Welcome back to The Last VJ, music fans! Gone forever are the days where we vote for winners and losers, and instead we'll just focus on the best finds to be found. This week we see ducks dancing, J-Rock J-Rocking, and one of the best pure performance videos I've ever seen in terms of raw emotions.
Put on your earbuds and dive in with me here on the final bastion of music-video excellence.
Basto, "Keep on Rocking" There's a genre of music videos I call WHW (Weird Head Walking), which encompasses subjects in a strange masks or otherwise unconventional headgear walking around a normal neighborhood. Jim James did it with "State of the Art," as did Saintseneca with "Happy Alone." It's not a bad genre, but it can be a tad derivative.
But Basto brings his own take to WHW by giving us a meat-man with a cartoon duck head. It's probably the best of this type of video I've seen yet, but mostly because Duck Head beats a Fox-Headed man in a breakdancing contest, earning the affection of a hot bystander. I'm a sucker for a good dance-off, and "Keep on Rocking" being a dance juggernaut of a track doesn't hurt.
The Obits, "I'm Closing In" Speaking of animation, Paul Clark offers a lo-fi but still excellent cartoon adventure for the Obits' "I'm Closing In." It feels like one of the cheaper segments of Heavy Metal that got by on the debilitated chemical state of many of the people watching it, but the action is quick and fun.
A young boy sees a priceless diamond stolen by a man in a Confederate uniform and pursues the thief under the sea, through outer space and finally into dinosaur times, where he triumphs and befriends an archaeopteryx to boot. "Fun" is the word I feel best describes the experience. Just fun.
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Wounds, "Dead Road" Now, I almost never put straight performance videos in the weekly Top 5, because they are rarely worth the same as more cinematic efforts. And make no mistake, barring a few shots of a mysterious woman who may or may not have killed herself, "Dead Road" is a performance video.
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That said, I have never heard or watched a person sing so desperately raw as Aiden Coogan does in this piece; I honestly wondered if he was going to be alive at the end of it. It's one of the most empty, bloody musical executions I have ever seen, and is enough to push what is in other circumstances a very pedestrian concept into something spellbinding. I'm actually afraid to ever see Wounds live.
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Macedo, "Your Skin" In yet another example of why music videos do not necessarily need to be the same length as their songs, director Nathan Hertz does in fact put together a pretty impressive set of insane bric-a-brac and bizarre movements for Macedo to play around with. While it's always gratifying to see every musician fulfill his or her hidden dream to turn over a table full of elegant dinner settings, there's honestly not a enough going on narrative-wise to fill four minutes.
Nevertheless, it's a killer song that rises to a fantastic crescendo at the end, and I did enjoy watching the band tear down the walls of Hertz's set as they escape at the close. Make it shorter and I'll buy it.
Asami Iami, "Jet-Black Sustain" Finally, here's a little J-rock for you, a short music video to promote this track featured on the upcoming Chou Megami Shinkou Noire Gekishin Black Heart for PS Vita. Iami voices the main character, and is seen here rocking a blasted landscape to absolute dust while looking as adorable as possible while doing it. See what I mean about length? Two minutes of this is worth three times that of a lesser attempt.
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