This was an amazing week for videos, but not a great week for videos with anything in common with each other. Here’s the only narrative I thread I can pull from the five videos below: Two of them are inspirational sports stories, though that’s really all they have in common. So: Olympics? We’ll go with that. Watch the videos below.
5. Pet Shop Boys – “Winner” (Dir. Surrender Monkeys)
Sports video #1: A young transgender woman finds acceptance and community within the world of London roller derby. This one is low on the bloody-mouthed elbow shots we’ve come to expect from popular depictions of roller derby, and it’s big on the simple lyrical goodness of a bunch of people working together to a achieve a common good. It does a great job showing, in subtle strokes, how this ridiculous and near-incomprehensible sport could have such a hold on so many people.
4. Torche – “Kicking” (Dir. Andrew James Cox)
Sports video #2: A doofy oaf on an adult kickball team gets caught smashed in the head by an errant fly ball while he’s checking out a girl in the crowd. He has a crazy motherfucking hallucination and then leads his team to redemption and gets the girl. It’s fun sports-movie stuff, and I love how ineffectual and awkward the video makes the actual game of adult kickball look. But the real heart of this thing is the hallucination, which is just too much fun.
3. Psy – “Gangham Style” (Dir. ?)
I’ve watched a whole ton of K-pop videos in recent months, but I have no idea what the fuck is even happening here. It is amazing.
2. Antwon – “Living Every Dream” (Dir. Brandon Tauszik)
If the song, with its Pictureplane production, goes in heavy on early-’90s dance-cheese, the video straight-up overdoses on it in an extremely pleasurable way. The summery settings and breezy choreography all transport us to some nonexistent paradise where Soul II Soul videos keep going and going forever, where you never have to leave.
1. Bat For Lashes – “Laura” (Dir. Noel Paul)
As a guy who makes his living writing for a music blog, I can say, with complete confidence, that the impeding return of Bat For Lashes is the best news we’ve gotten all week. Even better: She returns with this insanely gorgeous song and this video that matches it perfectly, a mysterious all-image piece about glamor and performance and lens flares and the simple beauty of bodies moving together. The same way that Black Swan had me thinking that maybe I should pay some attention to ballet, this video has me thinking maybe I should pay some attention to modern dance.