After last week’s explosion of awesome, this week couldn’t help but feel something like a letdown in the music-video department. But there was still definitely some heat, especially in our pick for the week’s best video, one of the most beguilingly strange and inexplicable clips of the year. Weird anomaly: All five of this week’s videos come from solo artists. (That’s if we’re counting Best Coast as a solo project. Sorry, Bobb Bruno.) Check out our picks below.
5. Azealia Banks – “Liquorice” (Dir. Rankin)
A Harlem dance-rap princess dives deep into willfully silly American pop-culture iconography, and the end result looks something like a Lenny Kravitz video from 1999. And even though I hated Lenny Kravitz videos in 1999, that still turns out pretty fun, since nobody is making 1999 Lenny Kravitz videos these days.
4. Regina Spektor – “Don’t Leave Me (Ne Me Quitte Pas)” (Dir. Ace Norton)
There’s some extreme adorability on display in this, Spektor’s headlong dive into the sort of French New Wave physical comedy that Jacques Tati developed. When, say, Spektor puts a piece of toast on her face and sunglasses over the piece of toast, it’s a long way from being funny, but that image, along with the many others on display here, is light and fun and unboring, and that’s ultimately all a music video needs to be.
3. Glen Campbell – “A Better Place” (Dir. Kii Arens & Jason Trucco)
The Rhinestone Cowboy’s visual goodbye to the world is not without hokum, but that hokum makes room for genuine sentiment and the sort of rose-tinted memory that we should all have when we’re getting ready to say goodbye. While it’s nowhere near that video’s level, this is like Johnny Cash’s “Hurt” if it focused on happy memories instead of things lost. And just try to not get a tiny bit choked-up during that scrolling text at the end.
2. Best Coast – “The Only Place” (Dir. Ace Norton)
Best Coast’s Instagram-style love letter to Los Angeles comes out as an homage to early-’80s MTV, which seems appropriate enough. I’m fairly certain that image of Bobb Bruno buried in the sand with his guitar is ripped straight from a Huey Lewis video I saw once as a kid. And like Norton’s Regina Spektor video, this is a lighter-than-air barrage of images that never lingers too long on any one thing. Norton’s been around for a while without ever getting any real attention, but just take a look at his resume. The man has some magic.
1. Fiona Apple – “Every Single Night” (Dir. Joshua Cahill)
No idea what’s going on at any particular moment here, but god bless Fiona Apple. And I would absolutely watch the version of Cloverfield that consists entirely of her wandering obliviously around Paris during the giant snail/octopus invasion.