We’ve come to the thirteenth instalment of State’s Videos of the Week, oh me oh my! Thirteen, a number many regard as being so unlucky that superstition overrides reason. I’m an exceptionally naïve person in the face of rudimentary occurrences. If someone tells me that Steve Perry is their Godfather I will, without hesitation, believe them. Why shouldn’t I? While I am very trusting of people’s sometimes obscure declarations, I am not easily swayed or influenced by the fear that follows the unconfirmed uncertainties born from a belief that if you break a mirror you’re doomed for seven years.
Earlier this week, the nominees for MTV’s Video Music Awards (VMAs) were revealed and as expected, controversy ensued. Beyoncé, Adele, Drake and Ariana Grande received the most nominations, a predictably mainstream slew of videos garnering praise. MIA, who has seen some controversy lately, spoke out in the wake of the announcement addressing her disgust and dismay for the exclusion of her music video, ‘Borders’, which highlights the refugee crisis. Maya declared the once pioneering institution as racist, elitist, sexist and classist, even creating the hashtag #fucktheVMAs. People may say that she was unlucky not to have received recognition for her work as an artist using her voice to educate and raise awareness of one of the many issues defining our generation. We can feel fortunate that someone of her influence is passionate enough to speak out against this oversight. Luck and fortune are intrinsically connected to the myth of thirteen but maybe that needs to be dispelled. It’s just a number and the world has become a scary and strange place so why fret over something trivial, fourteen is only around the corner.
Beach House – ‘The Traveller’ (Sub Pop)
Beach House were once adored for their luscious dream pop songs, an inoffensive band with an outlier approach to making music in their formative years. Last year, the Baltimore duo released two studio albums, Depression Cherry and Thank Your Lucky Stars, in quick succession much to the surprise and intrigue of their fans. A few years ago, if you were to mention Beach House to a friend or stranger (circumstances depending) you could be certain that you’d bond over a mutual enthusiasm for Teen Dream and Bloom. Today, their music divides people. For the most part, people are still beguiled by Victoria Legrand’s dreamy androgynous vocal style, however there has been an increase amongst those whom ascertain that the songs blend into one. I can appreciate both of these stances to Beach House’s recent work. I would identify mostly with the former despite being considerably underwhelmed by the direction their sound has taken. Anytime my enthusiasm for them wanes I return to the visual aspect (recalling their live shows or watching their videos) which is imperative to build upon the stories of the songs and develop their personality to make them more identifiable and whole.
The video for ‘The Traveller’, the first official music video to be released by the band in three years, adopts a 1980s aesthetic that doesn’t entirely mesh well with the tempo of the song. It’s an underwhelming video with an undesirable amateur finish. A genuine fear that Beach House fans have for future albums to come for the once dynamic duo.
John Grant – ‘Global Warming’ (Bella Union)
John Grant is writing the songs that Father John Misty is so desperately trying to make. Of this, I am positive. Grant released the video for his witty, but poignant song ‘Global Warming’, in which the singer is carefully watering his succulents and fixing his hair using the back of a White Chicks dvd in an apocalyptic world melting from the perilous product of our reckless neglect on the planet. Aided by recurring creative collaborators, Casey Raymond and Ewan Jones-Morris (their portfolio includes videos made for Cate Le Bon and Stealing Sheep) whom directed, edited and produced the video, a sombre Grant is entertaining to watch for the entire four minute duration. You cannot help but feel guilty when you catch yourself giggling at the satirical over-dramatisation of the compromising effect that global warming is having on Grant’s fair complexion. This song and video will make you happy and encourage you to be proactive about the future. The song’s closing lines, “All I’ve got are first world problems I guess I better get some more third world kind”, demonstrates how smart humour on how stupid people can be.
Nice As Fuck – ‘Door’ (Loves Way)
The number of Jenny Lewis’ many musical reincarnations almost rivals the number of self-affirming tweets and quotes made by Kanye West in recent times. Lewis has joined forces with Tennessee Thomas, you might remember her as the drummer of The Like or you’ll definitely recognise her as Alexa Chung’s best friend and owner of the New York boutique providing the latest must have slogan shirt emblazoned with the words, “Give A Damn” and seen on Alex Turner and, of course, practically everyone in this video. Guest appearances come from Adam Green and Albert Hammond Jnr, the latter playing a mean spirited landlord appearing with the threat of eviction and the hope of quashing Nice As Fuck’s peace and love attitudes. A performance of protest lead by Lewis in the window and a gaggle of girls and babies bopping to the catchy tune in the close confines of The Deep End Club. Both the video for and lyrics of ‘Door’ are hyper-political with Bernie Sanders ephemera gracing Thomas’ drum, one that she has been prominently beating on social media.
Kanye West – ‘Wolves’ (Getting Out Our Dreams II)
There isn’t a lot to be said about Kanye that Kanye hasn’t in fact said himself. ‘Wolves’ is the latest video to come from his most controversial and talked about album, The Life of Pablo and the video is surprisingly light on causing trouble or igniting feuds. I was slightly unsure whether this was actually a music video or an extended advertisement for the Paris fashion house, Balmain. Featuring a models and an emotional but bedazzled Kim Kardashian wearing a dress that resembles a chandelier. This is Kanye’s attempt to gather sympathy for his plight of feeling thrown amongst the wolves, or less viciously known to us common folk as the media, tabloid journalists, and general haters.
Notable Mention…. A Scare Before Bedtime…
Clipping – ‘Baby Don’t Sleep’ (Sub Pop)
Words fail me. The video for Clipping’s latest single, ‘Baby Don’t Sleep’, has a strangely Orwellian vibe, maybe that’s just me trying to identify my perplexity of the contorted and fuzzed televisual aesthetic and floating head. I probably would refrain from watching this video before going to sleep.