01.20.15: The Last VJ’s Top 5 Music Videos of the Week
Welcome to The Last VJ, music fans! This may be the most eclectic mix of videos I have ever presented in this column. It’s a nice break considering the last couple of weeks were mostly about how badly they could disturb you. Nope, this time we’re getting both artsy and fartsy, with epic space tales, interpretive dance, and a tiny bit of drive-in movie at the end. Get ready to see what music videos did this week to entertain you!
Kina Grannis, “Oh Father”
I have a love/hate relationship with Kina Grannis because I love her music but it rarely translates into good music videos. It’s not that they’re bad, mind you; just that they’re very small in scope compared to the vast emotional landscape that is her songs on the audio level.
“Oh Father” is probably the best video she’s done since she exploded onto the internet music scene with a stop-motion jelly bean creation. Teamed with director Erica Dasher we get a really touching interpretative dance piece that is beautifully shot. It’s like if Freneticore tackled the surreal art of René Magritte right down to the bowler hats and umbrellas. Grannis is a marvel in the vid, displaying a sweetness and a vulnerability amidst the oddly cold environment around her. You just want to buy her an oversized stuffed bear, which I’m sure was the point. It’s a little repetitive and long, but still harkens back to the glory days of killer Mark Romanek vids.
Oh, and musicians? Keep up the new wave of interpretative dance stuff. That Sia performance on Saturday Night Live kicked all the ass.
You know what I love? People who think big. Even if they don’t really pull it off I would rather watch someone aim for the stars and hit the moon than just stay on the planet and call space travel “gey” or something.
Witness exhibit “XXX”, a video epic in length and scope directed by Dan Bowhers. It follows two humans played by Josh Olkowski and Lizzy Mulkey living in a robot dystopia. They are captured, tortured, and attemped Cybermanned only to escape and make love on the roof under the swirling night sky.
Now, it’s cheesy as hell. I mean that. It’s Syfy cheesy, but it’s also beautiful. There is such joy and energy and attention to meticulous detail that you can’t help but love it. Music videos are supposed to be a song come to cinematic life and by God “XXX” did not screw around with that. It wouldn’t win an Oscar, but you’re welcome to a Jefy for Best Special Effects and Best Post-Torture Sex Scene.
Tony Lucca, “Delilah (When The Lights Go Out)”
Tony Lucca’s got a voice that could sell hot sauce to people in Hell. He’s got this combination of Jace Everett down home dirt and Nick Cave evil thoughts that just feels like you should be put on a list for listening to it. If you’re planning on committing a crime in the near future and want a cool soundtrack he’s my suggestion to you.
“Delilah”, directed by Oden Roberts, is sexy and dark. Lucca plays the accomplice of a woman that seduces and blackmails men with illicit sexual encounters, playing off his inner insanity for his situation and the total beguilement of his partner. The uncredited actress sure does play it up well as a sensuous heartbreaker, but she more metaphor than real woman. I wouldn’t be surprised if she existed only in Lucca’s head a symbol. A really hot symbol, but a symbol nonetheless.
Zaz, “Sous le ciel de Paris”
Yes, the song is in French but it has English subtitles, which is again a reason my music videos are the best way to explore music. “Sous le ciel de Paris” wanders among the streets of the famous French city watching posters and graffiti coming to life all around. The art dances and sings as it exposes the life of one of the great metropolises.
Directors Christian Volckman & Raphaël Thierry have a deft hand with the simple animated tricks. It turns a fairly old school music video technique into a commentary on how the art we leave behind us on the walls defines who we are or were in many ways. We are the images that we choose to stare back at us, if you’ll allow a little philosophizing.
Last on the column this week is something truly marvelous and fairly mainstream to boot. It’s so rare that I get to feature a popular artist that actually gives a damn about his or her music videos. Quintino is definitely one of them,
“Winner” is a pulp art explosion. It’s such a mad combination of adventure tropes that is sort of reminds me of Muse’s “Knights of Cydonia”, but filtered with an animated grit that has that old awesome Liquid Television touch. Director Shane Muller really out did himself, crafting an engaging and unforgettable tale of jungle women and gladiators and God knows what else. I lost count of all the awesome things that were hanging out in “Winner”.
Jef has a new story, a tale of mad robot nurses and a man of miracles called “Sleepers, Wake!” available now. You can also connect with him on Facebook.
by Guest Author