11.11.14: The Last VJ’s Top 5 Music Videos of the Week
Welcome to The Last VJ, music fans! There’s going to be some death this week, and some very strange places we’re going to traverse. There’s also some beauty, and our first video is a meeting of titans that should not be ignored.
Russell Brand feat. Rubberbandits, “Parklife”
When I heard that one of my favorite comedians and social justice iconoclasts had teamed up with possibly the greatest band ever on the internet stage I admit I made a little pee pee in my pants. Between Brand’s unapologetic leftist word punches and the guys that gave us “Horse Outside” could it possibly fail?
Well, it’s not the greatest video in the world. Normally I reserve this space for the artistically daring storytelling efforts that transcend both film and song. “Parklife” doesn’t do that, being essentially Brand riffing over the backing efforts of Rubberbandits. That said, what is coming through in the song and the imagery that they do use is so desperately needed right now both in their countries as in ours that I can’t help but love it. It reminded me of the better works of King Missile and Jello Biafra, and is definitely something you should take the time to watch.
Deerhoof, “Exit Only”
This video stars Michael Shannon. That’s all that needs saying, right?
I’m being told by my editor that it is in fact not all that needs saying, so I will elaborate. Michael Shannon plays a man being tortured by a doppelganger who forces him to listen to “Exit Only”. The severity of his physical deterioration grows at an alarming rate until he is bloody and teeth start falling out.
What I love the absolute best, though, is watching Ed Rodriguez burst through a wall and cruelly start playing guitar at the cowering Shannon until his head explodes. That’s the sort of thing I haven’t seen since ‘80s hair metal, and it needs to make a comeback post haste.
Paul White, “Running on a Rainy Day”
Sometimes videos are hypnotic for the weirdest reasons. “Running on a Rainy Day” isn’t terribly imaginative, but it is mesmerizing nonetheless. It’s really just following a youn cab driver played by Christian Bota as he drives his night shift customers around from dusk until dawn. The passengers aren’t particularly wacky or anything. Just a series of self-absorbed folks who barely even see their driver.
That’s what’s haunting about it, honestly. Bota simply empties himself of everything as he goes about his job. There’s this terrible mechanical aspect to everything that he does that is so very sad. He says more on what it means to be seen as a human in a distanced, automated age in a single backwards glance than seems possible. It’s at the end, watching the sunrise that it all pays off. Bota plugs in his earbuds to drown out all the ignoring of himself he’s heard in his shift and just dances as the light comes up. Brilliant, beautiful, and a moment we probably all need to feel.
SchoolBoy Q, “Hell of a Night”
It’s so rare to get a great rap music video these days. They’re mostly empty displays of wealth or simply dudes standing around in front of a place they like. Trust director Jon Jon Augustavo to really shake things up. It’s a party vid, no mistake, but Augustavo makes it into a Lynchian nightmare that shocks at every turn. It’s not as creepy as Tobacco’s “Streaker”, but it’s almost worse in a way because the turns into weirdness are often unexpected.
Wedding Dresses, “Heirlooms”
Finishing us off this week is something that I have a request for; someone please explain this video to me in the comment. I’m totally serious. I love it. It’s strange and wonderful and it seems to have something to say, and I have zero idea what it is. I feel like I was just given the greatest alcoholic shot of my life, and the only man with the recipe was just killed in front of my eyes. Now I’ll never know how to recreate it, so all that’s left is to watch it over and over until I catch a glimpse.
Jef has a new story, a tale mad robot nurses and a man of miracles called “Sleepers, Wake!” available now. You can also connect with him on Facebook.
by Guest Author