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8.12.14: The Last VJ’s Top 5 Music Videos of the Week

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Welcome to The Last VJ, music fans! This week I found a unicorn, and by that I mean a mainstream artist who made a music video that doesn’t suck. Such things are few and far between. Also, Pink Floyd has started putting up their old promo videos on YouTube, and I meet an absolutely insane chick that will charm the pants off you then probably superglue your genitals to your leg. Let’s watch things get weird, now.

Hustle and Drone, “The Glow”

In general I am a big fan of music videos having something like a plot. Some sort of narrative at least. “The Glow” doesn’t have that, but it does have some truly entertaining moments.

Hustle and Drone play in an empty basketball arena, their performance intercut with footage of themselves and other actors all throwing up blood and spitting it at each other. Meanwhile, various luchadores hold a slam dunk contest over the heads of the band.

Oh, and someone also starts throwing up quarters.

Directors Joe Linton and Casey Warren aren’t exactly telling a story here, but their execution is extremely admirable. Part of me wishes I understand what meaning there is at all in the metaphor of blood vomiting onto someone else’s face, but I can at least enjoy masked wrestlers and their sick hoop moves.

Pink Floyd, “Another Brick in the Wall, Part Two”

For some weird reason Pink Floyd has officially begun publishing their original music videos on YouTube, something you just would have assumed that they would have done years ago. Well, better late than never, and this week they put up “Another Brick in the Wall, Part Two”.

It occurred to me as I watched this that I had never actually seen the promo film for one of Floyd’s most famous songs. Sure, it’s almost entirely made up of nothing but clips from The Wall, but having only ever really experienced the album as a feature-length film, it was weird to see such an iconic moment in it reduced down to a few repetitious clips for promo. It’s still great, but all it really does is remind me that there has never been anything like The Wall again and there probably never will be.

Dimitri Vegas, MOGUAI, Like Mike feat. Julian Perretta, “Body Talk (Mammoth)”

One shot music videos are always some serious endeavors, and pulling them off can result in absolute magic. Witness Blitzen Trapper and “Black River Killer” for instance.

“Body Talk” isn’t quite that amazing, but it still manages to really grab you in. It’s the story of a stripper on one last dance for a good cause, and if none of the things that happen to her are particularly original they are at least exciting. The best part of the video is how inventively Dimitri Vegas works himself into the flow like some kind of singing conscience that appears and disappears within the frame just long enough to sing the chorus.

It’s the perfect example of a cinematic approach that seeks to mix music and movie making, and “Body Talk” pulls it off magnificently, if slightly predictably

Autry, “Bug”

I consider myself an expert on 21st century music videos being that I generally watch close to 500 of them a year. Lots of people want to you to think that they are crazy, but few of them are really. Bunny Michael, is one of them, and I now add Autry to that list.

I have absolutely zero idea how seriously anyone is supposed to take this strange ballad about crocodiles and sandwiches and booty shaking and chocomarshmallow punch, but every single second of it is exactly what would happen if you died tomorrow and you found out that Satan, Lord of All Tortures, was really the broken soul of Lori Petty given terrible power in her madness. It’s adorable the way finger paintings from asylum inmates are adorable.

You’re just going to have to see this one for yourself.

Hardwell & Joey Dale feat. Luciana, “Arcadia”

Having done this gig for a while now I can tell you that in general good mainstream music videos are a thing of the past. Sure, sometimes there are bright spots. Gaga still delivers well, and “No Church in the Wild” remains one of the best videos ever shot.

In general, though, the people with the most money and reach rarely do anything with it beyond basic self-indulgent crap that highlights how pretty they are. It’s gotten to the point that if a video has over 100,000 views I can almost guarantee it’s crap artistically, even if the song happens to be good.

That’s why “Arcadia” was a nice surprise. It’s a pleasant throwback to Tom Petty’s classic Alice in Wonderland adventure in “Don’t Come Around Here no More” with some lovely touches of Melanie Martinez’s “Dollhouse” thrown in to give it a modern relevance. At times it reaches a little to deep into shadow circus spectacle, lacking the shadows and dirt that really sets good fantasy apart from the two-dimensional, but it’s definitely something to give me hope for the mainstream.

Jef has a new story, a tale of headless strippers and The Rolling Stones, available now in Broken Mirrors, Fractured Minds. You can also connect with him on Facebook.