I wish I could name the trailer for Ridley Scott’s Prometheus as the Video Of The Week, because holy shit that movie looks amazing. I just wish somebody could beam it directly into my brain this second; I’m not emotionally equipped to wait until June to see it. But there’s pretty much no way I can call that thing a music video, as much as I might like to. And as it turns out, we got some pretty great music videos this week, five of which are below. Oh, and we’re counting down to the best one from here on out, because that’s how countdowns work.
5. James Blake – “A Case Of You” (Dir. Seb Edwards)
In The Town (spoiler alert), Rebecca Hall made it seem vaguely plausible that a very pretty young woman could fall in love with a monosyllabic grunting tough guy who looks like Ben Affleck, and that she’d remain in love with him even after learning that he’d held her hostage in a bank heist. She’s a good actress! Here, she gets a chance to emote wonderfully, and we don’t get the privilege of learning what she’s emoting about. But it still works, simply because she’s so good at it.
4. Arcade Fire – “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)” (Dir. Vincent Morisset)
It doesn’t have the emotional punch of the other videos from The Suburbs, and I couldn’t get the interactive hand-waving video thing to work, but it’s still fun to watch Regine Chassagne flit about adorably while various bemasked suburban-archetype types wander through their modern-dance choreography. That scene in the abandoned mall where the camera earthquakes around Chassagne will not leave my head anytime soon.
3. LCD Soundsystem – “Live Alone” (Dir. Lustix)
Hey, remember when LCD Soundsystem was a thing that still existed? That was cool. I enjoyed that. One of the last things the band gave us before blinking out of existence was its ripplestomp cover of Franz Ferdinand’s “Live Alone,” and that track makes a gorgeous accompaniment to this evocative footage of New York, the sort of thing that reminds you what an amazing place that city can be. When you mostly think of it as a place of apartment mouse infestations and skeezy landlords and transportation-system snafus and close-up views of people way, way richer than you, that can be the sort of reminder you need. Also, those images of the installation-art robot (or whatever that is) are pretty cool.
2. Javelin – Canyon Candy Short Film (Dir. Mike Anderson)
This is admittedly stretching the definition of “music video” a bit, since Javelin’s music is there to complement the visuals, rather than the usual vice-versa. Still, this is an achievement with an extremely high degree of difficulty. What Anderson attempted here was what might’ve happened if Alejandro Jodorowsky had cast Roy Rogers in a silent film, and this is not the sort of thing I would ordinarily spend 17 minutes sitting through. But the acting here is great, the visuals are utterly striking, and Javelin’s score stretches their sound in some interesting directions. A bizarrely absorbing thing.
1. Drake – “The Motto” (Feat. Lil Wayne & Tyga) (Dir. Lamar Taylor & Hyghly Alleyne)
I probably should’ve given Javelin the #1 spot, since it’s so unlike anything I’ve seen before. But I didn’t feel the need to immediately rewatch that one, and I clicked on this thing like three times in 15 minutes. I loved Take Care, but the one thing missing from the album was the sort of snarly badass hauteur I’ve come to expect from the rap records I love. “The Motto” fixes all that, and now it has a ridiculously stylish and well-executed video behind it. Drake wears ridiculous clothes and makes it look cool, Tyga continues his progression toward being a pretty good rapper, and Lil Wayne gives a performance that absolutely drips with bonkers goofy-ass charisma. One of the most ridiculously fun rap videos of the year. My one tiny quibble: If you’re going to overhaul your song for the video, and you’re going to give E-40 an extended cameo in said video, why not give E-40 a verse? He would’ve torn this thing apart.