We actually got a ridiculous number of strong, visually striking music videos this week: everything on this week’s list is pretty much must-see. And it does my heart good to see that two of them come from my two favorite albums of 2011 thus far, Past Life Martyred Saints and Father, Son, Holy Ghost. (There’s probably a ton of bias in me listing videos for songs that I like, but whatever.) Also, four of the five are in black-and-white, and I have no idea what that means. This week’s picks are below.
1. Girls – “Honey Bunny” (Dir. J.R. White & Ivan Shumaker)
If wilting-wallflower swag is a thing that exists, then Girls frontman Christopher Owens has dangerous amounts of it. There aren’t too many men on the face of the planet, after all, who can pull off the belly-shirt sweater/John Lennon glasses combination. Of course, it helps if you’re pushing a spotless white Corvette and you’ve got Dominant Legs’ Hannah Hunt visibly liking your bony body and your dirty hair. This is one of those rare music videos that make its subjects look like people you’d want to hang out with. The video’s dizzy love-story narrative and its sun-dappled cinematography perfectly match the California-classic track, and Girls continue to dominate the game in the visual department.
2. Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire – “The Last Huzzah (Remix)” (Feat. Despot, Das Racist, Danny Brown & El-P) (Dir. TKTK Media)
El-P’s mustache. Dapwell’s rocking-chair dance. Despot’s terrible posture. Killer Mike looming in the background with an assault rifle. Lucky Charms thrown at the camera. The judicious use of slow-motion. The guy standing around with the “Blunt Master” championship belt. Most of all, Mr. Motherfuckin’ eXquire’s starmaking performance, staring holes in the camera and transmitting his hybrid horny couch-potato/black-pride warrior persona in one unforgettable image. The man has personality to burn, and almost any other week, this would be a lock for #1. One slight quibble: Why so many dudes sitting down? If you’re in a rap video and you are not perched on an elaborately ornate throne, you should probably be standing up.
3. EMA – “Marked” (Dir. Erika M. Anderson & Leif Shackelford)
Look, I hate to be that guy, but Erika M. Anderson is a seriously gorgeous woman. Now that somebody’s giving her a decent budget to shoot a video, she could look plenty glamorous in it. And actually, she sort of does that in the “Marked” video. But she also surrounds herself with repeated images of the same guy: A glowering, blank-faced cross-dresser who looks like he would stab you in the neck for a pair of Prada heels. (He also appears to know what he’s doing on all those instruments, so bonus points.) And so the video works as a fitting companion to Anderson’s Past Life Martyred Saints album, which makes you most uncomfortable in its most beautiful moments.
4. Wavves – “Bug” (Dir. Allen Tranner)
This video, with its escalating hilarity, its absurd cartoon logic, and its madcap violence, seems to be Nathan Williams’ attempt to become an indie rock Bugs Bunny. And you know what? We probably need one of those.
5. DopeHead – “Airbags” (Dir. Storymode)
Nothing flashy here, but this is just a classic-style local-pride rap video done with artful precision. If Rap City still existed, this would get played at least a couple of times a week. Instead, it lives on the internet.