It’s pretty hard to carry on Stereogum business as usual on the day that Amrit Singh, the guy who brought me to the site and one of my favorite people, announces his departure. Like, I’m sure, a lot of readers, I’ve got complicated feelings here: Happy for Amrit, sorry to see him go, looking forward to seeing his mug on my TV, hopeful that he’ll tell Diddy how much I like his verse on the “O Let’s Do It” remix. The site won’t be a different place after Amrit leaves, but it won’t be the same, either. And yet the world keeps turning, bands keep making music videos, and it remains deeply important to make lists of them ever week. This was a week with two Nabil videos, which means it was a good list for music videos. Those two videos, and three more, are below.
5. Anika – “In The City” (Dir. Kyle Whittington & Joe Broady)
Last year, the bad-guy pro wrestler Bully Ray was doing this thing where, on his way to the ring, he’d point to his calves and shout about how they were the best calves in the world. I thoroughly enjoyed the deep absurdity of all this. But maybe Bully was onto something: Some people really, really care about men’s calves, and Bully would’ve done pretty well for himself in the funhouse-universe Eastern Europe that we see in the video for Anika’s Chromatics cover.
4. Camera Obscura – “Break It To You Gently” (Dir. Joseph Mann)
If you have kids, you probably already know the one big side effect of showing your kids the Toy Story movies: They suddenly become really invested in the emotional well-being of their own toys. Here, we have a music video for grown-ups, one that induces some of the same feelings. Like: How’s my old alarm clock doing? Does it feel shitty that I just use my phone now? Should I pull it out of the attic and give it some love?
3. Chief Keef – “Citgo” (Dir. Will Hoopes)
Once upon a time, you’d see a million dirt bikes and four-wheelers in every rap video, and I’ve long pined for a return of the aesthetics of the Ruff Ryders era. Here’s what I didn’t know to expect: A video that makes those dirtbikes look lyrical, somehow beautiful, like a Terrence Mallick mirage. (Fun fact: The underwater headfuck of a “Citgo” beat comes from Young Ravisu, a teenager from Poland, and Keef found the track by searcing for Keef-style beats on YouTube one night.)
2. Arctic Monkeys – “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?” (Dir. Nabil)
Nabil might be our finest currently-working music-video director, and his sense for atmosphere is the main reason: The way he creates a nonsensical Lost Highway dreamworld for a drunk-texting Alex Turner. Turner, for his part, does a better job playing very, very drunk than most actual professional actors, which makes me think there’s a decent chance he was very, very drunk when he made this video.
1. Just Blaze & Baauer – “Higher” (Dir. Nabil)
There are many, many reasons why it’s not a good idea to get drunk and smack little kids around. Here’s one of them.