For someone who consistently trumpets his own taste and ably namechecks filmmakers whenever possible, Kanye West sure has a dubious history with music videos. He got all pissy when an early version of his “Black Skinhead” video leaked because viewers weren’t getting the full experience, but then the full experience turned out to be some sub-Lawnmower Man CGI that you could slow into an unlistenable lurch. Kanye clearly thinks hard about music videos, or else he wouldn’t keep raiding the stage at music-video award shows, but it’s one area where his vision usually fails him. Fortunately, there were some non-failed visions this week, and we’ve got five of them below.
5. Washed Out – “Don’t Give Up” (Dir. Kate Moross)
If I still smoked weed on a regular basis, this video would be much higher on the list. Even sober, though, staring at animals all day is an entirely worthwhile activity. Look at those zebra muscles ripple! It’s amazing!
4. The Child Of Lov – “Fly” (NSFW-ish) (Dir. PENSACOLA)
Seedy Larry Clark-isms about kids, in dilapidated urban environments, making bad decisions, while a feeling of impending doom hangs over everything. It’s fun to watch these pretty young people, and at the same time you want to wrap them in blankets and send them home to eat chicken soup or whatever.
3. King Khan & The Shrines – “Darkness” (Dir. Hylas)
I’m an easy mark for sad claymation. Even if you’re not wrapped up in the dark plight of the human cannonball, you can admire the craftsmanship of the chest hair on the strongman, or marvel at the levels of patience and mania it must take to put something like this together.
2. FIDLAR – “Cocaine” (NSFW) (Dir. Ryan Baxley)
When someone makes a video in which drunken-hobo Ron Swanson pisses on every possible thing, including human beings, and that video is not the best video of the week, that’s how you know we’ve had a pretty good week.
1. Fiona Apple – “Hot Knife” (Dir. Paul Thomas Anderson)
This would be the week’s #1 pick even if I didn’t know who directed it, since it does amazing work at capturing Apple’s flitty, obsessive charisma, and since the song is still just an incredible piece of work. But I love it even more because I love the idea of this ex-couple, two geniuses who couldn’t keep it together for whatever reason, getting back together after 13 years, letting mutual respect rule the day and making something that’s absolutely worthy of their history together.