It’s only been three short months and we’ve already seen some phenomenal new music this year. This post is not dedicated to the tunes however, but to the video clips that go with them. Some of them have been chosen for their content, others because they are technically stunning, and some because they are simply hilarious.
1. Childish Gambino: Sober
At the end of last year Donald Glover (Childish Gambino) wiped all of his social media accounts. He made no explanation. On January 7 he broke his online silence with a link to a website that contained a countdown clock. When the clock struck zero, the timer revealed the new music video for Sober.
Speculation has led to a lot of different theories for the meaning of the clip, which portrays a zombie-like, Michael Jackson-esque Gambino attempting to woo a lady in a diner with dance moves and magic tricks. Perhaps the film is a comment on online racism, and the white privilege that Gambino still sees as prevalent on social media platforms. Or perhaps he is mocking the public perception that he had gone slightly mad, because of his online behaviour, by presenting himself as high in the film clip. Whatever your take on it, there is an undeniable darkness to the video that makes it truly engaging to watch.
2. FKA Twigs: Pendulum
FKA Twigs had already released some epic music videos in 2014, but this is one of her most exciting films so far. The clip starts with an extreme closeup of Twig’s lips and gradually moves backwards, twisting slightly to reveal that the singer is in fact being suspended by her hair.
The film is incredibly engaging to watch, and gives the song, which on its own is a little bit of a yawn, a sense of purpose and anticipation. The only criticism I have for it is the slight bondage theme that it carries. FKA Twigs is a beautiful, powerful female icon. She doesn’t need to rely on her sexuality to engage her fans. Here the shots with her wrapped up tightly in black ropes, with her breasts pushed up towards the camera seemed more like a bizarre distraction than a necessary part of the film.
3. Grimes: RealiTi
Grimes’ new video clip for RealiTi, which she directed and edited herself stands in complete contrast with Twigs. The film uses a gorgeous colour scheme of oranges, pinks and blues, and has an amateur, almost childish nostalgia to it.
Also in contrast to Twigs, Grimes in no way sexualises or objectifies herself. She dances with a mesmerising youthfulness, giving the sense that she would dance in exactly the same way if the camera was not there. Female artists that are brave enough to make music videos that don’t draw attention to their sexuality are so important, as they give the young girls who watch them permission to act the same. Grimes and artists like her should be celebrated.
4. Rihanna, Kanye West, Paul McCartney: FourFiveSeconds
Rihanna’s FourFiveSeconds may be one of the more random songs that she’s produced in her career, but that hasn’t stopped her from releasing a hilariously awesome music video to go with it.
The director of FourFiveSeconds, Vinoodh Matadin, made the intelligent decision to keep the clip stripped back and simple. Opening with a black and white closeup of a glistening, tormented RiRi, the film hooks you in an instant. We’re thinking why does RiRi look like she has a drug addiction? Moreover, why is she decked out head-to-toe in denim?
The film is a surprisingly appealing hot mess, somewhat like the song. You may think it’s tacky, but try to get through the entire song without singing along to the chorus. It’s not easy.
5. Sia: Elastic Heart
If you haven’t already seen Sia’s film clip for Elastic Heart, you’ve been living under a rock. The music video sparked an enormous amount of controversy over whether it should be considered paedophilia, which you can read about here. We need not get into that discussion again, so lets just suffice to say that it should not.
It’s a shame though that such a futile argument took the attention away from what is a truly interesting film clip. The film features retired actor Shia Labouef, and the 12 year-old female dancer from Sia’s previous clip, Chandelier, Maddie Ziegler.
The two characters challenge traditional gender roles and the sense of imprisonment that people feel when they aren’t able to express themselves. That’s what we should have been talking about. Not whether Shia Laboeuf is a bloody paedophile.