Meat Loaf once sang, “You’re never alone ‘cause you can put on the ‘phones and let the drama tell your heart what to do.” I’m not the kind to argue with The Loaf on such matters, so here’s what music videos have for us this week.
5. Phebe Starr — “They Keep Telling Me”
This is a slightly odd one. On the surface it’s just Starr riding her bike while juxtaposed with old home movies of when she was a child, carefree and happy. If you’re really willing to listen and watch, there’s something greater going on. Among the images of her life is also footage of anti-Trump protests and people being beaten in the streets, clearly an allegory for these troubled times. It mixes well with Starr’s lyrics about a world that keeps insisting she let go of the concepts of freedom she enjoyed in childhood, which mixes well with her whimsical bike-riding. It’s a sweet vid, full of hope in a dark world.
4. Danny Brown — “Ain’t It Funny”
First off… directed by Jonah Hill? Really? Okay, well, he needs to do more of this because he’s crafted one of the most darkly hilarious things ever to exist in music video form. Brown is a man living with a sitcom family, but who is destroying himself visibly through drugs while a maniacal audience laughs. The set-up is vaguely reminiscent of Dandy Warhols’ “Not If You Were the Last Junie on Earth,” but far more sinister and repulsive. It’s very much a laugh or you’ll cry affair. Content warning: violent AF.
3. Lexie Roth — “Downtown”
Lexie Roth is quickly becoming one of the preeminent music video artists of 2017. She’s proved to be someone whose music can be perfectly embodied by visual storytelling. A little while back I waxed on about the beauty of “Drive,” but even it can’t compare with “Downtown,” directed by David Henry Gerson. It’s starts off as a typical dance video, with a young, cheerful man attending his dance class while moving to the music of the song all the way along. There’s a shocking twist in the middle that leads to a physical expression of loss through movement by the rest of his class, and it is absolutely mesmerizing.
2. Crazy Lixx — “Wild Child”
Look, I’m going to level with you. I came of age watching Motley Crue and Skid Row videos while the girl who was supposed to be babysitting me fucked her boyfriend on my parents’ bed in the next room. I write a lot of, what I like to believe, is fairly artistic criticism of this medium, but my start will always be guys with wild hair wearing vests with no shirts playing in a junkyard while somewhere completely unrelated something sinister and vaguely sexual is happening to a pretty woman in her underwear. And “Wild Child” brought me right back there. Deal.
1. Shaking Chains — “Midnight Oil”
Why is there no embed? Good question. This experimental music video actually pulls random clips from the internet to create a different music video experience every time you play it. My video will never be the same as your video. It’s gimmicky, but surprisingly effective. I highly encourage you to try out the experiment.