Shit got ridiculous this week. Lana Del Rey blew up a helicopter. FKA twigs did the art-film equivalent of pulling a Beyoncé. Paul Thomas Anderson made a music video. What the fuck was I supposed to do with all this? There were too many great videos this week. Last week wasn’t a bad one, but none of the videos on last week’s list would’ve cracked the top four this week. I seriously considered breaking precedent and making this week’s three best videos a three-way tie for #1. But no, there has to be a winner. Check out this week’s picks below.
5. The World Is A Beautiful Place And I Am No Longer Afraid To Die – “January 10, 2014″ (Dir. Christopher Good)
A fairly rote story of a despicable predator suddenly turns disorienting and mystical, full of Wiccan sorceresses and death premonitions. Like the band that made it, this video gets away with its pretensions by offering something of real power alongside them.
4. HEALTH – “Stonefist” (Dir. Naked Faces)
When a video makes me want to barf, I usually consider that to be a major issue. This one somehow turns it into a virtue.
3. Lana Del Rey – “High By The Beach” (Dir. Naked Faces)
LDR has built her entire career on the idea of iconic images, and I can’t imagine she’ll ever come up with one as memorable as those final moments with the grenade launcher. Lana Del Rey turned into a sleepwalking El Mariachi, and the video isn’t #1. This week is too much.
2. Joanna Newsom – “Sapokanikan” (Dir. Paul Thomas Anderson)
Paul Thomas Anderson has seen enough movies, and worked with enough movie stars, to know when he should just step back and let someone’s charisma do all the work. And Joanna Newsom has that rare power to seem like a person out of time and space, able to walk down a busy New York street looking like a unicorn skipping through a meadow. The way the light works in the video is just spectacular; you could spend hours just marveling at what those fire-engine reds do to Newsom’s face. The fact that this video is not #1 is just absurd, and I apologize.
1. FKA twigs – M3LL155X (Dir. FKA twigs)
Look, maybe this isn’t fair. Maybe a 17-minute art film that includes five different music videos shouldn’t be judged on the same merits as a traditional music video, especially when that art film already includes one (two?) of the year’s best previously-existing videos within its whole. But this whole thing is just a staggering achievement. The angler-fish demon lady? The haunting final blow-up doll image? The uncanny transitions between very different visions? The pitch-perfect riff on that great late-’90s moment when every R&B video took place in a spaceship? The terrifying pregnancy imagery? The voguing? The way the whole video makes you want to have sex and also never have sex again? I can see why Robert Pattinson gets along with this lady so well. She’s the next David Cronenberg.