Welcome to FACT’s weekly video round-up.
As we note at the end of every year, music videos have never been better. But too often, music videos — along with documentaries, live sets and interview clips — get lost in the shuffle of news and new music.
With that in mind, FACT is doing what it does for mixes, mixtapes, vinyl and more: rounding up the internet’s best videos on a weekly basis. And to remove our bias, we won’t be including our own content — you’ll have to stay tuned to FACT TV for all your Against The Clock, FACT Freestyles and Confessions needs.
Dir: Eric K Yue
There are few tracks as confidently neon-blasted and wonderfully throwback as Kelela’s ‘Rewind’ right now. And no, this isn’t the “nostalgic” dance pillaging of Disclosure et al – this is an honest tribute to another era, brimming with the kind of heart that wasn’t always visible on Kelela’s acclaimed Cut 4 Me debut. The video makes similar glossy strides, pitting our protagonist as a mystical figure, darting in and out of light and focus. When this isn’t picked at next year’s VMAs, we might have to do a Kanye.
Dir: David Fenster
GABI’s ethereal, haunted vocal structures are truly disarming, and twinned with desolate imagery shot in the art haven of Marfa, Texas, her filigree compositions are suddenly catapulted into widescreen. There couldn’t be a more fitting landscape.
Father John Misty
‘The Night Josh Tillman Came To Our Apartment’
Dir: Drew Pearce
It’s a testament to Josh Tillman’s songwriting that this cruel recollection of a one-night stand is also one of the funniest songs of the year. Part of why it works is for every barb thrown at his naive conquest, he’s blinded in his own thicker narcissistic fog. It makes for a tremendous pay-off in the video, where Tillman plays both the seducer and the seduced. A lot of people heard this song on a surface level and wanted to tell him to go fuck himself — so that’s exactly what he did.
Sarah Fawkes takes matters into her own hands here for ‘Funeral’, showing a similar adeptness with abstract visuals as she has with sound. There’s little narrative but it hardly needs it – the damp neon glow is the perfect foil for Fawkes’ unique, vocal-laced dronescapes.
Dir: Be EL Be
It’s no surprise that when Young Thug directs his own videos they end up as weird as the songs. This video got a lot of attention as “watch Young Thug hook up with himself”, but it’s a single ingredient in a video full of surreal highlights. We also get a bizarre arm-swinging dance in the forest, Thug at a table of women eating giant bowls of cereal, and the main course reveal of his head through a hole in the table, haunted house-style. Best off all, it feels like it was thrown together during an afternoon for fun.
Snipped from their forthcoming album Heartache City, ‘Lost Girls’ is a twee and weird as you’d expect from Cocorosie, and that’s a good thing. Bizarrely, Sepia’s slow-moving, soft-focus accompaniment weaves a narrative around it rather than heading into abstraction, giving the ‘Lost Girls’ message a little more weight.
‘In For The Kill’
Dir: Anthony Sylvester
Shamir comes off as such a genuinely kind person in concert and on Ratchet that it’s not hard to read this colorful video as something sad – the world constantly tries to take down his alien ship while turning each successful hit into aggressive news and advertisements. Still, the success of this video is that it only suggests such thoughts and they never get in the way of enjoying his happily bobbing UFO. By the end they can’t lay a finger on him.
Autre Ne Veut
Dir: Allie Avital
Arthur Ashin has never been afraid to mutilate his vocal chords or his ego through his work as Autre Ne Veut. He does both in this video which debuts his new single as an a cappella audition for an American Idol-style competition show that results in rejection and failure. He’s awkward, shy, and doesn’t even get through the entire song before he’s told to leave. Even more damning is the symbolic casting of the disgusted judges, played by a member of the music industry, his family, and a high profile music critic respectively. Again, this is how he debuted a single designed to advertise his new album — few would be willing to put so much on the line for their art.
Tory Lanez has been making strides this year, and his impeccable visuals have to be part of the appeal. On his own in an empty warehouse surrounded by sheets, Lanez lays out his message here – he doesn’t need distractions around him, and he’s got the charisma to go all the way.
Dir: Bradford Cox
Fading Frontier is something new for Bradford Cox and for Deerhunter, precisely because those two things feel less synonymous than ever. ‘Breaker’, the first duet between Cox and bandmate Lockett Pundtt in their history, is the best example of that and this video expresses it beautifully. Different shots of each member bleed and blend together with a brightness and ease that’s always felt unattainable for Deerhunter, never more so than after the spiritual ashtray that was 2013’s Monomania. It’s not showy or dramatic as a video — or even a song, considering the many explicit references to Cox’s near-death experience last year. Yet no amount of theatricality could compare to his shy, shrug of a smile as he sings ‘I’m still alive. That’s something.” It is.