This week, the YouTube Music Awards rebranded from an actual award show, albeit a knowingly janky and slapdash one, to a weird “let’s dump a bunch of big videos online at once” stunt. I can’t pretend to understand what’s going on there, but it did result in a whole pile of great videos. This week, in fact, turned out to be a hell of a bounty, with most of the world waiting until SXSW was over to drop these opuses on the world. I was sorry I couldn’t find room for Shamir’s Muppet hallucination, Dan Deacon’s cult-animator Whitman’s sampler, Charli XCX’s social-media vision of hell, QT’s pop-gloss parody, Hallelujah The Hills’ low-tech skewing of the tech world, or Soko’s devastating Ariel Pink impression. But the stuff that did make the list was pure gold. This week’s picks are below.
5. MAX – “Gibberish” (Feat. Hoodie Allen) (Dir. Greg Jardin)
A transitional scene from a Step Up movie suddenly turns into one of those “Virtual Insanity”-esque single-location brain-busters. I have no idea how they did any of this, and I actually wish I knew. The song is trash, of course, but this is not the 5 Best Songs Of The Week.
4. Major Lazer – “Lean On” (Feat. MØ & DJ Snake) (Dir. Tim Erem)
Cultural-appropriation mode is, of course, Diplo’s default setting. But he doesn’t usually make it look as lavish and inviting and even downright beautiful as he does in this video. I wish I was on the roof of that bus.
3. Action Bronson – “Baby Blue” (Feat. Chance The Rapper) (Dir. Lil Chris)
It took me forever to figure this out, but Action Bronson is from Queens. He’s probably been waiting to remake Coming To America for his entire life. If someone handed me a pile of money and told me to make a music video, I would be sliding into Johnny Depp’s Cry Baby jacket before you could blink, because Baltimore.
2. Run The Jewels – “Close Your Eyes (And Count To Fuck)” (Feat. Zack De La Rocha) (Dir. AG Rojas)
An intense, primal vision that pulls off the difficult trick of turning cultural archetypes into actual human beings. Shout out to Nucky’s brother from Boardwalk Empire.
1. FKA twigs – “Glass & Patron” (Dir. FKA twigs)
An intense, primal vision that pulls off the difficult trick of convincing you that FKA twigs can dance. Actually, that part isn’t difficult at all. But now that we know twigs can pull off the giving-birth-to-billowing-silk scene, we know she’s as good at directing videos as she is at seemingly everything else.