“We all self conscious, I’m just the first to admit it…”
Last week marked ten years since Kanye West released his debut album, The College Dropout. It’s an album that remains one of my all-time favourite records, one that I continually revisit and sporadically obsess over. Although it wasn’t my first Kanye album – that honour went to the following year’s Late Registration – this record remains my pick of the litter. With this milestone – as well as the exciting news that Yeezy will be back here in May – I thought I’d look at one of my favourite Kanye videos from this era.
Yes, the imagery of Jesus Walks and the blunt-hammer satire of The New Workout Plan are fantastic in their own right. I could have easily written about either of them – but there’s something about the video for All Falls Down that I have always been drawn to. The point-of-view camera work is exceptional, as is the audio tweaking depending on where exactly Kanye finds himself. Even though they don’t really speak in the video, the relationship seems to explain itself between Kanye and the woman he’s dropping at the airport. On top of that, Kanye putting himself through the airport scanner remains one of my favourite moments in 2000s music videos. It’s a very clever and very striking video, one that hits the emotional nerves of the song. It’s a perfect complement – and a relatively simple clip that contrasts with the grandeur that comes with Yeezy these days. Not that I have a problem with that, of course. It’s just that sometimes I like to kick it old school. Maybe you will, too.
Nearly there! We skipped a week, so the top 10 will be up on Friday. An announcement is coming on Monday, as well. So watch out for that. In the meantime: Some more of the year’s best videos!
15. Alison Wonderland featuring Fishing – Get Ready
Directed by Aidan Keogh
Never work with children or animals. It’s a golden rule. Unless, of course, we’re talking corpse-painted children with outstanding rap skills. And party animals. In those instances, the green light is flashing very, very brightly. Alison made a hell of an impression with her first-ever video and single, matching the two together perfectly. One of the year’s best efforts, nation or genre regardless. It’s a celebration, bitches!
Read my original post on Get Ready here.
14. The Uncluded – Delicate Cycle
Directed by Pete Lee and Ben Fee
Few acts showed as unwavering a love of music videos in 2013 as The Uncluded – aka Kimya Dawson and Aesop Rock – managed to. Releasing videos for a solid chunk of their debut album, Hokey Fright, they went from fish psychiatrists to animated Frankenstein monsters. Their best, however, came in the form of an exultantly joyful, mutli-storyline video that celebrated the weirdness that comes with every day life. For fans of two-legged dogs, one-legged lunch ladies and big-hearted music.
Read my original post on Delicate Cycle here.
13. Action Bronson – Strictly 4 My Jeeps
Directed by Jason Goldwatch
Action Bronson is the coolest uncool kid in the hip-hop world. He’s the size of a fridge and raps mostly about food and wrestling. Naturally, his relative outsider’s stance has drawn a lot of people to him. Watching the Strictly 4 My Jeeps video will show you exactly why: He laughs in the face of what is trendy, fashionable or even conventionally attractive. He does things his way, whether it’s getting a dance from an obese woman in a gold bikini or messing around with the enigma that is Riff Raff. It’s refreshing, it’s silly and it’s entertaining as fuck. Shrimp money, bitch!
12. Kirin J Callinan – Victoria M
Directed by Kirin J Callinan and Scott Kiernan
Ignoring Way II War at the time of its release was one of the biggest mistakes I’ve ever made in the history of Y,WGAV! I’ve gone on record by saying I fucked up, so I made sure to keep an eye on Kirin J Callinan from there on out. I – and everyone else, of course – was rewarded by this delightful homage to classic soap operas; where even the most minute of characters had to express who they were in a matter of seconds for the opening credits. Callinan takes on all of them with his typical campness and eccentricity, and it’s nothing short of delightful. This guy matters.
Read my original post on Victoria M here.
11. Super Best Friends – Round and Round
Directed by Matt Roberts
2013 was the year that Australian politics became the laughing stock of the world, thanks in no small part to The Daily Show throwing attention down our way. The in-fighting, the backwards policies, the homophobia, the fuck-up that was our election… it was a rough fucking year, let’s call a spade a spade. Even so, for a couple of glorious minutes in the second half that just didn’t matter. Politicians from both sides of the fence took a few seconds to appear in a music video – a funny, clever one; too. For that brief, glimmering moment, it felt like maybe music was the language of us all. Maybe we should worry less about boat-stopping and shark-culling; and start worrying more about Super Best Friends. It’s just a thought.
Read my original post on Round and Round here.
But wait! There’s more!
