7.22.14: The Last VJ’s Top 5 Music Videos of the Week
Welcome to The Last VJ, music fans! Each week we’ll be digging the depths of the
internet to try and find music videos that prove the art form isn’t dead even if music
television totally is. This week we’ve got the one and only Weird Al, of course, who
continues an unbroken streak of hilarious song parodies. On top of that there are hippies
riding congas into darkness, some beautiful interpretive dance, and a twerkbot.
Strap in and watch, ‘cause there are some real winners to see.
Dry the River, “Everlasting Light”
Coming out of London we’ve got Dry the River and an awesome, low-budget video affair
from director Jake Dypka. It follows the band as the four lads in gis take on a similar
groups of women in judo displays. The song has an excellent message of picking yourself
up again and learning from your mistakes, a sentiment best described by the lyric “You
better engage your mind before you drive your mouth.”
In almost every case the women handily hand the band their asses, but even when they do
score the occasional victory it clearly comes at a painful price. I don’t think their trying to
say anything big and political in that. Merely that it’s dangerous to underestimate people
and that the world is ready to monkey flip you at a moment’s notice no matter who your
opponent it. It’s slightly heartbroken stuff, but there’s a strength, determination, and
energy to the mix that makes it fun.
Kiev, “Be Gone Dull Cage”
This, friends and enemies, is what Tron would have been like if it had been about hippies.
Kiev rides through a strange wasteland on flying congas powered by their beats on a
spirit quest that will ultimately displace them into a bi-located nirvana where half of their
existence is being massaged by pale hands in a shallow pit of Technicolor oyster shells
while the other half tumbles weightless towards a giant purple space vagina.
I didn’t make a single thing in that run-on sentence up. It’s a rather slow video that could
definitely use some cutting, but director Scott Peters has turned in a real trip if you’re
willing to go the extra mile.
Basement Jaxx ft. ETML, “Never Say Never
Now, admittedly this is a silly video that is already focused on something dated. Does
anyone really need to hear anything else about twerking at this point? Hasn’t all that must
be said already been said?
Maybe so, but “Never Say Never” is still a pretty amazing piece of work from director
Saman Kesh. More a short film than a true music video, it follows two scientists at the
Jaxx Corporation who honestly believe that the practice of dance in the world is falling,
and with it humanity’s hope for the future. So, being Japanese, they try to fix this by
building a robotic dance partner.
What follows is part montage, and part almost medical examinations of what makes us
move to music. Silly as the whole thing is, it does make you ask yourself when the last
time was you did go out and lose yourself rhythmically to a song. Maybe they’re on to
something after all.
Simple, but gorgeous, “Conqueror” is a minimalist concept that gets its power from pure
beauty. Between Estelle’s one-of-a-kind voice and the fluid, perfect movements of her
male dancer performer you get a duel of physical perfections. Blacks, whites, and greys
vie for supremacy on the screen, forming a pretty good visual analogy for a song that
sings about the capriciousness of success and defeat. Stunning, beautiful, and amazing.
“Weird Al” Yankovich, “Word Crimes”
Well, it wouldn’t be an honest look at the week’s music videos without mentioning that
Weird Al is back an in great form. This time his music video, crafted by Jarrett Heather,
is a lyric video based on Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” that explores grammar rather
than possible date rape. Al was always a top-notch video artist in addition to being a
master parodist, and it’s good to see that he’s lost none of his enthusiasm or skill in the
last 38 years. Here’s hoping he’s aground for many more.
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.