01.06.15: The Last VJ’s Top 5 Music Videos of the Week
Welcome to The Last VJ, music fans! I hate to have to frighten and disturb and unnerve you here in the dead of winter and all, but unfortunately that’s what I’m going to do this week. With one sweet exception as a palate cleanser this go ‘round we are heading into the mouth of madness. Don’t watch these at night.
Enter Shikari, “Anaesthetist”
Enter Shikari has been on a roll over the last month putting out two incredible looking music videos in two very different styles and genres. Last time they showed us their funny side, but now it’s back to the highly political and dark brand of exposure they’re better known for.
“Anaesthetist” is a very classic video, feeling something like a Mark Romanek video on crank. Director Mike Tyler has a twisted visual style that warps the screen like you’re under the influence of either heavy drugs or heavy sickness. The hospital setting is just naturally creepy, but teamed with Rou Reynolds’ typically sharp deconstruction of social matters it becomes a temple to entropy. Every second is desperate and uncomfortable, which makes it perfect for the larger issues of public access to healthcare that it highlights.
It’s rare for rap or hip hop videos to go screaming off the cliff of sanity, but by God Phyno and director Clarence Peters went full on Thelma & Louise with all middle fingers pointed right into the air. We see Phyno as king holding court in a junkyard on a throne made of machetes. All around him young men battle and freeze on his command, a scantily clad twerking woman and a little person brandishing a four-way tire iron the only figures immune to his rule.
Then out of nowhere the whole thing becomes a slow crawling religious painting that culminates with Phyno as the Archangel Michael striking down Satan with a sword while the apocalypse rages in the distant heavens above. All of it is strange and violent and wonderful and I refuse to believe it was crafted by human hands alone.
Lindsey, “Out the Magazine”
If I live to three times the age I am now I’m willing to bet I’ll not see anything more adorable and life-affirming than “Out the Magazine”. Directed by Kemi Adetiba it’s an honest-to-God adult morality play portrayed with the same sort of happy minimalist as an elementary school dance recital. We watch Lindsey leave home and travel to a new city only to have her trusting heart repeatedly broken by the people all around her. Eventually she meets a guy, but rejects the happy heart being held up behind her in favor of a simple sign saying that she and her new man are just getting to know each other. It’s like Yo Gabba Gabba for grown-ups, and something like that is long overdue.
One of the weirdest music videos I have ever covered comes to us this week from HamsandwicH. “Apollo” is way, way, way out there in a way that is damn near indescribable. Nominally it’s a one of those great “crashed on an alien planet” videos similar to Shearwater’s “I Luv the Valley Oh”, but the differences end there.
The video stars two characters, both played by Peter McGlynn. One is a nomadic wanderer in a suit that is a cross between a Tusken Raider and Kabal from Mortal Kombat. The other os a broken and dying cyborg. Bobby McFlynn really pulls out all the stops on the robotic prosthetics. It’s a symphony of gore and circuitry that will basically ruin all CGI for you forever. It’s impossible to look at and also impossible to look away from.
Eventually the two meet and things get both very Flashdance as well as very “Mary Jane’s Last Dance”. The juxtaposition of hideous ruin and happy dancing nakes for some very uncomfortable laughing, but also makes “Apollo” completely memorable and unique.
Atmosphere, “January on Lake Street”
Sorry to do this to you but we’re going to close with a punch to the freakin’ head. When it comes to “January on Lake Street” just the song alone is a serrated blade against your wrist. Atmosphere lays out a litany of depression and despair that would probably freeze the heart of a My Little Pony. The delivery so poetic, so perfect that it almost makes you forget that you want to die after listening to it.
Then there’s the video by Braden Lee. It’s essentially a series of vignettes about people in the moment where their personal worlds are ending as seen by a lone skateboarder. We pass person after person on the brink of giving up and committing suicide intercut with footage of a planet slowly crashing into another. It’s a powerful metaphor, that even the world has an end of its rope. How did that Shelley poem go? “Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair! Nothing beside remains.”
Jef has a new story, a tale of mad robot nurses and a man of miracles called “Sleepers, Wake!” available now. You can also connect with him on Facebook.
by Guest Author