[Five Deadly Everythings]

Music Video (Tuesday)

Posted in hip-hop, music, music videos, video clip by Jef on May 19, 2009

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That’s right, Music Video Monday Tuesday. What? The blog doesn’t pay but I get stat holidays off.

Artist: Cage
Track: “I Never Knew You”
Director: Shia LaBeouf

It’s simple: A kid with a cloud over his head stalks a sunshine girl and steals her light. The end is ambiguous and the lyrics don’t help — is the girl losing her light a rape metaphor? Or merely that Cage’s suffocating dysfunctionalities have the effect of destroying what made him fall for her in the first place? Despite coming close to corny in some aspects, overall LaBeouf gives a nice off-kilter treatment to an already intense track by Cage. I’m not sure I entirely get the literally story (is the kid Cage at a younger age?), but I like that Cage and the kid are trapped in what works like a sci-fi time-trap, where we end at the beginning, but the loop is thematic not diegetic.

I think it’s great. LaBeouf and his team pull off the effects without going overboard. The only off-key element is Cage’s performance, which is a little too self-aware about acting obsessed. But dude has much more presence here than he usually does so props to that. Is it because he’s off the drugs, or because his friendship with the director puts him at ease?

 

Artist: Mos Def
Track: “Casa Bey”
Directors: Coodie and Chike

Can’t really say much about a simple video like this — you either dig it or you don’t. Mos’s mouth spits morse code symbols and letters at us in close-up. It’s a cool concept executed well enough. But I think it will either get tedious half-way through, or, if you dug it through the whole song, you have to ask yourself if you’ll ever want to watch it again. For me, I keep picturing the letters smelling like stank breath and then I want to close the browser window and open a real one.

 

Artist: K’Naan
Track: “T.I.A.”
Director: Nabil Elderkin

This video is crazy good and works with the song perfectly. It makes you want to dance, it makes you want to celebrate, it makes you want to riot and body somebody. It’s brimming with African imagery and revolution aesthetics, and the dominating mirror-image effect is a fine nod to the continent’s favourite special effect. M.I.A. probably wants to sleep with this video.

The defining moment comes at 1:09 when a row of K’Naans gives way to the face of a lion who turns and gives you a colder stare than any gangster rapper could ever dream to give. What a perfect image to illustrate K’Naan’s lyrics.

 

 
Artist: Phoenix
Track: “1901”
Director: Bogstandard (Dylan Byrne & Ben Strebel)

Another simple concept you can’t say much about. Bogstandard takes simple lighting effects to new, ridiculously intricate levels and the end result is a fantastic video full of motion and flair. It’s a lo-fi in-camera affair that likely looks great in stills — I’m just upset I can’t find the higher quality version of this that I initially watched last week.

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