Are music videos on the way out? I don’t know. Probably not. A million of the things seem to materialize on YouTube every day, and they’re probably still the best way for younger artists to introduce themselves to the curious public. But more and more, big acts seem to be forgoing the music video for promotional stunts: H&M bikini commercials, clips where they go bowling with Steve Buscemi. A note to artists: Those things are fine and all, but they almost never turn out anywhere near as good as a well-executed music video. Below, check out five well-executed music videos from the past week.
5. The Pastels – “Check My Heart” (Dir. Blair Young)
For those of us who spent our late teens and early 20s absolutely obsessed with the British indie-pop universe and the culture surrounding it, videos like this are a huge part of the reason why. As someone who met his wife at a Britpop dance night a decade ago, this is the sort of video where I’d love to dive in and live there.
4. Miguel – “How Many Drinks? Remix” (Feat. Kendrick Lamar) (Dir. Clark Jackson)
Famous and talented friends being goofy together: Still an absolutely winning music-video strategy. Some things just will never, ever change.
3. A$AP Ferg – “Persian Wine” (Dir. A$AP Ferg & Thuan Tran)
The A$AP Mob continues its unprecedented streak of taking murky ’90s rap-video cliches and making them look like the absolute height of fashion. Sure, it’s risible and exploitative to make guns and gold teeth look like the coolest things that film has ever captured, but that doesn’t make this any less of a compelling viewing experience.
2. G-Dragon – “Go” (Dir. ?)
Once again: God bless K-pop. G-Dragon is one of South Korea’s biggest pop stars, and he came up completely within the country’s regimented and market-tested idol-factory system. But he’s apparently also the only person alive who believes that Missy Elliott’s brain-exploding videography didn’t go far enough. He’s here to fix that problem.
1. Disclosure – “You & Me” (Feat. Eliza Doolittle (Dir. Luke Monaghan)
Disclosure’s clip for “White Noise” was arguably the greatest video that 2013 has yet produced, but this one is, in its own way, just as charming and romantic. There’s a narrative somewhere buried in there, and you can probably piece together a timeline if you really want to. But what matters is the overall feeling of young love and freedom and companionship, of how all those things can feel completely intertwined, like they’re different words for the same thing. It’s beautiful.