The real best music video of this week isn’t on this list, since it wasn’t actually a music video at all. But Frank Ocean’s performance on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon was drop-dead gorgeous. It won’t leave my head anytime soon, and I don’t especially want it to. But there were also plenty of strong regular-definition music videos this week, and we’ve picked five of them. Check below.
5. OFF! – “Borrow And Bomb”/”I Got News For You” (Dir. Whitey McConnaughy)
After his years playing a lovably ineffectual authority figure on News Radio, it stands to reason that Dave Foley would be perfect as the clueless teacher rapping to teens about punk rock. And Foley is effective in this, understated and convincingly befuddled. But he’s not the best thing about it. Instead, I have to give it up for the way the video goes all-in on the early-’80s UHF-channel aesthetic, treating it like the trailers between movies in Grindhouse. And I would totally watch Lethal Justice if it was a real show.
4. Crocodiles – “Endless Flowers” (Dir. Pete Dee)
Speaking of retro, we get a few dizzily piled-up layers of it here, with the Crocodiles dudes doing an excellent job playing the ’00s version of the ’80s version of ’60s greaser heartthrobs — something the band members probably learned more from watching Cry-Baby a bunch of times as kids than from any first-generation rockabilly source material. Also: Bonus gore!
3. Twin Shadow – “Patient” (Dir. Keith Musil)
I don’t ask for many things in this life, but I’m really hoping that Twin Shadow and Keith Musil will actualize their shared potential, turning Confess into a full-length meditative, lyrical exploitation-movie opera with all these music videos. This one’s not quite as immediately indelible as “Five Seconds,” and the story feels a little smaller, but those choreographed biker-bar dances? Those are the best.
2. The Shins – “It’s Only Life” (Dir. Hiro Murai)
Apocalyptic visions are almost always a good look for music videos, and this one has a euphorically suburban sensibility to it, with a little kid in an antler helmet treating the entire occasion like Christmas. I also like the video’s menacing but weirdly beautiful Princess Mononoke-style beasties. I’m not quite sure why James Mercer needed to be in this thing, but then if they were making this video from a song I wrote, I’d probably want to be in it, too.
1. Justice – “New Lands” (Dir. Canada)
A classic underdog story, except told through the style of some incomprehensible hyperviolent futuristic Rollerball-style hybrid sport. And I think the underdog team is playing against robots? It’s all very Base Wars, which means it’s a type of splattery, big-budget absurdity that works perfectly with Justice’s cheese-rock anthem.