Straight To Video

The 5 Best Videos Of The Week

The video I keep thinking about this week isn’t one of the ones on this list; it’s “Ill Manors,” from the British rapper Plan B, and it’s almost a month old at this point. The clip includes images from last year’s London riots, as well as a whole lot more footage that’s explicitly meant to recall those riots, and it’s some possibly-irresponsible pent-up downtrodden rage-out stuff: Kids from London’s council estates getting sick of their surroundings and spazzing out in all directions. A lot of the focus-free rage in England in recent years has to do with “hoodies,” as the mostly black and poor kids in London have come to be known, and the larger society that doesn’t appear to know what to do with them. That word, “hoodies,” has gained special significance in America in recent weeks, for obvious reasons. And if we’re demonizing our own kids the way the British often do — and it sure seems to me that we are — then that video has special resonance over here, as well. But that video’s too old to make sense on a list like this one, so here are five that I liked this week.

5. Tenacious D – “To Be The Best” (Dir. Jeremy Konner)

More of an anticipation-building album trailer or an extended comedy skit than any sort of music video, at least as the term is commonly understood, “To Be The Best” is still a goofy-entertaining six minutes. Let’s all welcome Val Kilmer to the David Hasselhoff/William Shatner ranks of celebrities who mostly exist just to make fun of themselves these days.

4. Simian Mobile Disco – “Cerulean” (Dir. Jack Featherstone & Will Samuel)

I shouldn’t be able to watch seven minutes of abstract geometric shapes bouncing off each other. But then, Atari once built an empire on the idea that kids would spend hours doing exactly that, and I get the same feeling watching the internal physics here as I once got from spending hours on end playing Asteroids on my parents’ Apple IIe.

3. Regina Spektor – “All The Rowboats” (Dir. Adria Petty)

Michel Gondry would never make a video this simple or concept-free, but something about the stop-motion animation and the low-budget light-bending effects here reminds me of the dreamy wonder of something like The Science Of Sleep. Also, I like the song a lot, and that makes a difference.

2. Caveman – “Thankful” (Dir. Austin Peters)

This is essentially the same video as Lambchop’s “Gone Tomorrow,” but I loved that one, and I love this one too. One thing both videos get right: Independent professional wrestling is, in some ways, more punk rock than punk rock. People put in ridiculous amounts of work, altering their bodies and risking their physical well-being, for the love of an art-form that will probably never earn them much more than gas money. They’re doing it to become a part of myth. I love that.

1. Dum Dum Girls – “Coming Down” (Dir. Malia James)

Turns out that that this is an homage to “Cut Piece,” a 1965 Yoko Ono performance piece in which Ono sat blank and expressionless while people cut her clothes away with scissors. That’s cool. But it’s also a pretty unforgettable image of its own, one that gits the gorgeous tragic-romantic ballad better than anyone (other than, I guess, the Dum Dum Girls and Malia James) could’ve possibly expected.