There were many strong music videos this week, and a couple that I loved, from actual adults. But no grown-up is going to beat a charged-up mob of Minneapolis children rapping about bikes and school uniforms. I’m sorry. It’s just not ever going to happen. Our picks for the week are below.
5. Queens Of The Stone Age – “If I Had A Tail” (Dir. Boneface & Liam Brazier)
I’ve been enjoying QOTSA’s sustained effort to turn vast chunks of their album into soundtracks for nightmarish videogame-cutscene killscapes, though they might be better if they had any story to tell or any real point beyond “check out some fucked up shit.” This one wins because it reminds me of both Akira and Spy Hunter, and because it actually has a girl in it for once.
4. Melody’s Echo Chamber – “Some Time Alone, Alone” (Dir. Grant Singer)
It’s amazing what happens when you remove all the sounds — the dings and whooshes and rollercoaster-screams and carny barking and Eddie Money songs coming out of shitty loudspeakers and general teenage-mob tumult — from a state-fair midway at nighttime. If you take all that stuff out and replace it with a lovely soft-focus psych-pop song, you’ve got a total dreamscape on your hands. And if you’ve got Melody Prochet floating through it all like a cloud, so much the better.
3. Kendrick Lamar – “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe” (Dir. The Lil Homies & OG Mike Mihail)
A beautifully shot video of a ridiculously charismatic performer doing a great job, but the first time you watch it, you’re wondering why all these people are so fired up and happy at a godddam funeral. And even though the punchline has the same sort of old-man rap grousing as, say, Jay-Z’s “D.O.A. (Death Of Auto-Tune),” it’s an actual punchline, and I laughed. Bonus points for the extended version with the little bit of a new Schoolboy Q song at the end.
2. Mikal Cronin – “Change” (Dir. Claire Marie Vogel)
This is a seriously funk punk-rock slice-of-life video even before the invisible man shows up, and the special effects are pretty great for what must be a pretty tiny budget. But the real reason to watch this one is, of course, the admirably sweet story, the utterly relatable feeling of being a kid who’s trying and failing and finally succeeding at finding a place for yourself in some freak scene. I’ve felt something like that final smile a few times in my life, and I cherish all of them.
1. Y.N.RichKids – “My Bike” & The NSJ Crew – “Khaki Pants” (Dir. Ben Hughes)
You can’t ask me to choose between Y.N.RichKids’ video about riding bikes and the Y.N.RichKids side project’s video about looking cool while wearing your school uniform. You just can’t. It’s impossible. They both win. It’s been almost a year since “Hot Cheetos & Takis,” and it does my heart good to know that these kids are still rapping like unhinged adorable demons and that they’ve apparently become local heroes in their hometown. They’re hanging out with Slug and Brother Ali! They’re doing synchronized bike-dances at the Vikings’ training facility! They’re getting piggyback rides from roller derby girls and baseball mascots! They’re skipping their fancy pants and doing the khaki dance! Pay special attention to Ben 10, the little screaming kid with the dreads and the Angry Birds shirts, because he is the best kid. If I had a record label, I would sign him immediately. I’d sign all of them.