This week’s central battle came down, as so many do, to the eternal conflict between well-intentioned grand-scale storytelling and gleefully trashy bloodletting. It’s the Forrest Gump vs. Pulp Fiction of the 5 Best Videos Of The Week column! And just like in 1994, the middle-of-the-road epic won. Life is like a box of chocolates, etc. This weeks picks are below.
5. M.I.A. – “Double Bubble Trouble” (Dir. M.I.A.)
A good friend, one who actually teaches a music-video class, just told me that this one is his favorite video of the year. His reasoning: Things keep happening; new elements are introduced haphazardly all the time. It doesn’t have that classic music-video thing where it gets boring after the first minute. And even though I thought this was more of a chopped-up mess than he did, he’s right; things do keep happening. Also, blowing smoke bubbles looks like fun.
4. Major Lazer – “Come On To Me” (Feat. Sean Paul) (Dir. Ruben Fleischer)
In the early ’00s, Sean Paul and the director Little X got together to make an epic trio of videos (“Gimme The Light,” “Get Busy,” “Like Glue“) that stands as one of my favorite-ever extended artist/director collaborations. With its negative space and its focus on body-movement, Major Lazer’s Sean Paul collab pays those videos a nice tribute, and Sean Paul himself remains an absolutely compelling on-camera figure, even with that goofy mohawk. I don’t know why all that Japanese appropriation is in there, what purpose all that serves, but it is visually striking.
3. 2NE1 – “Gotta Be You” (Dir. Han Samin)
Those colors! That gold! The suits that look like Madballs! I am helpless before certain things, and suits that look like Madballs are among those things.
2. Die Antwoord – “Pitbull Terrier” (Dir. Ninja)
I thought I would be tired of these freaks by now. I was wrong.
1. Arcade Fire – “We Exist” (Dir. David Wilson)
Laura Jane Grace’s objections make sense, and the conversation that she’s started is a vital one. Still: What a montherfucking performance. Actors almost never try this hard in music videos, and actual movie stars damn sure never try this hard. Maybe Andrew Garfield wasn’t the right person to play that role, but his work has real emotional impact, especially during that big triumphant ending.