Sometimes the music is only half the story. Would Michael Jackson’s immortal pop ballad “Thriller” have been the runaway success it was at the dawn of MTV if not for the extended video filled with zombies, werewolves, and Vincent Price? Probably not. Though MTV’s clout has diminished significantly in subsequent decades, artists are still releasing videos at a stunning clip, sharing them on Youtube, Vevo, and pretty much every streaming service out there.
Videos not only offer another side of the person making the music, but also of the music itself, adding in context clues and visual cues that enrich the sonic material. They can also be fun, funny, weird, and shocking. Collected below are some of the most interesting and compelling videos released over the last week.
Cardi B — “Ring”
Cardi B stays winning. In a year where she had a baby, dropped her critically-acclaimed, No. 1 album Invasion Of Privacy, she’s also put together a series of pretty badass music videos. Her latest is for the song “Ring,” features Kehlani who assisted her on the track. The video follows along a phone theme, featuring the pair in an old school phone booth in one set piece and wrapped up in a bunch of different lines in another. The visual metaphors are a little dated, but effective nonetheless.
Greta Van Fleet — “When The Curtain Falls”
Greta Van Fleet are the next up in a great lineage of bands who will “save rock and roll!” They sound like Led Zeppelin. They opened for Guns ‘N’ Roses. They kill live. GVF double-down on their ties to iconic rock imagery of the past with their latest video for “When The Curtain Falls.” It’s a cosmic trip through the desert that seems like a hybrid split between Soundgarden’s “Jesus Christ Pose” video and Jimmy Page’s fantasy sequence in the film The Song Remains The Same. Not a bad pair of touchstones at all.
Young Thug — “Gain Clout”
This has been a pretty good week for Young Thug. The Atlanta MC finally dropped his long-awaited album Slime Language, while also debuting the video for the song “Gain Clout.” It’s a video full of fish-eye lens close-ups, models, fast cars, and all the colorful weirdness we’ve come to love and expect from anything Thugger attaches his name to. At the end, he sets one of the vehicles on fire, which is far and away one of the all-time great music video tropes.
Kurt Vile — “Loading Zones”
We don’t know what it’s called or when it will drop, but earlier this week Kurt Vile pulled the curtain off the first single, hopefully for his next new album. Titled “Loading Zones,” the song is vintage vile, filled with shiny, sun-baked guitar melodies and ethereal lyrics. The video itself captures the singer as he navigates his car around Philadelphia, just ahead of a meter maid, played by the actor Kevin Corrigan, hoping to ticket his car.
Ashley Monroe — “Wild Love”
One of the standout songs from Ashley Monroe’s most recent album Sparrow is titled “Wild Love.” Several months after sharing that project, the singer dropped a brand new video for that particular song. Directed by Jaclyn Edmonson, the clip is a sort of “back to the garden” concept with Monroe playing Mother Earth herself. “I wanted the ‘Wild Love’ video to capture that sense of peace that comes with letting go and feeling good about who you are,” she said in a statement. Mission accomplished.