Welcome back to The Last VJ, music fans. While the rest of the world still reels from Kanye's latest failure in the realm of music videos as well as the unfortunate return of Rebecca Black, less egocentric artists are out there putting on little video plays that blow his completely out of the water. It's been a year of viral awfulness from the mainstream, but here at the Last VJ there's still some hope that the best possible music videos will shine on like crazy diamonds.
Let's see what we found this week. Vote at the end.
La Luz, "Big Bad Blood" Big hand to last week's winner La Luz, who crafted a tribute to bloody grindhouse posters that couldn't be beat. Severed heads and a rocking good tune is a potent combination for entertainment; let's see if they've got the chops to go two weeks in a row.
The Voluntary Butler Scheme, "Quinzhee" Graeme Maguire has taken VBS's light-hearted, Beach Boys-esque ode to snow huts and turned it into an endearing tale of a lonely ice demon. Our hero continuously builds himself a friend out of snow that is repeatedly destroyed, until he is then pursued by a hunter.
It's intentionally lo-fi, but that allows the video to float well over the song's airy melodies. Considering how bloody most of the animated videos I run across are, it's a nice change of pace to sit back and watch a yeti be rescued by a beaver and a llama.
REWIND: Last Week's Music Video Roundup
Shapeshifter, "Endless" I've seen a lot of music videos in this gig, but I've never really seen one that was basically about listening to the song itself. At least not one done this well. The video follows a drunk man at a small dive bar in Japan who doesn't want to go home at closing time, and convinces the bar owner to let him have one more drink as they listen to "Endless."
Meanwhile, the narrative fractures out into aimless wanderings by a host of lost souls, possibly figments of the drunk's imagination as he imagines a world outside of his binge. It's a strange video, like a very low-key David Lynch, and Shapeshifter's ethereal electronica certainly helps push the video into fever-dream territory.
Countdown continues on the next page.
Celldweller, "Unshakeable" Last time I talked to Celldweller it was because he'd crafted the greatest electro-goth cover of the Bee Gees' "Tragedy" imaginable. Now he's back with a semi-animated outing that proves just how influential Liquid Television was to a new generation of artists.
Giant robots, overlords from space -- it has everything you could ever want. From start to finish it's a well-paced adventure in sound and light that hits the brain like an experimental hallucinogen. Good, good stuff.
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Lorde, "Team" I make it a point not to taste the flavor of the week here very often; this column is about finding what others might miss. That said... goddamn if they're not right when they claim Lorde might very well be the future of music. "Team" is a brilliant little musical film.
It's like an early Gaga video minus the deliberate reach to absurdity. Instead, "Team" slowly builds a world of strange rules and gray skies, where Lorde herself sits a powerful but captive priestess and her subjects duel each other on motorbikes amid the ruins. There's so much left unsaid on the edges of the story, and that lets viewers do what all great music videos do... finish the movie in their head for which this musical moment is a crescendo. You'd have to be crazy not to see the magic here.
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