Oliver Clark – Atomic Thrust
He’s the man with the sexiest voice in comedy and suits that could make Paul F. Tompkins look like a hobo. Yes indeed, the housewives’ choice Oliver Clark is one for the ages. For the title track of his new album, he decided to put his pelvis to the test; subsequently delivering one of the flat-out funniest videos of the year.
Blood Orange – Chamakay
In which Devonte Hynes goes home. Well, in a traditional sense, anyway. Visiting Guyana for the first time ever, Dev makes his way around the beautiful area and connects with the townsfolk. Parallels can easily be drawn with frequent collaborator Solange‘s wonderful video for Losing You, but not even that can match the tender beauty of seeing Hynes meet and speak with his grandfather for the first time ever. Stunning.
They Might Be Giants – You’re on Fire
They’ve been getting weird since before you were born and they show absolutely zero signs of slowing their roll. Here, they give a spin to the opening track on their sixteenth(!) album, allowing some mince meat to take lead vocals while the gorgeous Lauren Lapkus from Orange is the New Black dances around the kitchen preparing to send it to its impending doom. Because of COURSE that’s what they would come up with.
Miley Cyrus – Wrecking Ball
A lot of people have asked me about this one. Where do I stand? What do I make of it? Now, I’ll be the first to admit it needed an editor, and maybe some restraint on the more… shall we say… ‘out there’ moments. When she’s staring straight down the barrel of the camera, though? I simply cannot deny it. It’s gripping, and it’s honest, and it’s the most real that we’ve ever seen the girl born Destiny Hope Cyrus.
Arcade Fire – Reflektor
What an exciting time to be an AF fan. As the band bravely venture into what may be their weirdest album to date, we’re treated to what may be their weirdest video to date for the album’s title track. Late-night roadtrippin’, mirror suits, giant paper-mache heads, tricked-out caskets… I mean, I’ll be damned if I know what it all means at this point. It looks pretty amazing, though; don’t you agree? What a thrilling video.
Fall Out Boy feat. Big Sean – The Mighty Fall
The saga continues. This year, Fall Out Boy have been releasing music videos for every song from their Save Rock & Roll LP; following a conceptual story about the four members and a secret briefcase which has contents only they (and the villains of the series) know about. There’s been aspects of Stockholm syndrome and Clockwork Orange-esque ultra-violence thus far, and the madness continues here with some all-new characters. Kudos for keeping them guessing, boys.
The Polyphonic Spree – Let Them Be
Following on from the parallel universe of the You Don’t Know Me video, the Spree get animated on the second video from their excellent Yes, It’s True. album. Director Ben Rowe takes the song into a lush dreamscape, enlisting the help of dozens of creepy-crawlies, frogs, aliens and what appears to be an avocado. No, really, it’ll all make sense once you’ve seen it. Well, okay, I won’t make any promises…
Moby feat. Wayne Coyne – The Perfect Life
Oh, come on! It’s Moby and Wayne Coyne in mariachi suits. What joy! What pure, unadulterated awesome have we found ourselves with? If you don’t get a smile out of this one, your heart is dead as dead can be. That’s all that can be said!
Hiya, folks! So, you may have notice we’ve been a little lax on the updates. I’ve been ridiculously busy with other projects that I’ve barely had time for Y,WGAV! Don’t worry, honey, it’s not you – it’s me! Thankfully, we’re back as of tomorrow. But, before we tell you THOSE stories, we have to tell you THESE stories. Here are some of the best videos that have dropped in our absence. And there might be a few more yet to come!
Major Lazer feat. Peaches & Timberlee – Scare Me
Awaken the Major! Following on from their fantastic Eric Wareheim-helmed video for Bubble Butt, the futurista warriors bring their mascot to life in potentially the most awesome way possible – that’s right, kids, this is not a drill. That’s Terry Crews as the Major himself! Hell yeah! Throw in the wonderful Blake Anderson and Nick Kroll to round out an already-awesome cast; matching the high-speed romp to an already-bounding track.
Anika – In the City
Okay, so I know absolutely nothing about this band; where they’ve come from, what they’re doing or even if this is from an album or an EP. Truth be told, I can’t even remember how I was linked to this. All I know is that this is one of the most ridiculously watchable videos of the year. Couldn’t tell you what was going on for the life of me – essentially, I’m like Donkey after watching the DuLoc tourism puppet show in the first Shrek movie. “Wow… let’s do that again!”
