I watched Frank Ocean’s “Nikes” video for the first time on a borrowed phone, on a playground, on Saturday morning, keeping half an eye on my kids and waiting to be bowled over. It didn’t happen. That can be the danger with a long-awaited new masterwork suddenly emerging: You expect it to move the earth, and nothing can live up to what you’ve been hoping to see. At first, I had the “Nikes” video left off of this list. Then I changed my mind. I struggled with where to put it. It’s definitely the most significant video to come out in the past seven days, but I don’t think it’s the best. I think I put it in the right place. I hope I put it in the right place. This week’s picks are below.
5. clipping. – “Air ‘Em Out” (Dir. Carlos Lopez Estrada)
I’m guessing this whole concept plays into the idea behind the new clipping. rap opera, which I’m still unraveling. But I’d love to know how they did this — if it’s CGI or if they put Daveed Diggs in a plummeting elevator or what. Diggs plays the whole thing perfectly, too. He won that Tony for a reason.
4. Tove Lo – “Cool Girl” (Dir. Tim Erem)
It turns out that “ Mulholland Drive-era David Lynch directs a Britney Spears video” is an aesthetic that I needed in my life. I wouldn’t have guessed.
3. Frank Ocean – “Nikes” (Dir. Tyrone Lebon)
I feel the same things about this movie that I feel about the movie Holy Motors. There are all these beautiful things in there, images that will stick with me for a long time. But does it all add up to anything? Is anything connecting all this? Is it conveying meaning, or just signifying it? I don’t know. I didn’t like Holy Motors all that much, and I’m still working out whether I like this. But I understand why so many people watched it and immediately fell in love, too. Also: Shout out to the girl in the Kix shirt. At last, vindication.
2. Touché Amoré – “Skyscraper” (Dir. ?)
A few months before she died of cancer, Touché Amoré frontman Jeremy Bolm took his mother to New York, a city she’d always wanted to see, and pushed her through the streets in a wheelchair. It’s what the song “Skyscraper” is about. In the video, Bolm returns to New York, except this time he’s pushing around an empty wheelchair. It’s such a simple, effective, devastating piece of visual symbolism that I almost can’t handle it. If your eyes are still dry at the end of this one, then I don’t know about you.
1. DJ Shadow – “Nobody Speak” (Feat. Run The Jewels) (Dir. Sam Pilling)
The Touché Amoré video legitimately made my cry, so I feel bad for not putting it at the top of this list. But greatness must be recognized.