If this week’s music videos have anything in common, it’s that many of them are flush with violence and disturbing visions. But my two favorite of the week didn’t have any of that, even though the razor gloves and anthropomorphic horses probably could’ve been freakout material in other directors’ hands. Instead, Perfume Genius and Nat Baldwin gave us perfectly sweet and romantic, albeit weird, visions. Check out our picks below.
5. Madlib & Freddie Gibbs – “Thuggin’” (Dir. Jonah Schwartz)
If tough-guy rappers actually did what they rapped about, it would look something like this video, and this video looks disturbing as fuck. Gibbs might come across as a calculating psychopath in this clip, but he also carries himself like a dude at work, carrying out the duties of his trade. And that mundane, workaday quality is the scariest thing about the video. Thank god this guy knows how to rap. (Song still rules, too.)
4. Unknown Mortal Orchestra – “Though Ballune” (Dir. Jordan Blady & Ryan Knowles)
A fucked-up head trip of a video in which psychedelic cupcakes turn what was already a pretty weird party scene into something way more mind-warping. Or at least, I think that’s what’s going on. It could, I suppose, actually be that all these peoples’ heads are just turning into balloons with no explanation.
3. The Internet – “Fastlane” (Dir. Matt Alonzo)
Natural Born Killers is the obvious precedent for Syd Tha Kid’s romantic robbing-and-killing travelogue, right down to the diner scene. But with all its noisy editing, that movie never managed to make all this gleeful violence look languid and and bucolic, the way this video does. And so Matt Alonzo might’ve figured out how to put together a more fucked-up piece of work than Oliver Stone. Credit is due, I guess.
2. Nat Baldwin – “Weights” (Dir. Willy Berliner)
It’s hard to know what to even say about this video, except that I found it both seriously funny and weirdly touching, which is not an easy combination to pull off. I feel like this horse should have her own Adult Swim or something.
1. Perfume Genius – “Hood” (Dir. Winston Case)
When you’re a fragile-voiced singer-songwriter whose great subject is growing up gay and traumatized, this video, in which a hulking gay porn star lovingly brushes your hair and puts makeup on you, is basically the most punk-rock thing you could possibly ever do. A rare case where a music video manages to find room for all sorts of confusing imagery without sacrificing the tiniest little bit of tenderness. Bonus points for pulling off the sexy Freddy Krueger look.