Just Blaze and Baauer feat. Jay-Z – Higher
Here’s one out of left-field – an absolute banger from the power trio of Just Blaze, Jay-Z and the one-shake wonder himself, Baauer; set to one of the year’s darkest and most confronting videos. Described as a “short film,” we’re taken into the jungle and into a dangerous, sinister underbelly in which children begin playing with fire; not realising how burnt they will soon become. Pristine cinematography and some genuinely chilling moments. Stellar.
Josh Pyke – Warm in Winter
The reliably-lovely Pykey has given us some very sweet videos over the years, particularly from his second studio album Chimney’s Afire which sported the distant dreaming of The Summer and the motherfuckin’ guitar boat of Make You Happy. Here, JP soundtracks a blossoming friendship between a homeless girl and a homeless… wolfman? It’s got a human body and a cartoon wolf head. You do the maths on that one. They don’t say a word between them, but the way it plays out says it all.
Avril Lavigne – Rock & Roll
Damn you to Hell, Chris Marrs Piliero! This guys has to be the best pop video director around – he’s managed to not only elevate average songs into flat-out awesome ones with his clips (see: Britney Spears‘ I Wanna Go); but he also manages to make clips that make allies out of former Y,WGAV! enemies (see: Ke$ha‘s brilliant video for Blow). This time around, he’s giving the treatment to longtime frenemy of the blog Avril Lavigne, throwing her into a Tank Girl-esque action parody that borrows from MCR, GnR and plenty of other three-letter acronyms. Like RnR! Heh? See what I did there?
TV on the Radio – Million Miles
Here’s a blissful and serene clip from one of my all-time favourite bands, getting back to nature in the most endorphin-releasing sort of way. A gardening show filming goes awry, leaving one of the hosts to go Kanye on the whole thing as they go off-script and head to the soapbox. When the host is removed, she decides to bring the entire crew along with her for the ride. Weird and wonderful, the exact kind of concoction that has made this band one of my most beloved over the past few years or so.
Crayon Pop – Bar Bar Bar
This. Shit. RULES.
More later today!
“Live your life, VHS cassette, fast forward, back to the future…”
I remember meeting Alison Wonderland at the fourth birthday party of Sosueme, perhaps one of my only tolerated club nights in Sydney. She was polite and sweet; and I actually didn’t find out she was actually a DJ until later in the conversation. “Oh, right, cool,” I responded. “That sounds like fun.” Little was I to know exactly how much fun – her set with the rest of the Sosueme crew just as the clock hit midnight was a world of high-energy excitement and bombast. It was unpretentious and entertaining, which is more than I can say about a slew of other deck-spinning douches in the city.
Anyway, this year Ms. Wonderland has made the move into original music, and her debut single features a collaboration with my boys in Fishing busting out their rap dude personas. Now, I’ll be honest – as much as I dug the song, I wasn’t sure the video would be much chop. Nothing personal, it’s just that DJs… well… they’re not great with the music videos, are they. Let’s not forget the first-ever negative review we gave of a clip on this blog was a David Guetta video. And have you seen the Pauly D video for Night of My Life lately? Don’t. Of course, this isn’t to compare Alison to either of those guys – like I said, she’s different. One might even say, One of Us. So with equal amounts of relief and pleasure, the video for Get Ready ended up fucking ruling.
Like, seriously – Alison, Doug and Russell have gone above and beyond the call of duty here. Watching a crew of delinquent teenage zombies busting mad rhymes into a fisheye lens already screams “fucking awesome” on paper. The word ‘awesome’ being underlined several times. Watching the whole thing executed, however, leaves one at a loss for words at points. It’s just so much fun to watch – the lip-syncing is seamless, the little breakdancing dude left my jaw on the floor and the varying hijinks that unfurl throughout the second half cemented the shit-eating grin on my face. They couldn’t have made a better clip for this track, and I can’t wait to see what comes next. For Alison, for the rap dudes of Fishing, for the breakdancing zombies… the whole shebang. They’ve started something beautiful here, friends.
“It’s the beat that my heart skips when I’m with you…”
So, after years of neither one of them visiting Australia, both Knowles sisters are coming to Australia. This is good. This is very, very good. Solange, who kicked a lot of arse last year with her gorgeous video for Losin’ You, will be here in December for Falls Festival. Roughly a month and change beforehand, though, we’re getting an arena tour from the one and only Beyonce. This is my first time seeing Queen B in action, and I am expecting something that’s nothing short of exhilarating. I cannot wait to see what she comes up with for a big show like this one.
