You’ll all be proud to learn that I managed — just barely — to restrain myself from naming the rap video that stars the terrifying decrepit pro-wrestling quasi-legend as this week’s #1 video. This took an incredible amount of self-control, and I’m still second-guessing myself about it. Just know that, if you’re making a video, you will absolutely earn yourself a place on this list if you cast Sid or Spike Dudley or TAKA Michinoku or Glacier or the Disciples Of Apocalypse or Norman Smiley in it. This week’s picks:
5. Death Grips – “Hustle Bones” (Dir. Ben Berman)
Death Grips’ music is all about visceral stomach-churn immediacy, so the shots of frontman Stefan Burnett emerging bare-chested from the shadows to wave his beer bottle in your face while he yells at you — well, they’re effective. Not sure what the weed in the washing machine is all about, but that image, for whatever reason, sticks in your head too.
4. Pop. 1280 – “Bodies In The Dunes” (Dir. Jacqueline Castel)
As a song, “Bodies In The Dudes” is almost over-the-top in the way it suggests churning, creeping dread. And in the video, Castel gives all that dread a (bandaged) face, as well as a bunch of beautifully composed images of carnage. There is more than a little Dario Argento in this clip, and god knows that the music videos of the world could always some more Argento.
3. Kindness – “House” (Dir. Daniel Brereton)
This is more a goofy conceptual skit — a riff on Leonard Bernstein’s 1967 TV special Inside Pop: The Rock Revolution — than a music video; the song doesn’t even play through most of it. But the video does interesting work taking us inside the process of putting a disco-pop song together, Adam Bainbridge’s deadpan delivery is commendable, and that kid! So cute!
2. Smoke DZA – “New Jack” (Dir. Nicolas Heller)
Back in the days before ECW imploded, I loved the shit out of New Jack. He’d run to the ring with a garbage can full of weapons, he’d barely ever complete anything resembling a wrestling move, and he’d just beat the shit out of people while Ice Cube and Dr. Dre’s “Natural Born Killaz” played on a loop. Sometimes he’d pretend to play an acoustic guitar and do a little dance for a couple of seconds before splintering it over somebody’s head. He was the best. And now here he is, stapling a dollar bill to his forehead in a rap video for a song named after him. I like Smoke DZA a lot, and this hard, purposeful song is probably his best work. The video looks good for a low-budget rap clip. But let’s be honest: This is really just all about New Jack showing up and letting us see his forehead scars again.
1. Feist – “Cicadas And Gulls” (Dir. Keith Megna)
It’s great when smart, simple ideas work out. Here we have Feist and Mountain Man singing a pretty, sparse song while street-dancing dudes bust interpretive moves around them and the crowd of onlookers manages not to make any noise. Somehow, the dancers and the musicians both manage to give off the impression that everyone respects what everyone else is doing and that this is an actual piece of performance art, not a conceptual stunt. The slightest hint of smirkiness could’ve sunk this thing, but instead it’s pure good vibes all around.