Music videos are a dying art form. With my childhood ego peaking at the transition from Rorry’s Pop Party to very adult MTV, just about all of my music consumption has gone hand in hand with epic visuals – whether it’s Kelly Rowland texting a sheet of Excel calculation on ‘Dilemma’ or Katy Perry squirting whipped cream on her breasts on ‘California Gurls’. Either way, I really miss casting this Soulja Boy in my living room with my brother, both eyes glued to that TV screen.
Now, with major streaming platforms controlling music consumption, music videos have been put on the back burner and have long awaited a revival in the way we the general public listen to music.
Here marks the start of the monthly music video recap – highlighting who got it very well and who got it very poorly.
Without further ado, the highlights and low points of July were…
Hatred – Loyle Carner
Loyle Carner affirmed her comeback this month with the disturbing music video for her latest single “Hate.” The video, self-directed alongside Greg Hackett, sees the rapper in a nasty fit of road rage, as the camera locks on Carner hurtling down a country road and physically fighting with his rear passenger, a clone of himself . A palpable metaphor for the internal war Carner is fighting, as he furiously spits out the stream-of-consciousness lyrics to “Hate”, battling feelings of fear, rage, anxiety and confusion. As the clones continue to duplicate and cramp the car, the music video doubles down on the intense claustrophobia of the feeling of hate. A big deep breath for everyone after this one. – 8/10
Ethel Cain – American teenager
Americana is the word. The visuals for Ethel Cain’s home video “American Teenager” hit her small-town goth aesthetic on the head. The pop mega banger itself makes up for the video’s near-simple narrative as its scenes cycle between Ethel wandering around her sleepy Florida hometown, with plenty of content of the singer in her mother’s old cheerleader costume. prancing around the bleachers. With an homage to the iconic “Christina’s World” painting at the end, there’s a strong final sense of melancholy and essential Ethel Cain. – 6/10
Harry Styles – Late Night Talk
I didn’t want to have to say it, but that clip wasn’t that. With a huge budget and creatives hanging in there to work on a Harry Styles music video, the visuals for “Late Night Talking” can only be called a tad underwhelming. Especially when compared to the iconic “As It Was” music video, which seemingly set the tone for a new Harry era, which failed here. While the slumber party concept was fun and enticing, it didn’t really serve its purpose as the scene transitions lacked fluidity and the aesthetic lacked uniformity. The absolute bop was not done justice. Please don’t come for me.
NB the video redeems a point for Harry’s epic pajamas. – 1/10
Quinnie – tactile tank top
While I wish the video had been a little more polished visually, it’s very satisfying to see the visuals and the full version of “touch tank” match the hard-hitting hook epic “HE’S SO PRETTY WHEN HE GOES ON ME” which has been doing the rounds on Tik Tok. The self-directed music video takes place at the Quinnie Aquarium where the singer takes on the form of a mythical sea creature that people line up to touch, with *SPOILER* Quinnie eventually being released into the ocean by her lover. With the late 2000s/early 10s revival at the forefront of pop culture, the “touch tank” video reminds me of an old Katy Perry video, in the best possible way. Bring back silly little stories in music videos. – 7/10
Steve Lacy – Sunshine ft. Foushee
Steve Lacy kills him once more. From his debut solo album Gemini Rights, released this month, came the rave track “Sunshine” with frequent collaborator Foushee. Words really can’t describe how much I loved this video. You can pause the video at any time, and every frame is completely thoughtful and beautiful. As Steve begins the song playing with his band in a wasteland and the ethereal Foushee floats overhead suspended by a crane, we see the two loves separated. As the symbolism of losing one’s love roots occurs, Steve joins Foushee in the sky to beautifully harmonize the heartwarming “I still love you” with a backdrop of Hollywood sunshine. This one is guaranteed to give you goosebumps. – 10/10
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