Since I’ve been using Plex I’ve been able to organize and add to my music video collection, with clips dating from the 1960s to the present day. 2017 had some great videos as well, which were a welcome addition to the mix. Here are my top five.
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5) Luna – “Fire In Cairo”
Before Rose McGowan became front page news this autumn she starred in a clip for the dream pop duo Luna in August. The alternate title is “Portrait Of Rose” and it’s shot in a cinéma vérité style capturing a day in her life. When it was released I thought it was a lovely glimpse of how she has changed, and the music of Luna brings me back to a wonderful trip I took with a beloved friend when I was fourteen. Overall a great combination.
4) Jonathan Bree – “You’re So Cool”
What is happening in this video? Never mind- just lean into it. In my case I’m a sucker for swelling string arrangements like this (gets me every time). The ’60s variety show vibe kind of harkens back to Portishead’s clip for “All Mine,” so maybe there’s some nostalgia in this too. The question is which music video is more eerie. Your call.
3) Björk – “Blissing Me”
Björk can appear alien in her videos and photoshoots but has always packed a punch as a performer. In her second single from Utopia she celebrates fledgling love in a single, fluid take. There isn’t a single misstep or an uninteresting moment- she vacillates between ecstasy and vulnerability with an air of celebration. Although her other videos for this album have been more visual and complex, I connected with this one’s simplicity right away.
2) Perfume Genius – “Die 4 U”
Mike Hadreas is incredible to see live and this is the only thing I’ve seen that approximates what it’s like. He is completely uninhibited with his body and wields seduction like nobody’s business… in this case on a shapeless mound of flesh. As a male performer in 2017 I can’t think of anyone like him on the scene, and his work with veteran director Floria Sigismondi resulted in something pretty magical.
1) JAY-Z – “The Story Of OJ”
This is the third collaboration between JAY-Z and Mark Romanek, one of my favorite video directors. As usual neither of them pull any punches, delving into racist stereotypes and repurposing them for a story: in short, nothing has changed. I found this particularly poignant since I filtered through dozens of vintage cartoons earlier this year. I saw many of these stereotypes and more, so they were fresh in my mind. Aside from being uncomfortable and truthful I thought, “How could they be useful now?” These two found a way, turning these images into a powerful statement.