The most gripping musical video spectacle of the week did not actually feature any music at all. It was Kanye West, thoughts clearly spinning out faster than his mouth could relay them, using the platform of Jimmy Kimmel Live to get some things off his chest: The closed ranks of the fashion world, the scourge of paparazzi disrespect, the fallacy of false humility, his endless need to share his ideas about awesome things, all while Kimmel constantly scanned for punchline opportunities. It’s never comfortable to watch Kanye when he’s talking, but there’s nobody, in or out of music, who commands quite that level of attention in what could be a routine talk-show appearance. But there were some actual music videos this week, too, and here are five of them.
5. Janelle Monáe – “PrimeTime” (Feat. Miguel) (Dir. Alan Ferguson)
Monáe deserves credit for being able to make a charming R&B music video, the sort of thing that could fit nicely onto VH1 Soul, and still have it fit into her whole goofy android cosmology, flirting with Miguel in a nightclub named after a Philip K. Dick novel. I’d also, if I may, like to point out that Miguel is wearing a Discharge buttflap and a leather jacket with the Crass and Fat Wreck Chords logos painted on it. As someone who spent the entire mid-’90s going to punk shows, including shows that featured much of the Fat roster, I have never seen anyone rock a handpainted Fat Wreck Chords-logo anything before.
4. Le1f – “Hush BB” (Dir. Alex da Corte)
Hazy manicured creepiness like what you’d see in a Oneohtrix Point Never video, except done with a silky sensuality and a considerable level of actual human charisma. Le1f is a great rapper and an even better person to have around.
3. Bruce Springsteen – “Dream Baby Dream” (Dir. Thom Zimny)
Springsteen tickets tend to cost a small fortune, so it’s easy to imagine that the entire crowd at his show will be made up of stockbrokers and lawyers and trophy wives. Not the case. People save up for Springsteen shows, because Springsteen shows are worth saving up for. And the rapturous giddiness that you see on the faces of these people are very real feelings. Also: How badass is it that a transcendent, world-famous rock star devotes an entire music video to the people in the audience rather than the ones onstage? That he actually sees them? And then how badass is it that he sets all this to a lovely cover of a Suicide song?
2. Albert Hammond, Jr. – “St. Justice” (NSFW) (Dir. Laurent Briet)
A strong mumblecore movie, except that it plays out in three minutes, and without dialogue. The moments of domestic bliss, of out-of-control horniness, and of total inability to fix your relationship problems: All entirely convincing! That boy Albert can act!
1. Young Thug & PeeWee Longway – “Loaded” (Dir. Goodwin)
What a strange, telegenic group of people.