7.29.14: The Last VJ’s Top 5 Music Videos of the Week
Welcome to The Last VJ, music fans! This week we dive to the depths of complete and utter silliness and rise to the heights of unimaginable blood and cruelty. There’s animation, mixed-media, laughs, and something so awful that you’re going to want to call this your trigger warning. Watch on!
Devon Williams, “Puzzle”
Sometimes music videos work because they’re unimaginative. Williams and director Mike Cullen certainly don’t break any new ground on “Puzzle”. In fact, the video could almost serve as a lesson on how to craft the perfect random found footage music video.
Nonetheless, there’s a great deal of care taken in puzzle to ensure a fluidity and solid identity that is heads above most efforts within the genre. Combined with Williams’ perfect post-punk product it’s a grand time machine back to the early ‘90s when music television was still a grand thing indeed. So points off for lack of originality, but points on for the excellence of your time capsule.
PS I Love You, “Friends Forever”
There are things that are inherently wonderful just by the very fact of their existence. Posh women saying, “Fuck”, slow lorises, things like that. Top of the list though are ridiculously over-muscled men being both caring and silly. ‘Friends Forever” is the acme of such magic.
Starring Rage and Manimal as two hulking BFFs that spend all their time working out and drinking alcohol out of comically dainty wine glasses, all seems right in the world directors Luke McCutcheon and Michael Yablonski have crafted. When a German shepherd named Alamaba comes into play, though, Manimal finds himself alone and left behind as Rage bonds with his new doggie friend.
Who can talk… and lift weights… and ultimate counsels the two to reconcile just in time for them to use their muscle powers to save a trapped woodland creature. Cue the super happy ending music sung by Demi Lovato. It’s silly, irreverent, and wonderful.
Melted Toys, “Always”
One of the great things about the modern music video is that things that only big studios could once do can now be done by someone in their bedroom provided they just put the effort into it. Case in point is animated music videos, which used to be something that required an army of animators starved and beaten into submission to produce something even of very low quality.
Anibal Bley does a wonderful, low-fi job with “Always”, shifting colored forms in and out like a fever dream. There’s no coherent plot, or at least I didn’t take the proper drugs necessary to divine a coherent plot when I watched it (Feel free to trip balls and tell me if there is one in the comments). Nonetheless, you can follow along the emotional journey hitting high notes and low notes pretty well.
Luluc, “Small Window”
On a more elaborate animated note comes Luluc and Nacho Rodríguez’s incredible multi-media piece. It’s a song about looking at the world through the windows of a plane, but Rodriguez expands that idea into a bizarrely beautiful journey taken through cardboard cities and seen from a tiny cottage on the back of a bumblebee.
The video calls to mind the animation techniques of the Brothers Quay, though less dark, and locally resembles the work of Orents Stirner without that madman’s hyperactivity. Instead, it’s a tranquil, dreamlike work that soothes even as it challenges the mind of the viewer.
“The Penelopes, “Time to Shine”
Last this week is an incredible short film by Mattias Johansson starring to Soko and set to an amazing track by The Penelopes. Inspired by the Ariel Castro case and other incidents of bizarre kidnappings, torture, and imprisonment within non-descript city and suburban settings, it follows a man and two women locked in a crazed triangle of abuse and death that is utterly incomprehensible.
It’s an epic length video, clocking in just under nine minutes and taking breaks from the music for plot expansion. Mixed with the brutally frank depictions of violence are a myriad of well-placed pop-culture clips that cement the idea of lunacy in the midst of normalcy. It’s not a comfortable thing to watch, but it is genius. There’s no arguing it.
Jef has a new story, a tale of headless strippers and The Rolling Stones, available now in Broken Mirrors, Fractured Minds. You can also connect with him on Facebook.
by Guest Author