Some weeks, we get an absolute deluge of great videos, but I can’t remember any other weeks as rich as this one. I thought about blowing it out to a top-10 list this week, but that would take forever. So here are the runners-up, in descending order: Hot Sugar’s Lynchian dream “Your Nails Look So Pretty,” Wild Child’s psychedelic drone-camera adventure “Rillo Talk,” Jenny Lewis’s movie-star drag party “Just One Of The Guys,” Lykke Li’s apocalyptic dance recital “Gunshot,” and Sharon Van Etten’s “Our Love,” which is basically D’Angelo’s “Untitled (How Does It Feel?)” for indie dweebs. Also, I limited “Weird Al” Yankovic to one video on the list below, but everything he’s done this week has been good. This week’s picks are below.
5. The New Pornographers – “War In The East” (Dir. Thom Glunt)
“Mid-nineties second-tier Britpop attitude” is how A.C. Newman describes this video’s vibe, and while he might not have quite enough swagger to pull it off, Dan Bejar sure does. The escalating riot and the endless tracking shots are fun, but Bejar, lurking in the back like the coolest motherfucker on the corner, is what carries this one.
4. alt-J – “Hunger Of The Pine” (Dir. Nabil)
Few things in popular music make me feel the way I feel what that “directed by Nabil” credit comes up at the end of a video. This seems like his take on The Hunger Games, and I’m so glad he has a take on The Hunger Games.
3. The Afghan Whigs – “Matamoros” (Dir. Philip Harder)
A moving salute to the kids who dance on the subway for spare change that also works as a kinetic dance exhibition and a sharp way of pointing out just how funky this song always was.
2. Perfume Genius – “Queen” (Dir. Cody Critcheloe)
#1 almost any other week. A surreal and devastating piece of identity-politics aggression, and also a vividly weird vision of subconscious thoughts run wild. Those mirror scenes are deadly, and Mike Hadreas has levels of screen presence that should shame almost everyone else in indie rock.
1. “Weird Al” Yankovic – “Tacky” (Dir. “Weird Al” Yankovic)
I feel a bit bad giving the #1 spot to something so silly after all that powerful seriousness, but then, this is transcendent silliness. “Weird Al”’s crazy-eyes duck-face Carlton dance! Eric Stonestreet’s douchbag strut! Kristen Schaal, generally murdering her several seconds of screen time! Jack Black giving the sort of A-level performance he usually reserves for Richard Linklater movies! Just an amazing all-around piece of work.