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. Phoebe Bridgers — “Scott Street”
Phoebe Bridgers latest album Stranger In The Alps was one of the most affecting indie releases of last year. While she’s been busy making the supergroup Boygenius alongside Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker, she also took some time out recently to make a poignant new video from her earlier release for a song titled “Scott Street.” Directed by Alex Lill, the clip finds an array of Bridgers doppelgängers donning wigs and doing random tasks like bull riding and piñata smashing. It’s light and dark at the same time, and always whimsical.
4. Willie Nelson — “One For My Baby (And One More For The Road)”
Sometimes simple is best. This clip for this cover of Frank Sinatra’s “One For My Baby (And One More For The Road)” finds Willie Nelson, one of the greatest country crooners of all-time, relieved in black and white, sitting on a chair in a recording studio and pouring his soul out into the microphone. There’s no gimmicks. No studio wizardry. The most cinematic shot in the entire clip is a quick glimpse of some clear liquid pouring over an array of ice cubes in a glass tumbler. Nevertheless, you can’t tear your eyes away.
3. Nicki Minaj — “Barbie Dreams”
Nicki Minaj is all about doing the absolute most. At least, that’s the case for her “Barbie Dreams” video. Directed by one of the greater music video savants of all-time Hype Williams, “Barbie Dreams” is a colorful, playful spin though the world of Nicki Minaj. Did I mention there are puppets? Sooooo many puppets! The DJ Khaled puppet in particular will definitely leave an impression.
2. Beach House — “Drunk In LA”
Beach House’s latest video “Drunk In LA” is like a low-grade acid trip. Directed by Sonic Boom, the same person who co-produced Beach House’s latest album 7, it’s a near-kaliedoscopic view of the mundane mixed with the whimsical, with shots of horses galloping through streams mixed with random shots of normal looking homes. Nothing is really as it seems.
1. Kanye West And Lil Pump — “I Love It”
The best video of the week, and certainly the one that captured the most eyeballs is this one-off collaboration titled “I Love It” between Kanye West and Lil Pump. With Spike Jonze — maybe the only guy who can go toe-to-toe with Hype Williams for the supreme music video director crown — at the helm, Ye and Pump take on a Talking Heads, Stop Making Sense-reminscent stroll through a long hallway in oversized apparel. Kanye in particular really leans into the absurdity of it all, gamely flashing ridiculous reactions faces that became memes almost the instant the clip dropped.