You guys are going to hate this week’s list so much, but it’s high summer now, and I just can’t be bothered to list whatever piece of dark experimental conceptual indie rock silliness that someone might be into. This is a time for bright, shiny, professional high-grade pop music videos, videos about love and dancing and having fun, videos that get you excited that the weekend is only a few hours away. (Justin Timberlake should’ve been on this list, of course, but he had to make a boring ponderous naked-chicks video rather than the fun nightclub thing that “Tunnel Vision” demanded.) Check out the picks below. (Oh, and we skipped last week because of the holiday, so this has videos from last week, too.)
5. Jamie Lidell – “Big Love” (Dir. Michael Carter)
Lidell is probably the most fun-to-watch person who’s ever recorded multiple IDM albums (not that this is a huge distinction or anything), but this is the video where a drill team from Cincinnati absolutely blows him off the screen, to the point where it’s a good thing they didn’t share any scenes together.
4. Ciara – “I’m Out” (Feat. Nicki Minaj) (Dir. Hannah Lux Davis)
Weapons-grade pretty-lady charisma. Blinding-white catsuits on a blinding-white spaceship. Gold fronts rocked artfully. Nicki rapping her ass off for the first time in a while. Expert quick-cut editing. Fake rain. A million-dollar song given a million-dollar treatment (or one that’s made to look like a million dollars, same diff). We don’t see any of these things often enough, but we see them all here.
3. Phoenix – “Trying To Be Cool” (Dir. CANADA)
A dizzy blast of whimsical new-wave absurdity that never runs out of fun things to do. I really hope that ping-pong part was real and not CGI, because it’s easily the most impressive thing here. If Thomas Mars can toss a dove from his sleeve and then immediately hunch down and do that, while lip-syncing, he is a dark-horse candidate for baddest-man-on-the-planet honors.
2. Janelle Monáe – “Dance Apocalyptic” (Dir. Wendy Morgan)
It just makes sense that Monáe’s take on “Hey Ya” would have better dancing and better costumes and more fun ridiculous touches and a more girl-friendly agenda and a roughly equivalent level of starpower. Also, Monáe in hairstyles other than the trademark pompadour? Total revelation? I hope she makes videos for every song on The Electric Lady, which comes out on my birthday and which looks like it’s going to be a pretty amazing present.
1. 2NE1 – “Falling In Love” (Dir. ?)
This one isn’t on this week’s best-songs list because the rest of the Stereogum staff is refusing to see greatness as it stares them directly in the face. History will prove them wrong. Here, the closest thing we have to Destiny’s Child today (and that includes the brief reunion of the actual Destiny’s Child) give us a piece of hazy, sun-dazed pop-reggae that absolutely shits on every American pop star’s clumsy attempts at reggae-interpolation. I’ve spent entire afternoons with this song on repeat. It destroys. The video can’t quite equal 2NE1’s unbeatable classic “I Am The Best,” but it’s still a total blast, and it actually conveys the idea that these girls enjoy each other’s company, which no other K-pop group has ever managed to pull off. And the pink wig? The all-gold fast-food cup? The better-than-it-has-any-right-to-be rapping? The all-gold Jeep? The guys playing basketball in tiger-striped designer sweatpants? The synchronized body-roll? The spirit-fingers dance? The all-gold Game Boy? CL’s face? Forget it. It’s over. Kill dem.