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.
St. Vincent — “Fast Slow Disco”
Outside of her God-like abilities on guitar, St. Vincent is known for putting together some of the most stunning visuals around, whether on the stage or in her videos. For this clip accompanying a new version of her Masseduction standout “Slow Disco,” Annie Clark decided to tip a cap to pride months and grind it out on the dance floor in a gay club surrounded by a writhing mass of scantily clad men. It’s certainly attention-grabbing, that’s for sure!
Mitski — “Nobody”
While sharing her latest composition on Twitter indie rock darling Mitski wrote that “My new song ‘Nobody,’ because sometimes you just got to dance the lonesome away.” The video drives that message home, finding the singer-songwriter-bassist extraordinaire in a surreal, cloistered environment where nothing is quite as it seems. The song’s joyful vibe is undercut by the deeply lonely message through the lyrics, that’s only enhanced by Mitski’s singularity through the video
Buddy — “Hey Up There”
Buddy’s latest video for the song “Hey Up There,” featuring hook-God Ty Dolla Sign, is practically a love letter to his native Compton. The entire thing was shot at the Compton/Woodley Airport facilities and nearby Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum and features the Pharrell protege singing his heart out while a helicopter flashes a spotlight over him in the dark of the Southern California evening.
YG — “Big Bank”
What’s better than pulling in two rap superstars to show up in your video? How about three? YG went all the way out while creating his latest single “Big Bank,” pulling in some of the biggest names in the hip-hop universe to give him the assist: Nicki Minaj, 2 Chainz and Big Sean. The whole thing is a high dollar affair, naturally, loaded with expensive cars and a shower of actual cash. Go big, or go home.
Paramore — “Caught In The Middle”
Anyone who came of age during the halcyon days of early MTV will no doubt have a soft spot in their heart for Paramore’s video for “Caught In The Middle.” With its lo-fi aesthetic the clip evokes memories of A-Ha’s iconic video for “Take On Me,” albeit with a lot more color, more scarce scenes, and more pineapples. In other words, it’s a fun and funky throwback to the past.