The top two videos on this list couldn’t be more different in terms of concept, execution, intent, emotion, or aesthetic — or, perhaps least important of all, music. They do, however, have one thing in common: They’re both biker epics. A couple of weeks ago, Twin Shadow landed at the top of this list with his own biker epic. The message to music video directors, then, is a simple one: Make more biker epics. Check out this week’s picks below.
5. JEFF The Brotherhood – “Sixpack” (Dir. Elise Tyler & Michael Carter) (NSFW)
There’s nothing especially groundbreaking in a music video about a bunch of friends who go out into the woods to party; it’s practically a music-video subgenre unto itself. But the sun-dappled, shaggy aesthetic of this particular video, and the wide variety of fun shit that the kids in it find to do, makes this one of the better, more memorable ones. It’s basically impossible to watch this particular video without wishing you were there with everyone, even the naked fat guy. Fits the song perfectly, too.
4. Bombay Bicycle Club – “Beg” (Dir. Darcy Pendergast)
You have to be a very good dancer to make any sense out of this song’s percussively twisty Brit-rock, but the two guys in this video are ridiculously, incredibly good dancers, and it’s a lot of fun to watch them pop-lock their way across London. There is real joy at work in this video, and it can’t be easy to get that kind of thing on film, even with two subjects as great as these guys.
3. Aesop Rock – “ZZZ Top” (Dir. Pete Lee)
In which aging Chinese martial arts gold medalist and general badass Patti Li takes out an entire battalion of dudes, all of whom are invading her garage for no discernible reason. I admire any music video that knows it’s fine to just give us a straight-up fight scene devoid of context, and as a connoisseur of cinematic fight scenes, I have to say: This is a pretty good one. The final showdown with Baseball Bat Guy is my favorite kind of movie fight: The one where the two combatants develop a mutual respect, one that you only get to see through body language, before somebody eventually has to die.
2. Spiritualized – “Little Girl” (Dir. Vincent Haycock)
Motorcycle stunts are some of the most instantly exciting things you can put on film, so it takes true directorial talent to depict them as the final refuge of a desperate girl trying to escape her shitty Eastern European life. Haycock pulls it off, and he still keeps the pure exhilaration of those stunts intact. And the final scene in the crusty Euro-biker hangout is something like the cantina scene in Star Wars, except real: A quick glimpse at a weird and dangerous world that you didn’t know existed.
1. T-Ara – “Day By Day” (Dir. Cha Eun Taek)
I know certain members of the commenting community really, really wish I would stop posting K-pop videos, but, I mean, come on. Here we have a girl group who have recorded a sweet Abba pastiche of a single. So the video, naturally, is a 10-minute post-apocalyptic mutant ninja biker epic melodrama. Bonus points for the not-terrible special effects, the anime dream sequence, and the to-be-continued cliffhanger ending that actually makes me want to see the follow-up. There’s a version of this video out there with English subtitles, but it really won’t help you understand this awesome ridiculousness any better. And as long as I keep seeing stuff like this, there’s no way I’m not posting it.