I wasn’t always such a gushing queer over Bee, y’know. Back when I was a mad alternative triple j we love music kid, I was never allowed to like Beyonce. That was for GIRLS. EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW. That was, of course, before this ditty came around. Sure, I didn’t appreciate it at first – girl germs, rnb “not reel music” etc. But it was probably around 2007 that I snapped and realised I was holding back my enjoyment of this superwoman and her music for no real reason at all. So, I stopped being a fuckhead and immersed myself in all things Beyonce.
This video, in particular, has stood the test of time for me as one of the definitive moments in her career – not only voted as the greatest song of the 2000s, but a glistening and all-out video that made everything else stop dead in its tracks. Even though Wikipedia itself admitted that “the video is essentially plotless,” you have to ask yourself: Who’s watching Beyonce videos for the PLOT? There are insane chunks of choreography! Fast cars! Jay-Z just being a flat out dude! I can’t begin to imagine what it would be like to live in a world where this isn’t awesome. I don’t want to be there anymore. I’m in a safe – and far, far better – place now. Now, SHAKE!
“Five chicks to one, ain’t no time for respect…”
This video came out about six months after I started my blog. To this day, I have absolutely no idea why it’s taken me this long to get around to it. It’s one of the all-time great bad videos, a nasty cultural cringe that has aged horribly (which, considering it’s not even three years old, is saying something). We don’t even know that much about the guy in question – Deane “Deanzy” Wyldman has not been heard of from or since, despite attempts to break into the mainstream both here and in the States with this video. This one didn’t even reach six figures in clip views, and today we’re here to explain why.
Our adventure begins with Deane being woken up by a Skype call… that goes directly to his TV for some reason. “We’re going out!” says the blonde ditz. Wait, isn’t it the morning? Has Deanzy slept until the afternoon? We have no clue where we are or why they’re planning to go out so early. “Where are we going?” asks our hero. “Gold Coast, baby,” she responds. Now, wait just a second – aren’t they already ON the Gold Coast? Isn’t that where this guy supposedly lives? Where else would they be going out? Tamworth? It’s worth pointing out that this complex in my brain has started even before the song has properly started. Naturally, it can only get better from this point.
As we move into the verses, there’s a guy I want you to look out for. It’s the guy with the spiky blonde hair – you’ll be able to recognise him pretty easily, as he’s a good twentysomething years older than everyone around him. I can’t tell if they’re trying to pass him off as a bodyguard (which is EXACTLY what you need when you’ve got eighty thousand views on YouTube) or if he’s supposed to be one of their mates. He isn’t very convincing as either, and comes across roughly as awkward as the other dancing friend in the Friday video. You know the one.
From there, we get some joyless shots of Deane and the crew flying in a helicopter. Seconds later, it’s suddenly night time and we’re all up in the club. Yes, it is exactly as uncomfortable as you would expect. Cheap choreography, girls that look dead in the eyes dancing away and, in perhaps the most laughable moment of the whole thing, Deanzy dropping a stack of clearly fake cash to pay for all the drinks he and the girls are doing to be downing. Get fucked, stud – that isn’t even your goddamn house that you walked out of! Don’t give me that shit!
So: Is it wrong to invest so much into something that clearly had no thought process? Maybe a little. All I can tell you is that I am so very, very glad that this exists. No, truly! It’s one of the absolute great bad clips that this country has ever produced, up there with Warrick Capper‘s and the immortal Tamara Jaber trilogy we featured some time ago. It shows you how literally everything can go wrong, and how gloriously hilarious the results can be. I leave you with this, a real quote from the video’s comment section:
“oi bro dis is sik as ay da chix r way hot n da corous is heaps cachy. Gettin a mad pitbull vibe good stuff man keep it up. GC reperzent!”
That’s completely unedited, too. Party on.
“Treasure hunting, just before they show you where the Devil is…”
Dammit, if we have to include the entire album of The Uncluded, then we will. The collaboration between Aesop Rock and Kimya Dawson is no stranger to this blog, as with this video we will have now featured them a grand total of five times. That’s insane. What’s even more insane, though, is that they are five from five in terms of flat-out awesome videos. That honestly does not happen in this proximity, their productivity has been nothing short of ridiculous since Hokey Fright came out. It’s almost enough to tide me over until their return to Australia. Hey, I said almost.
Anyway, for this adventure we find the band tackling a very sensitive issue with sweetness and heart – plus some pretty awesome animation. Aesop and Kimya play insects that, much like the song suggests, end up needing some “pieces” themselves. It’s all very odd and a little dark, but surely it’s par for the course at this stage when it comes to these two. The animation style is simple and creative, the story tugs at the heart-strings and it’s all handled really well, able to connect to audiences of all ages. May this project be in an endless, delicate cycle.