This week’s big videos were Iggy Azalea’s take on Kill Bill and Ariana Grande’s take on (I guess) Barbarella, and they were both straight trash. You can make a good pop video by making a pastiche of a particular movie; 2Pac doing Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome springs immediately to mind. But that’s not enough. The video still needs energy and ideas and a sense of identity, and those Iggy and Ariana videos just don’t have it. Instead, we’ve got five videos below that have way lower budgets than any of those. And the top three all works as variants on the time-honored “young people hanging out” theme, which never gets old as long as it’s presented with some style and some energy. This week’s picks are below.
5. Ryan Adams – “Gimme Something Good” (Dir. Michael Reich)
The actress Cassandra Peterson has inhabited the Elvira, Mistress Of The Dark role for the past 33 years. She is 62 years old. The fact that she can still pull this thing off with authority demands massive applause.
4. Ibeyi – “River” (Dir. Ed Morris)
A stark, memorable video that leaves questions open. Like: Baptism or waterboarding? And: Is there that big of a difference between baptism and waterboarding, anyway?
3. Joey Bada$$ – “Big Dusty” (Dir. Dee Frosted)
If this sends you down a YouTube hole and you spend the rest of the afternoon watching old Smif-N-Wessun and Heltah Skeltah videos, that’s sort of the point. That wobbly bending-lens thing was such an underrated trick in those mid-’90s rap videos.
2. Twin Peaks – “I Found A New Way” (Dir. Ryan Ohm)
Apparently, this is another one of those movie-pastiche videos, but I haven’t seen The Sandlot since it was in the theater, and I don’t remember anything about it beyond Denis Leary and a ferocious dog. This video has neither of those things. It does have kids hanging out and being rapscallions, and that’s plenty enough to stand on its own.
1. Raury – “Cigarette Song” (Dir. Andrew Donoho & Carlon Ramong)
These kids today, with their tie-dye and their deep-woods hookups and their burning buildings down indiscriminately.