At Sunday night’s VMAs, MTV awarded its Video Of The Year trophy to Miley Cyrus’ butt-naked tearsploitation Terry Richardson vision “Wrecking Ball,” and Miley brought a homeless model (?) to the stage to accept the award. Immediately afterward, Beyoncé, whose “Drunk In Love” video was nominated and lost, came to the stage to give a brain-shattering 16-minute performance that seemed like a rebuke to anyone who would deign to take Miley Cyrus seriously. Here’s the thing, though: MTV made the right call. “Wrecking Ball” is, on some levels, a creepy mess. But it’s also vivid and original and weirdly sincere and an actual conversation-starter, a video that actually captured the public imagination and helped to define its song. “Drunk In Love” is an amazing song that became a cultural anthem, but the video mostly just gets by on Beyoncé’s sex-stare — a potent thing, but not exactly an idea. This was the rare year, actually, in which all the Video Of The Year nominees were, at the very least, watchable, and “Wrecking Ball” was the best of them. If I’d made this list a few days later, “Wrecking Ball” would’ve come in at a solid #11, below “Cryin’” but above “Lady Marmalade.” Anyway, here are this week’s best videos.
5. J Mascis – “Every Morning” (Dir. Danny Jelinek)
Imagine: If Fred Armisen had turned his energy toward cult deprogramming instead of weird comedy, we could’ve eliminated the whole issue within a few weeks.
4. Delta Spirit – “From Now On” (Dir. Andy Bruntel & Isaac Cole)
A fitting companion to Future Islands’ “Seasons (Waiting On You)” video and a warm, empathetic portrait of the sort of people who don’t see their lives dramatized in music videos very often. Also, images of dog-related sadness punch me right in the emotional kidney.
3. Deech – “Get Better Boss” (Dir. Henry Kaplan)
Anything I could say about this would give too much away. But let me just say that this triad gun opera is barely a music video and that it validates the entire idea of Deech, a trance DJ from Belarus whose music I’d never heard of before I watched this.
2. Shabazz Palaces – “#CAKE” (NSFW) (Dir. Hiro Murai)
Oh hey, look, another absorbing and surreal and dark vision for Hiro Murai, a director who seems incapable of making a bad video. I have no idea what was supposed to be going on in this one, and I was riveted anyway.
1. Grimes – “Go” (Dir. Roco-Prime)
I don’t really buy the Dante’s Inferno concept, where Grimes is Dante and Blood Diamonds is Virgil. But this video still has energy and vision and power. And Grimes with a sword will always, always top this list.