There was a lot of nudity and violence and crisp, vivid black-and-white in this week’s music videos, but most of the videos that leaned heavily on those tropes didn’t make it onto this week’s countdown. The videos that did the best this week relied on their performers’ charisma, and they burst with joy and movement and immediacy. That’s still probably the thing that music videos do best, and with the freedom that not being on TV brings, I feel like a lot of bands and video directors forget that they don’t have to go all gutbucket disgusting these days. It’s definitely possible to make a great dark, violent video, but violent darkness is never enough to make a video great. Check out this week’s picks below.
5. Son Lux – “Lanterns Lit” (Dir. SJ Finlay)
Little kids watching rocketships ascend to space: Still one of the easiest, most effective ways of conveying a sense of awe and majesty. There’s some absolutely beautiful cinematography in this one.
4. Beck – “Heart Is A Drum” (Dir. Sophie Muller)
Beck still looks younger than a motherfuck, so it’s pretty interesting to see that the only ways he can convey the passage of time, from his Mellow Gold self until now, are changes in wardrobe and the fact that this video’s Beck impersonator is a few inches taller than the real guy.
3. Movement – “Ivory” (NSFW) (Dir. Fleur & Manu)
If you’re going to make a whole music video out of people fucking, you might as well turn all that sex into a spaced-out astral out-of-body experience.
2. Janelle Monáe – “Electric Lady” (Dir. Alan Ferguson)
If Greek parties were actually anything like this, with ebullient choreographed dance routines and T.I. cameos, I maybe wouldn’t have spent so much time snobbily avoiding them in college. Two things I love about this video: (1) The idea that a sorority can have a lightning bolt in with its Greek letters, and (2) the idea that every young freaky soul-funk singer went to the same sorority, like it’s R&B Hogwarts or something.
1. Foxygen – “How Can You Really” (Dir. Grant Singer)
I spent enough time working in boring, drab offices to say, with great certainty, that things would’ve been way more fun if these goofballs had been around. Everyone in this video deserves massive credit for figuring out ways to dance to a song that does not exactly scream “dance to me.”