A truly great music video not only has to pull everything off on the technical/production side of things, but it also needs to be able to convey the artist’s personality. The thematic message of the song and the vibe it creates are important aspects to highlight, but above all, the video has to be able to capture the true essence of the musician. This week’s videos are vastly different in execution, but they all paint a vivid picture of the artist in their element – their persona, aura, and charisma are all portrayed vibrantly and honestly. Watch them all below:
Hatchie: “Sugar & Spice”
The clip for Australian dreamgaze musician Hatchie’s song “Sugar & Spice” is part lyric video, part charming low-budget visual feast. Using art design that looks like cut-outs in a teenager’s scrapbook, the video chugs along with stop-motion animated editing. Hatchie sweetly jams out the tune as swirling designs, symbols, and even cut-out mouths flicker about, while the bright and romantic lyrics flash across the screen in soaring, cinematic ways. Hatchie’s music is full of unabashed joy and yearning, and this video is colorful in a way that captures the wide-eyed innocence of her personality.
Lil West: “bit my tongue now my mouth is bleeding”/”Marry Me”
Rising Delaware rapper Lil West is one of the most daring up-and-comers in the game. The companion videos for his singles “bit my tongue now my mouth is bleeding” and “Marry Me” are as raw and unsettling as the man himself. Behind staticky industrial trap beats, the first half conjures unnerving imagery: a woman seemingly gets hit by a car while she and West are biking, and then West wanders around desolate landscapes, acquiring cuts and bruises along the way. The second half is dark and visceral, as West raps in a warehouse while flickering screens and lights yield a trippy, psychedelic aura. West is a wild and experimental dude, prone to pushing boundaries. Ultimately, this video captures that in the most carnal of ways.
Mourn: “Barcelona City Tour”
Spanish post-punk band Mourn are basically veterans at this point, but in reality, they’re still bratty teenagers. Their video for the dancy stomp-clap fight song “Barcelona City Tour” is quite literally a tour of their hometown. Directed by the band themselves and shot handheld, the video takes them through the streets, parks, bus stops, and shops of Barcelona, intercut with coordinated head bobs and the band shouting the lyrics at the camera with gleeful abandon. Eventually, they take us to a DIY punk show where the concertgoers mosh, drink, smoke, and make out with each other in a chaotic free-for-all. The entire video is a showcase of the band members’ rebellious, sardonic, sarcastic personalities. It’s totally fun, and totally punk rock.
Now, Now: “AZ”
Emo greats Now, Now have brilliantly pivoted into dream-pop territory with their upcoming album Saved, and the video for earworm “AZ” is a staggering illustration of melancholy and nostalgia. Singer Cacie Dalager is wrapped in deep red, pink, and green hues, but mostly it’s the rippling textures that do the most to convey the song’s emotional layers. Ridged glass pains, shutters, and ribbed lighting effects form a recurring motif of emotional fluidity and density. Now, Now is a band that tackles and untangles complex feelings and thoughts. Not only is this music video visually stunning, but it cuts to the core of their heartfelt, poignant identity.
Okay, where to start? Everything about SOPHIE makes my head spin. Her frenetic music, her enigmatic image, her snarling critiques on consumer culture that border on performance art…It’s all designed to be very in-your-face and biting. And it’s why SOPHIE is amazing. SOPHIE is unique. SOPHIE is a bad bitch. SOPHIE is a lot. And the video for the scatterbrained, schizoid tune “Faceshopping” features a wax-looking doll of SOPHIE’s face rapidly melting and warping to the piercing, punishing, pummeling SOPHIE beats. There’s a lot of tongue-in-cheek critiques on vapidness and capitalism to untangle here. But mostly, it’s a bunch of words and images flying at you even faster than the music. It’s disorienting, dizzying, and seizure-inducing. It is SOPHIE.
worlds greatest dad: “laughing (while you’re smiling)”
One of the defining characteristics of worlds greatest dad’s music is the focus on self-care and recovery. That message rings true in their tearjerker of a music video for “laughing (while you’re smiling).” Two women meet at a park while walking their dogs and fall head-over-heals for each other. But the relationship – symbolically marked by their stitched-together clothing – slowly and literally falls apart at the seems in rough-and-tumble ways. However, their break-up and time apart provides needed emotional clarity before they do eventually reunite in heart-churning fashion. It’s one of the most beautiful depictions of romance that I’ve ever seen in a music video. And most importantly, it underscores a vital aspect of the band’s persona: self-care is #1.