This was generally a busy week, music-video-wise, but the biggest stories were two flashy, conversation-starting pop videos that seemed to represent two different sides of an ideological divide, even though the women who made the two videos are friends and everything. On the one side, there was Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off,” which I didn’t find to be racially offensive, the way some did, but which I did find to be a celebration of stiff, priggish, bad-dancing nerdery. On the other side, there was Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda,” a lush and ribald love letter to all things ass. I suppose it’s possible to like both of these videos, and god knows it’s easy to like neither. But I had fun picking sides on this one; only one of those videos made the list. (You have almost definitely already guessed which one.) Check out this week’s picks below.
5. Alex Metric – “Heart Weights A Ton” (Dir. Jack Wagner & Zach Shields)
A heartrending portrait of a real guy, one that somehow punches harder because he’s not really that great of a dancer. If he was Moose from Step Up 3 out there, the whole thing would feel less real.
4. HAIM – “My Song 5 (Remix)” (Feat. A$AP Ferg) (Dir. Dugan O’Neal)
Random-cameo parades can get a bit old, and so can pastiches of fringey ’90s pop culture. And this one is, from time to time, a bit of a mess; the faces-switching-up thing is cool, but what does it have to do with the talk show? Those are all reasons why this one isn’t higher on the list. But thanks to its daffy energy and its absolutely committed Vanessa Bayer performance, it absolutely deserves to be here.
3. Trash Talk – “The Great Escape” (Dir. Jim Dirschberger)
I don’t know why, but these colorful, bloody animated drug-freakout videos just refuse to get played out, especially when the characters look straight-up Bob’s Burgers, thanks to the efforts of Bob’s Burgers co-creator Dirschberger.
2. Nicki Minaj – “Anaconda” (Dir. Colin Tilley)
There are two very good reasons to like this video, and they’ve both already been well-expressed elsewhere. First, I give you newly-minted New York Magazine critic Lindsay Zoladz. Next: Soulja Boy. Discussion question: Would this be a better video if Sir Mix-A-Lot was in that chair instead of Drake?
1. Action Bronson – “Easy Rider” (Dir. Tom Gould)
I realize this one exists outside of the week’s dominant clashing-pop-stars narrative, but, I mean, the gratuitous bar-fight? The hospital gown flapping in the breeze? The glowing guitar? How could this video not be #1? This video is perfect.