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.
The UK MVA Restricted List was announced and my god are there any gems there! Although I often prescribe the ‘shmawards awards’ philosophy, I really like how the UK MVAs nominate the best of the best music videos – recognizing outstanding talent in the technical/craft categories and splitting the awards with a section of new comers, screaming weed out underdogs who may not have the resources of the big boy and are often overlooked. The results will be announced at the ceremony on October 27 – may the best win!
Pressing play wise, I will say September was pretty dry for music videos, and still no sign of Renaissance visuals. If I die soon from severe heartbreak, Beyonce has blood on her hands. Here are the highlights and lowlights of Gigwise’s music video from September…
Kelela – Washed
Stripping herself of the elements, Kelela kicks off her highly anticipated comeback with an ethereal music video for “Washed Away,” full of symbolism. As she removes her leather coif, which resembles her iconic old braided hairstyle, she gazes into the distance in tattered clothes. She then bathes, washes away her old self, and later appears in pristine white garments and, in the manner of Jesus, walks on water. It is giving birth. The shots of the alien landscape are stunning, if a little too drone-heavy at times. The whole thing is a bit reminiscent of a guided mediation or a spa commercial, but the song is about liberation and cleansing, so I guess those are the intended vibes. A soothing ease in Kelela’s return and rebirth, one that we Kelela stans have been waiting for too long. – 8/10
Mura Masa, Erika de Casier – e-motions
Mura Masa and Erika de Casier joined forces for the ultimate sad girl, ‘e-motions’ crying in a club, but the visuals didn’t do the audio justice. The video tries some really cool things to create a futuristic yet nostalgic vibe, including the set design of 3D sets of the metallic satin-covered ocean that Erika cruises through on a silver jet ski, and body projections onto the sheet. 2D; costumes everywhere, and all the video shot in 16mm. Overall the delivery is quite sluggish and sluggish which reduces the pace and energy of the banger itself. Sorry to be a hater, but this disappointed. 🙁 – 4/10
The 1975 – All I Need To Hear
Following in the footsteps of the Arctic Monkeys with their latest videos, 1975 are also complicit in this prematurely nostalgic approach to their visuals. Playing in documentary style, the video is introduced with black and white shots, including those of Matty Healy taking a quick solo canoe trip in the lake surrounding Peter Gabriel’s iconic Real World studios. These are paired with audio layers of rambling conversation from the leader on the phone, reeling loose existential thoughts about the group and creating art. It all starts to get a little gritty and on the nose until Matty shatters the “none of this is real” illusion by pointing the crew and cameras behind the scenes – a self-aware king ! The song starts and the rest of the video plays out like a simple studio performance of “All I Need To Hear” – it’s nice to watch but pretty uneventful and punchless. No harm in sprinkling a bit of chaos in the boys, maybe something to relate to the existentialism of the introduction. – 6/10
Kendrick Lamar – We Cry Together
Following his epic latest album, Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers, Kendrick has released a short film for “We Cry Together” and the scenes are exactly what you’d expect. The whole song is a domestic argument between Kendrick and Taylour Paige. In one take, the video follows this as it unfolds – mega toxicity and all. At the end, they end the argument by doing the villain on the couch, as the scene zooms out, revealing their apartment as a film set. I don’t really think the song needs any visual aid, sonically the powerful performance that runs throughout the song is strong enough on its own – unless the visuals can add new layers to that, which this short does not. Regardless of that, we love seeing the girls fight. – 7/10
Weyes Blood – It’s Not Just Me It’s Everyone
Spooky season is upon us! Weyes Blood, in disguised sailor mode, cabarets around an old theater in a stoic, ominous way that, at first, just seems a little stiff. Then you time the scattered corpses and the jaws drop. In this doomsday state, with the viewer wondering if she killed them or not, she walks onto the stage emotionless and continues to play undisturbed, with the occasional cameo of a strange cartoon cannibal iPhone dressed as a sailor too. , nibble the bodies. Closing with the Disney Font credits, Halloween came a month early with this video, and I’m not mad about it. – 8/10
Revisit previous months by pressing play
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