I have very little doubt that, if I had actually seen it, Grimes’ video for her Janelle Monáe collab “Venus Fly” would be on this list, probably at the top. Grimes might be the single best music-video artist working today, and the minute I’ve seen of the video is cool. But the video is a Tidal exclusive, and I don’t have Tidal. Grimes has explained that Tidal paid for the video, that they’re the only reason that the video exists at all. But I’m not going to drop $10 on a streaming service to see it, and I’m guessing you’re not either. So this week’s five non-Grimes picks are below.
5. Sampha – “No One Knows Me (Like The Piano)” (Dir. Jamie-James Medina)
A simple vision, executed with a sense of composition and of beauty. If I ever dissolve into dust, I hope I do it as prettily as that.
4. Maggie Rogers – “On + Off” (Dir. Zia Anger)
This one’s a little subtler than Rogers’ other Anger-directed videos, but I like the quiet way it breaks into the fourth wall and then keeps pulling bits and pieces from the soundstage into its dance.
3. Elbow – “Gentle Storm” (Dir. Kevin Godley)
Music-video history is fun, and Godley And Creme’s “Cry” is one of the great iconic videos of the early MTV era. And while it’s not exactly groundbreaking to just straight-up remake that video, with the original co-director Godley even returning to direct, it’s still a nice bit of homage. Also, shout out to Doctor Strange for showing up for his brief split-second cameo.
2. Delicate Steve – “Tomorrow” (Dir. Brendan McHugh)
A lovely little silent road-movie that ends in a great twist. This is one of those rare moments that I hope a music video makes good on its “to be continued…” end chyron.
1. Moon Duo – “Cold Fear” (Dir. Micah Buzan)
A lot of animated music videos are straight-up conceptually lazy. This one starts from a far-out fucked-up perspective and then keeps finding new ways to become more fucked-up. Respect is due.