So this was a ridiculously great week for videos — great enough, even, that G-Dragon released yet another perfectly absurd slice of cartoonish awesomeness, one that would’ve topped the list either of the past two weeks, and I didn’t even list it. I can’t lie; it hurts a part of my soul that I’ve listed a Ben Folds Five video while ignoring a G-Dragon video, but that’s the world we’re living in this week. There are just too many great ways to waste your time while listening to music and staring at computer screens, and we’ve got five exceptional ones below.
5. Ben Folds Five – “Do It Anyway” (Dir. Phil Hodges)
It’s cheap, sure, but there’s an instant joy-button activation when you see those Fraggle Rock characters looking so crisp and fresh, their facial expressions still perfectly Hensony. Rob Corddry also deserves special consideration for his wonderfully oily record-producer portrayal, and the little burst of the Fraggle Rock theme was enough to guarantee this one a place. It’s not going to change your life or anything, but this is an extremely pleasant way to spend a few minutes.
4. Nick Lowe – “Stoplight Roses” (Dir. Christopher Storer)
Paul F. Tompkins is one of American comedy’s national treasurers, but just like in Steven Soderberg’s The Informant, he shows here that he’s a strong dramatic actor, too. Here, walking around dejectedly with a tuxedo and a lumped-up face, he tells us nothing of the scenario that led him to this particular situation, but his face tells us everything we need to know about his emotional state at this particular moment. The whole thing is beautifully photographed, too, and it makes the experience of being a Los Angeles pedestrian look not quite as hellish as everyone says.
3. Lotus Plaza – “Black Buzz” (Dir. Nautico)
A story of scuzzball redemption, made to look grand and transcendent even if she’s totally going to go right back to that apartment and wish she still had that TV. Also: Is that Ariel Pink on the couch? If it is, that’s be a pretty great cameo.
2. Aimee Mann – “Labrador” (Dir. Tom Scharpling)
It’s best if you watch ‘Til Tuesday’s “Voices Carry” video beforehand, but you should be doing that anyway. Some dazzling meta-narrative fireworks here: Aimee Mann, playing herself, playing a younger version of herself, looking just as disgusted as she did in the original video but for different reasons. Jon Hamm, playing Tom Scharpling as a sleazy huckster cabdriver type. Jon Wurster, being as wooden and hammy as the situation demands but somehow still not equaling the pure awfulness of the guy in the original video. Everyone involved in this thing deserves a massive high-five, like the kind that leaves your hand stinging for a few minutes after.
1. Frank Ocean – “Pyramids” (Dir. Nabil) (NSFW)
Nabil casts Frank Ocean as Hunter S. Thompson in Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas, more or less. A beautiful and epic and sticky and uncomfortable and generally dazzling vision of a video, one that feels free to utterly reconstruct a huge and perfect song to will itself into being. Also, John Mayer might get the best guitar-solo moment in a video since Slash rode the dolphins in “Estranged.”