Every music video that came out during this apocalyptic, ridiculous week felt like a way to kill a few minutes before either flames consumed the entire planet or Daft Punk got around to dropping their “Get Lucky” video, so if we found ourselves a little less captivated than usual this week, it wasn’t necessarily the videos’ fault. And a quick word about the video that would’ve wound up at #6 on this list. With their last two videos, the team of Youth Lagoon and director Tyler T. Williams made clips that played with time and with end-of-the-world scenarios but still managed to convey gutpunch emotional pathos. As Youth Lagoon, on their second album, have moved from bedroom loner-rock to full-band dizzy psych, so the “Mute” video has turned toward stoner mindfuckery. It’s still a lot of fun, but I’m waiting for Williams to get back to the business of wrenching souls. The five videos that did make the list are below.
5. PSY – “Gentelman” (Dir. Jo Soo-hyun)
It’s not “Gangnam Style.” This time around, it’s pretty obvious that PSY is just acting the cartoonish buffoon, and that wait-what-is-happening-here appeal is gone. But I probably guffawed out loud three or four times watching this one. Pop music could use more physical comedians as gifted as this guy, and music videos could use more Jackie Chan movie gag reels. Also, the callback to Brown Eyed Girls’ “Abracadabra” video is appreciated because that thing is amazing.
4. Basement Jaxx – “Back 2 The Wild” (Dir. Mat Maitland & Natalia Stuyk)
The cartoonish signifiers of African life are almost enough to be offensive, especially since Basement Jazz don’t have the Die Antwoord out of actually living in Africa. But it’s all so over-the-top and buoyant, its colors so saturated and its editing so garish and its combinations so nonsensical, that the video, like the song, bludgeons you into a state of uncomplicated delight.
3. A-Trak & Tommy Trash – “Tuna Melt” (Dir. Ryan Staake)
Someone, namely the kinetic artist Kinetic King, had to spend god knows how many hours and devote god knows how much ingenuity to this absurd, pointless exercise, one that presumably would’ve been irreperably fucked if one domino had been one millimeter out of place. And the end result is such a giddy blast that the effort seems somehow worthwhile.
2. Azealia Banks – “Yung Rapunxel” (Dir. Jam Sutton)
Azealia Banks has spent the past year popping shit off in increasingly unbearable ways and daring the world to stop paying her any attention whatsoever, but then every once in a while she comes through with a new piece of brash iconography powerful enough to remind us why we cared in the first place. Here, she becomes the first three-mouthed Lovecraftian hellbeast ever to demand that A$AP Rocky come out of the closet. That’s worth something.
1. Savages – “Shut Up” (Dir. Giorgio Testi)
Perhaps, having deconstructed everything, we should be thinking about putting everything back together.