Sometimes the music is only half the story. Would Michael Jackson’s immortal pop ballad “Thriller” have been the runaway success it was at the dawn of MTV if not for the extended video filled with zombies, werewolves, and Vincent Price? Probably not. Though MTV’s clout has diminished significantly in subsequent decades, artists are still releasing videos at a stunning clip, sharing them on Youtube, Vevo, and pretty much every streaming service out there.
Videos not only offer another side of the person making the music, but also of the music itself, adding in context clues and visual cues that enrich the sonic material. They can also be fun, funny, weird, and shocking. Collected below are some of the most interesting and compelling videos released over the last week.
5. DJ Snake — “Taki Taki”
DJ Snake is cool and everything, but it’s the appearance of two of the fiercest women in pop music today that really makes his “Taki Taki” video pop. Against a backdrop of simmering volcanos and lush green jungles, Cardi B and Selena Gomez both gamely reprise their guest verses on the song, lending both the track and the video a substantial amount of intrigue and ferocity. The random dude wearing a mask that makes him look like Kabal from Mortal Kombat is also a pretty cool touch.
4. Kurt Vile — “One Trick Ponies”
Kurt Vile makes some of the best, hazy rock music around these days, so it only makes sense that his music videos capture a similar sort of vibe. “One Trick Ponies” is a pretty simple clip, featuring a double-headed Vile walking around in a field somewhere, while the lyrics to the song bounce around underneath him. It’s quaint but in a decidedly good way.
3. Eminem — “Venom”
Eminem is not the kind of artist who does small budget videos. Take a look at pretty much every clip he’s rolled out in conjunction with both of his new albums, last year’s Revival and this year’s surprise release Kamikaze, and the common denominator between all of them is an extremely high production value. Now you throw some Marvel dollars into the mix? Forget about it.
2. French Montana — “No Stylist”
French Montana knows what most people like to see in a music video: Star power baby! The New York MC rolled out the red carpet for his “No Stylist” video, bringing in some of the hottest talent in the world for a bit of face time, including ASAP Rocky, Slick Rick, Young Thug, and of course, the big man himself, Drake. Glenn Michael and Christo directed the video and it essentially captures the preparation process ahead of an opulent fashion show. Did I mention that Cam’ron is in it too?
1. Post Malone — “Better Now”
Post Malone is one of the most in-demand live performers in the world right now. Seriously, I went to Lollapalooza this year, and there was a sea of people backed up a quarter mile away from the stage just to hear him sing, and rap, and smash his guitar. The video for his song “Better Now” is essentially kind of a mini-tour documentary, catching Posty as he rips down the stage in front of thousands of people mixed with a bit of behind the scenes footage. The whole thing was shot in a noirish black and white and looks and feels pretty fantastic.