Each month, we list the most memorable clips and celebrate artists who innovate with their visuals.
6. Drake: “Sexy Way 2” [ft. Future and Young Thug]
Director: Dave Meyers
With a sample of Right Said Fred narcotized and tense verses that died on arrival, “Way 2 Sexy” doesn’t sound very sexy at all. Thankfully, Drake hasn’t lost his sense of humor for the song’s wacky video, in which the Certified Lover Boy parodies a number of male sex symbols (with matching prosthetics). He introduces himself, Future and Young Thug as pin-up models, ’80s workout girls and a bunch of boys in a windswept mashup of the Backstreet Boys’ “I Want It That Way” and “Water Runs Dry. “from Boyz II Men (NBA star Kawhi Leonard even appears as an extra member, looking as confused as I do about it all). This is the kind of exaggerated madness we should have dwelled on more Boy in love certified: A playful translation of the larger-than-life rap star character of Drake.
5. Lotic: “Emergency”
Director: Lil Internet
Berlin-based electronic artist Lotic escapes to a secluded country villa in the video for “Emergency,” a snap that vibrates with lust (the blunt chorus – “Emergency / Please fuck me” – reaffirms the point). Depending on the mood, she sprawls out around the house in vaporous clothes, whether lying in an empty clawfoot tub or sitting in front of two dancers whose movements flow with liquid grace. When Lotic does eventually switch to darker settings, including the house’s spooky attic and an occult-looking bonfire outside, she uses piercing looks to cast a spellbinding spell. The naturalistic setting provides a fascinating juxtaposition for an artist whose music so often turns to a tense, metallic vision of the future.
4. Wiki: “I can’t do it alone” [ft. Navy Blue]
Director: Ryosuke Tanzawa
This video is so New Yorker that you half expect to hear the jingling of the Mister Softee ice cream truck randomly while watching it. A pocket camera follows rappers Wiki and Navy Blue like a third friend as they stroll through town on a postcard-perfect day. The pair meet up with friends and slice a pizza on porches, with a ubiquitous spliff hidden behind Wiki’s ear. With views of skyscrapers and bodegas, clip nostalgia in New York is infectious, like spending a Saturday afternoon bouncing from neighborhood to neighborhood with endless possibilities in front of you.
3. Charli XCX: “The good guys”
Director: Hannah Lux Davis
Charli XCX’s synth-laden “Good Ones” is all about self-sabotage, with the pop star insisting her more chilly side tends to win out when it comes to love. She accentuates the drama with the video for the song, filmed in a cavernous church in Mexico City, where she dons black lingerie and performs a spinning choreography amid the funeral of a former lover. The camera hovers over the burial site, where it extends to the top of the headstone. The whole thing is more than a little My Chemical Romance, but Charli’s engagement in the morbid camp of it all makes it one of his most entertaining videos to date.
2. Chlöe: “Have mercy”
Director: Karena Evans
A single 20-second clip from Chlöe’s first solo single, “Have Mercy,” went viral this summer thanks to the TikTok challenges. Luckily, Chlöe takes center stage with an imposing on-screen presence and vigorous choreography, playing the queen bee of a sorority who twerks on the lawn during the day and throws poolside parties at the Gatsby at Night (bonus points added for hilarious, too – brief cameos from Tina Knowles and Bree Runway). This is just a decadent ruse for the sisterhood plan to turn the boys in the brotherhood into Roman statues for the garden, adding a touch of Medusa to this brightly colored clip.
1. Snail mail: “Valentine”
Director: Josh Coll
For “Valentine,” the heartbroken title track from Snail Mail’s upcoming album, Lindsey Jordan brilliantly unites Bridgerton– Period-style drama with a bloody revenge story. Dressed in ornate finery, Jordan plays the secret lover of an upper-class girl. The video cuts between stolen moments in between and a packed gala where, facing the girl’s boyfriend, Jordan’s grip on reality begins to slip. The singer plays the manic energy, stuffing her face with cake and gulping down tall glasses of wine, before her jealousy eventually turns deadly. Ending with a shower of Tarantino-worthy blood, this video is as haunting, bittersweet, and unexpected as Jordan’s songwriting.