This is a mournful moment, given the heartbreaking news coming from Connecticut. And while there are far better uses of your time and bandwidth right now — demandaplan.org, for instance — this here is what we do. We watch videos all week, and then decide which ones we like best, and then we recap them. We do that work because it’s the work that fosters this community, and in return we have a place where we can talk about how maybe we should all meditate on the root causes of an incident like this. And address mental illness treatment. And our fatally flawed gun control system. And then maybe contact someone. What happened in Wisconsin feels like just yesterday. Shit, two things like this happened just this week. It’s all happening, and all too frequently. That’s a fact. It’s up to us to work.
So, then, to the work of this week’s videos. Only proper music videos qualify for a roundup like this, which means Cat Power’s instant-classic Funny Or Die clip, and Solange’s charming stop on Fallon, while amongst the week’s best bits of video content, are out of the running. (Go watch them! They will cheer you up, momentarily.) And yet, there were five music videos worth highlighting at week’s end. Here they are.
5. Heems – “Soup Boys (Pretty Drones)” (Dir. Rohan Michael Hoole)
While this video is no technical marvel, the low budget clip for “Soup Boys (Pretty Drones)” is extraordinarily interesting for anyone with even a passing interest in the exploits of Himanshu Suri, or his recently defunct art-rap project Das Racist. Heems’s writing tends to filter all things American through his Indian-American prism, so here we finally get to see India filtered through his Indian-American prism. (That Lushlife, also Indian-American, sampled the Indian viral hit “Why This Kolaveri Di” in his production of the track only enhances the vibe.) Filmed at a relatively sparsely attended Heems festival-set in Pune (before DR’s breakup news hit, if that affects your perspective any), it captures Himanshu dancing in his hotel room, kicking it with goats, surrounded by people with a similar skin tone … and still looking pretty solipsistic and lonely. Stay tuned for his next move.
4. SSION – “Psy-Chic” (Dir. SSION)
Over the years, KC genre (and gender) experimenter Cody Crichteloe aka SSION has amassed some impressive video directing/producing credits — for the likes of Santigold (“Big Mouth“), Peaches, Gossip, and CSS. Naturally, he tends to helm the clips for his own music, too, and while that degree of Ouroboros could be a hubristic disaster, something tells me SSION wouldn’t object to being represented by something eating itself. And as a result, this video is chockfull of the kinds of unfiltered, totally amusing ideas that could come only from him: It stars a pair of duetting Codys in a collage of bizarre humor, After Effects camp, and great use of green screen. “Psy-Chic”’s a lot of fun.
3. The Killers – “Miss Atomic Bomb” (Dir. ??)
Part animated, part live action, the clip the Killers released for “Miss Atomic Bomb” this week is their second crack at it — the first was boring, and didn’t contain the song’s ridiculous widescreen romance. No, a more fitting vessel, it turns out, is an elaboration on the storyline from their classic video for “Mr. Brightside.” It’s both a prequel (telling the story before “Brightside”’s fateful night) and a sequel, showing how Brandon’s love for that blonde really was doomed after all. Eric Roberts himself turns up to reprise his role and win the girl all over again; Flowers grows up to be a nostalgic old man, alone with his photos in a dusty trailer. As commenter kilgore trout posted, “When is Brandon Flowers gonna learn? You find yourself at odds with Eric Roberts over a girl just give up and move on. You’re gonna lose.” Sad but true.
2. Toro Y Moi – “So Many Details” (Dir. HARRYS)
There’s a lot about this that I find personally surprising. For starters, I haven’t cared much for Toro Y Moi’s output to date, “Still Sound” aside. And I never really thought of him as the sort that could pull off a high-income, casually debonair swagger with such fluid ease, which he does in the wardrobe of this video surprisingly well. It’s almost as surprising to hear how adroitly he navigates the “squirmy plastic-soul,” as Tom put it. This song jams, and I’ve watched this video like five times. It’s got a classic recipe (beautiful girl, shagtastic outfits, nice car, luxe house, aircraft) but with a twist (it stars Toro Y Moi and not someone who earns enough to afford any of those aforementioned bits), which is the secret to success in any such creation. The beauty of the production, the direction, or the girl don’t hurt. This is video’s a lot of fun to watch, and the song has me watching Toro in 2013.
1. Jessie Ware – “Sweet Talk” (Dir. Joel Wilson)
As we learned at The Box in NYC this week, Jessie Ware is not only the year’s Best New Artist in terms of writing, production, and vocals, she’s also surprisingly, adorably endearing, even when she’s airing dirty laundry about sample clearances and lawsuits. So the video for “Sweet Talk,” which stars an insanely cute little girl as a child-version of Jessie, is an absolute bullseye. This kid may as well be Jessie’s spirit animal. The video’s other child-producers are fantastic, too. It’s a treatment that fits the song, and the artist, while also being the most sharable with your entire family. Hence it is this week’s Best Video Of The Week. Propers to Jessie, who is great.