This is the time of year when everyone gets very confused and worried about who’s going to win big at the Grammys, and we are not facing down the sad likelihood that the music industry is about to anoint Macklemore as a 12 Years A Slave-esque juggernaut. So I’m sure you won’t be shocked to learn that Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s “Can’t Hold Us” is up for that Best Music Video Grammy. Its mind-boggling competition: Jack White’s “I’m Shakin’,” Justin Timberlake’s “Suit & Tie,” Jay Z’s interminable art-gallery self-flattery monument “Picasso Baby,” and Capital Cities’ “Safe And Sound” (which has swing dancing in it). Yee. Someone, I suppose, had to make the VMA nominating committee look like it has its finger on the pulse. I’ll be pulling for Timberlake, mostly because I can at least figure out the logic behind his nomination. Anyway, a lot of people made good music videos this week, and none of them will ever be nominated for a Grammy. We’ve got five of them below.
5. Kwes. – “Rollerblades” (Dir. Ian Pons Jewell)
Just going to put this out there: If you’re going to be in a room with an overly demonstrative rollerskating modern-dance type, maybe you want to rethink your jewelry choices.
4. Cass McCombs – “Unearthed” (Dir. Eric Fensler)
For the first minute-plus, you’ll be bored. Then you’ll be confused. Then you’ll spend a few minutes trying to mentally sort out what you’ve just seen. Best visual poem about the awe-inspiring indifference of nature since Gravity.
3. Black Lips – “Boys In The Wood” (NSFW) (Dir. Matt Swinsky & the ATL Twins)
The Black Lips’ whole troublemaker schtick has threatened staleness for a very long time, so they deserve credit for recruiting the right collaborators. The ATL Twins are Harmony Korine’s go-to goons, a sort of non-rapping Southern American Die Antwoord, and their presence here lends the Lips a sort of hallucinatory nastiness that goes with their gutter garage rock like champagne with strawberries.
2. Savages – “Strife” (Dir. Antoine Carlier)
My dad, in an effort to force me to think, made me read The Stranger when I was in seventh grade. I got bored and stopped reading even before the beach murder. If this video had existed back then, my dad could’ve just showed it to me and gotten the same intended effect, and I would’ve actually made it to the end.
1. Future Islands – “Seasons (Waiting On You)” (Dir. Jay Buim)
A loving, empathetic, beautifully photographed look at an entire way of life, one that goes surprisingly well with the band’s slow-rolling triumph. When’s the last time you saw someone sincerely praying in an indie rock video?