dir. DANIELS)
Tenacious D were overexposed 10 years ago, but their central concept has always been pretty interesting: They’re extraordinarily talented people who are pretending to be total chumps who are pretending to be extraordinarily talented people. And this effects-saturated video works in much the same way: Making fun of its own green-screen CGI overload while still looking fantastic. And maybe it’s just because I haven’t had to endure a Gulliver’s Travels TV commercial in more than a year now, but I’m not all that sick of Jack Black’s whole thing at the moment. He’s funny in this. Credit is due.
2. B.A.P. – “Power” (Dir. Hong Won Ki)
B.A.P. have built this whole image of being K-pop’s toughest boy-band, something they initially accomplished partly by going all-bleach-blonde. This makes me wonder if Meteor Man was really popular in South Korea. (They’ve mostly switched up the dye-jobs since.) Also, their name stands for “Best Absolute Perfect,” which I love. Like so many other K-pop videos, “Power” succeeds on sheer giddy what-the-fuck spectacle: A crashed spaceship! A blood-spattered megaphone! Some fake tribal face-tats! It’s not quite on the level of “Fantastic Baby,” but it’s getting there.
1. Nas – “The Don” (Dir. Aristotle)
See, this is how you make a big-money rap video.