You know how I’ve been threatening to get weird with this column, to start including late-night performances and whatever other random bits of music-related video that might find their way on this site? This is the week the universe decided to call my bluff, since the one of the best pieces of music-related video, if not the best, was Deerhunter’s broken-down and instantly iconic performance of “Monomania” on Fallon, a performance piece done with more flair and attention to detail than most music videos. But I still made a list of five music videos. Inertia is a powerful force. Check out the music videos below.
5. KEN mode – “Counter Culture Complex” (Dir. Gwen Trutnau & Ryan Simmons)
In the surprisingly rich field of “moody cold outdoor music videos from Canadian artists,” this one narrowly beats out Drake’s “5AM In Toronto” and Colin Stetson’s “In Mirrors/And In Truth,” largely because I will always prefer cheap monster-attack special effects to strip-club introspection and abstract landscape-art.
4. Mudhoney – “I Like It Small” (Dir. Carlos Lopez)
I was on the set of a single-tracking-shot music video before, and I can say with great certainty that this stuff takes so much work, so much pinpoint coordination and perfect timing, that it’s a wonder anyone ever does it. (As Tall Conan, I personally fucked up several takes because of my inability to walk around with giant clomping shoe-lifts and keep my eyehole-free mask pointed at the camera, mostly because I kept almost breaking my ankle during that step off the stage at 0:50.) Here we have a single-take video with a much bigger cast and what must’ve been a much smaller budget, and they pulled it off with a sense of serious fun and vigor. My sympathies to whoever had to coordinate all the drunk people at the end there.
3. Still Corners – “Berlin Lovers” (Dir. Christian Sorensen Hansen)
Plenty of music videos shoot for sweetness; very few actually achieve it. But in this one, the teenage girl looks like a badass until the precise moment where she looks like a little lost kid. The teenage boy looks like a gawky awkward fuck until the precise moment where he looks like a viable love interest. The two grown-ups in Still Corners look like kind, approving elders both before and after their transformation into glamorous pop stars. The fog comes in at the exact right moment. It’s lovely, all of it.
2. Robin Thicke – “Blurred Lines” (Feat. T.I. & Pharrell) (NSFW) (Dir. Diane Martel)
Late pass on this one, but T.I.’s old-man dancing is probably the greatest thing that has ever happened. The secret to getting famous rappers to loosen up on camera, it turns out, is to cast them in Benny Hill soft porn with naked models. Good to know!
1. Cat Power – “Manhattan” (Dir. Chan Marshall & Greg Hunt)
Can you imagine if the “Empire State Of Mind” video had been just this? Quite possibly the loveliest, most pleasant three minutes of film I’ve seen all year. Every city deserves its own video just like this one.