MIXING 8MM WITH 8 TRACKS.
Welcome to another round-up of new music videos with their hearts in genre films and exploitation of whether that means spaghetti westerns, tales of the future, great use of character actors or an embracing of pulp paperback history, that serve as great short films that accentuate the music they’re made to promote while still having an original vision. Well, most of ’em. Some of ’em I just mention because they’ve got zombies or space ships.
Janelle Monae Ft. Erykah Badu
(Dir. Alan Ferguson)
Monáe has played with science fiction on her previous releases, but this first track (or, as it’s referenced in the intro, “emotion picture”) from her upcoming album plants its premise firmly in the world of future funk, where she and Badu are time-traveling rebels imprisoned in a museum. The ’60s pop art look of the video works beautifully with the song, bringing out the angry, politically-driven sci-fi imagery of the past to new life as Monáe addresses gender, civil liberties, slut-shaming and more while passing quick reference to Philip K. Dick and showing musical influences ranging from Sun Ra to Prince. Expect this to (deservedly) end up on a lot of top 10 lists at the end of the year.
Kill the Noise
Blvck Mvgic (Kill the Noise Pt. 2)
(Dir. Lee Hardcastle)
Claymation director Hardcastle (also one of the directors of THE ABCS OF DEATH) provides some impressively creepy visuals for Kill the Noise’s dubstep track, with plenty of splattery carnage and face-chopping erupts from a witchhunt. What’s up with all the witch hunts in music videos lately?
The Next Day
(Dir. Floria Sigismondi)
Bowie is really knocking it out of the part for the epic videos created for his latest album, this one featuring Bowie (returning to LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST territory) performing at a secret ceremony in which priest Gary Oldman makes time with sultry Marion Cotillard, at least until the stigmata. Not only is it visually compelling and unpredictable, but the Catholic League hates it, so you know it’s worth a look.
Speaking of Bowie, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the first music video shot in space. Because, seriously. It’s in space.
The Collaborators: Paul Williams
Technically it’s not a music video, but the most recent in a series of brief mini-documentaries on Daft Punk’s collaborators for their upcoming “Random Access Memories” album is especially of note to cult movie fans as Paul Williams talks about the influence of PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE on the indisputably psychotronic techno band, along with his writing process, his battle with alcohol, and the nature of celebrity.
Red Riding Hood
(Dir. Kalen Artinian)
A modern retelling of “Red Riding Hood” isn’t, by itself, a particularly inspired idea, but making it a dance-club set tale with trippy, drug-infused editing makes it a perfect way to bring Hugsnotdrugs’ darkly hypnotic tune to life.
Afraid of Heights
(Dir. Black // Doctor)
The uneasiness of the Wavves’ rock track is perfect backing for this VHS-look short, which starts as one thing, then takes several twists into weird, wild areas.
Way of the Eagle
(Dir. Adam Callen)
The song is a bit too upbeat to be believable as a title track for a lost spaghetti western, but it’s still good, and the concept of the video captures the western spirit well. I wish it wasn’t animated to resemble a cut scene from a video game, which can work sometime (see Hot Chip’s “Don’t Deny Your Heart”) but doesn’t really work with the vintage tone here. But, hey, spaghetti western spirit.
The Mystery of You
(Dir. Eric Deuel)
Animation works much better for this noir-inspired video about a secret rendevous between a femme fatale and a mystery man, utilizing splashes of color just enough to create some impact in a mostly-B&W landscape. Director Deuel worked as an animator on KUNG FU PANDA and MONSTERS VS. ALIENS, and it’s great to see him being able to have his own voice here.
Speed of Dreams
(Dir. Matthew J. Powers)
“Low-rent” doesn’t begin to describe this cheaply-made (reportedly $33.75) video for ALO’s chipper, low-key track, but it’s still got a Frankenstein’s monster, dancing ladies that wouldn’t look out of place in Manos’s lair, dream sequences, a mad doctor, a severed hand, climactic battles and an amiable charm.
(Dir. Leslie Andrew Ridings)
Musically, “Robot Apocalypse” is clearly on the enjoyable Daft Punk level, but the video of a trio of break-dancing robots wandering around Earth destroying folks and being fended off by the band, doesn’t play it quite straight enough to work. But, hey, robot apocalypse.
Keys N Krates
Treat Me Right
(Dir. Ohji Inoue)
The only thing disappointing about this flash-animated video for the Keys N Krates’ high-energy electronic track that brings out the song’s repetition via vintage pulp paperback cover art starting with romance novels, is that it’s too short and stops just as it’s getting to the interesting stuff.
Dizzee Rascal Ft. Robbie Williams
(Dir. Andreas Nilsson)
Dizzee and Williams wander around a QUADROPHENIA-inspired neighborhood with a touch of THE CARS THAT ATE PARIS in this catchy track.
(Dir. Alex Colthart)
A lady gets chased by zombies around an abandoned building, and while the zombie make-up is good, but there’s a bit too much footage of the band out of their zombie guises. But, hey, zombies.
One Month Off
While late special effects pioneer Ray Harryhausen never directed a music video, he did influence a great number of them, and his work is put to use in this video that utilizes his 1949 Mother Goose Stories in order to create a nursery rhyme landscape consumed by an apocalypse. It borders on cultural sacrilege, but I think it works, and it utilizes Harryhausen’s amazing animation to clever effect.
Our vintage track this week comes from the high school hooker classic ANGEL, with The Allies providing the memorable theme music as the band performs in some typically ’80s special effects edited together with clips of the movie. Shame Dick Shawn and Susan Tyrrell didn’t get involved with the video shoot!
Be back when the jukebox has been restocked,
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