The week’s two best videos both revolve around sticky nightmare realities where people act in ways that are entirely socially acceptable, and yet it looks like it might be vaguely fun to be in both groups of people. Maybe Justice’s “Stress” video, or those original Die Antwoord clips, will turn out to be a bigger influence than anyone thought. But considering that one of the directors at work here is David Lynch, it’s not really safe to play spot-the-influence. Watch this weeks’ picks below.
5. Dream Cop – “Nasdaq” (Dir. Lucas Borras)
It’s not exactly easy, especially in a low-budget context, to shoot one guy in one black-walled location and get a compelling four-minute video out of it. But the “Nasdaq” video works by transforming itself into a piece about light and color, a painstakingly assembled and beautifully edited thing where you remember each climactic cloud of yellow dust.
4. Van She – “Idea Of Happiness” (Dir. Andreas Nilsson)
Of the many internet-focused music video directors currently working, Andreas Nilsson has put together one of the strongest overall bodies of work; his Fever Ray clips are total hall-of-fame material. Nilsson’s got a gift for putting together narrative videos in which nothing makes sense and everything seems dangerously off, like something really bad is about to happen. This clip, with its decadently surreal Christmas party, fits in perfectly with his very particular thing.
3. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. – “We Almost Lost Detroit” (Dir. Andrew Smart)
Detroit has a reputation for being America’s most broken-down and apocalyptic city, and it sure lived up the one time I ever visited. But even the grimiest cities in the country are full of people who live and work there everyday and who are proud to call these places home. And Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. deserve credit for using the video for their Gil Scott-Heron cover to pay tribute to their hometown, filling the clip up with everyday Detroiters lip-syncing the song, some more capably than others. It’s fun to imagine the conversations behind this video, all the D residents being convinced to take part in the clip. And as a proud Baltimore native, I can absolutely sympathize with its aims.
2. David Lynch – “Crazy Clown Time” (Dir. David Lynch) (NSFW)
It usually doesn’t work out too well when musicians direct their own videos. But when the musician in question is one of his generations’ greatest filmmakers, we can go ahead and give him a pass. A seven-minute video of really intense people losing their shit at a backyard party shouldn’t be all that interesting, but Lynch’s greatest gift is for creeping us out and making us uncomfortable, and he does a whole lot of that here. Given how literal the video is with the song’s lyrics, I have to imagine that Lynch had the video in mind the whole time he was putting the song together.
1. Jack White – “Sixteen Saltines” (Dir. AG Rojas)
I would probably watch an entire movie of all these kids losing their shit. My favorites: The kid who flies while krumping, the extremely intense cheerleader, the really little one with the face tats. But really, they’re all winners. Jack White’s string of ridiculously great music videos is more than a decade long at this point, and it doesn’t seem likely to let up anytime soon.