I haven’t been charting it or anything, but I’ve been writing these lists for the better part of a year now, and despite a few slow weeks, they seem to get better all the time. So here’s something to chew on: We could be living through a new golden era of the music video, even if most of the great videos coming out these days are way low-budget and have basically no chance of airing on even the remotest cable channels. Below, we’ve got two sponsored videos, from Urban Outfitters and Funny Or Die, which is a new thing in the internet era and one that seems to be a good thing. We’ve also got three that take advantage of the low costs of something like this — digital film, HD cameras, editing software — to burrow some truly personal visions into our collective brain.
5. Dinosaur Jr. – “Watch The Corners” (Dir. The Director Brothers)
A goofy and one-note concept, sure, but a goofy and one-note concept that’s executed nicely, by actors who take the silliness seriously. It’s also a rare piece of work from Tim Heidecker that doesn’t make my want to rip my eyeballs out; he does a nice and occasionally understated job as the dad here.
4. A$AP Ferg – “Work” (Dir. A$AP Ferg, Shomi Patwary & Thuan Tran)
It’s nice to see that A$AP Rocky’s heightened, fashion-damaged rap-video aesthetic extends to the rest of his crew, as well. So here’s resident knucklehead Ferg strutting around an abandoned courtyard in bothrobe and doorag, with a toothbrush hanging out of his mouth, before moving his operation to a literal mountain of cocaine. Also, gold fronts: god’s gift to rap videos for at least the past 20 years.
3. Peaking Lights – “Dreambeat” (Dir. Jordan Redaelli & Jason Miller)
A saga of outer-borough redemption and discovery on the big-city dance-floor — which is to say, this is pretty much an updated version of the Saturday Night Fever story. But we’re dealing with a female protagonist and vogue balls, so that story’s gender roles aren’t just flipped; they’re twisted around and kicked through the air and then just thrown out in the trash anyway. Also, this whole thing just looks gorgeous.
2. Major Lazer – “Get Free” (Feat. Amber Coffman) (Dir. SoMe)
In the past, the French director SoMe has been responsible for excellent and hyper-stylized music videos like Kanye West’s “Good Life” and Justice’s “D.A.N.C.E.” But for this one, he goes all slice-of-life, capturing a ton of isolated slow-motion images of Jamaica that, whether he’s filming sweaty clubs or wooded seasides, come out looking absolutely beautiful. It’s enough to make you wonder why you’ve ever bothered to spend time anywhere else.
1. Grimes – “Genesis” (Dir. Grimes)
The last superhero movie of the summer.