straight2video

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.

Comments (19)
  1. Weird Al! High five! OWWWOOOOOOOOOO!

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    • Cool story, bro.

    • But at least two generations of people who use the internet grew up with an awareness and/or appreciation for Weird Al, so it kind of makes sense.

    • Yeah, maybe I just spend too much time on the internet trying to avoid shitty memes and regurgitated in-jokes, but I’m not sure I did anything other than crack a smile a few times during any of those videos. At the risk of sounding like a too-hip dickhead, it’s nice, but I don’t think it’s really funny/new/exciting/necessary.

      but for real, asking for down votes is just asking for down votes

      • > but for real, asking for down votes is just asking for down votes

        You’re right. I won’t do that again.

    • Well you said it, that Word Crimes song is fantastic. Plus, for people that grew up on Weird Al (I’m in that group of people), it’s fun to see him back. Plus, he honestly does the parodying a whole lot better than a lot of those YouTube. Plus, Funny’s funny. And Al still sounds great for a comedic musician (Which, if you’ve heard others, you’ll quickly understand just how talented Al is).

      Also, the Illuminati twist and full circle in “Foil” was one of the most brilliant pieces of comedy I’ve seen all year.

    • “Fans of indie rock demand advancement in art. I don’t see how these new Weird Al songs/videos are anything but the same exact thing with newer pop tunes.”

      THE MOST EMBARRASSING SENTENCE I’VE EVER READ.

  3. Oh boy. It’s exactly because Al was the true creator of the music video parody that he deserves the overwhelmingly positive comments: he was ahead of his time and now it’s more than natural for a lot of fans to celebrate his vision. Plus his new videos are great and up to date: both musically and visualy (his lyric music video is top notch).

  4. On a more enthusiastic note, that Perfume Genius video is fucking intense. I really love it.

    • Absolutely. I’d call it my first real “Oh shit, Perfume Genius is really fucking good” moment.

      I’ve loved Weird Al for 2 decades, but the “Queen” video is masterful. We’ll be talking about it at the end of the year.

    • Can someone explain the video to me? I don’t hate it (and I love the song that it’s promoting), but I really just don’t understand too much of the imagery. I guess the mirror might have something to do with how he truly sees himself, but what’s the dumpster diving part for? And the executives eating lobster? Is it all a comment on one thing or just a bunch of things?

      I hate to make this a game of 21 Questions, but I’m just baffled by the video. The song itself is stellar, though.

      • Stereogum quoted him as saying:
        “I’ve seen faces of blank terror when I walk by. Sometimes from seemingly strong, macho dudes — somehow my presence confuses and ultimately scares them. There is a strange power to it that I’ve only recently begun to understand and embrace. After many years trying to sort out exactly what they are scared of, most of the time converting the result into personal shame, there are now moments of monstrous pride.”

        I take the video as showing the process of hate: receiving, internalizing, understanding, maybe even overcoming. He’s getting all this shit, and lashing out, and in turn getting more shit, until the end when he jumps off the building and is free from it all. The scary part is that this isn’t a Romeo & Juliet melodrama, this shit happens in real life too.

  5. WHERE’S GUNSHOT?

  6. Weird Al is great but I would have been totally ok with Queen being the #1 video. One of the best of the year.

  7. Am I wrong or is Tacky the worst of the new Weird Al videos/songs. Foil and Word Crimes are so much more enjoyable than this.

    • You are correct in your assessment. The beginning of “Foil” didn’t seem all that clever but once the second verse hit I was laughing my ass off. “Tacky” didn’t really do anything for me at all. No surprises, just different celebrities from the original wearing tacky clothing, singing about tacky things. Yawn.

  8. Eric Stonestreet just likes he’s too tired to walk in that video.

    Queen all the way. Brilliant video.

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