I still haven’t done the thing I talked about doing last week, opening this column up to late-night peformances or fan-taped camera-phone concert vids. I might still eventually do that, but this turned out to be a very good week for the traditional notions of music videos, and the best one in a while for big-budget major-label videos. As a fan of all the late-’90s/early-’00s videos where labels shipped rappers down to Caribbean nations and blew big money on their clips, I’m happy to include two such videos on the below list — and both of them are half-dubstep, which is weird. Anyway! Watch this week’s picks below.
5. Trinidad James – “Females Welcomed” (Dir. Jonathan Mannion)
In the first of our two rappers in the Caribbean videos, Trinidad James visits the actual Trinidad, does pull-ups on its street signs, enjoys its ladies in Carnival regalia, and hangs out with its firebreathers and demon-makeup guys, all of whom make this weirdo look somehow at home. The song is no “All Gold Everything,” but the second half of the video, where it turns into a dubstep hymn and the film reverses so the firebreathers’ fire goes back into their mouths, is some euphorically trippy shit.
4. Toro Y Moi – “Never Matter” (Dir. Steve Daniels)
I always liked Cake’s “Short Skirt/Long Jacket” video, and so, I imagine, did Steve Daniels. Whether he realizes it or not, Daniels pretty much remade that video. But he set it in a broken-down flea market, added an unbelievably adorable pitchwoman, and added an eerie plot twist at the end. So yeah, he made that video better.
3. inc. – “Black Wings” (Dir. Andrew/Daniel/Ryan Kuhlman)
It’s entirely possible that I’m only mentioning this because Spring Breakers has not yet let up its vice-grip on my brain, but this video reminds me of early Harmony Korine — of the very Harmony Korine idea, specifically, that the apocalypse is happening right now and that it looks like a high-fashion magazine advertisement. The makers of this video managed to make a farm, of all places, look like the coolest and saddest location on earth at the same time, and respect is due.
2. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Sacrilege” (Dir. Megaforce)
This video has a bleak narrative, a fuckton of characters, and a story told backwards for no conceivable reason, and it gets all of its ideas across in four minutes; on a technical storytelling level, that’s pretty staggering. I’ve got this mental term called “Verhoeven face,” one I assign to actors whose faces look so strange and distinctive that they could’ve landed a role in Robocop or Total Recall. This video has at least five different Verhoeven faces, and that’s pretty staggering, too.
1. A$AP Rocky – “Wild For The Night” (Feat. Skrillex) (Dir. Chris Robinson & A$AP Rocky)
Rocky speaking serviceable Spanish and pretending to be one of the neighborhood bosses from City Of God! Skrillex jumpkicking from a trashpile! The A$AP Mob’s motorcycle game! The torches in the temple! The helicopter tracking shots! The blurred-out guns! The entirely gratuitous bonus Skrillex bass-drop! I’m almost embarrassed at how much I love shit like this, but then again, I’m not embarrassed at all.