Sometimes the music is only half the story. Would Michael Jackson’s immortal pop ballad “Thriller” have been the runaway success it was at the dawn of MTV if not for the extended video filled with zombies, werewolves, and Vincent Price? Probably not. Though MTV’s clout has diminished significantly in subsequent decades, artists are still releasing videos at a stunning clip, sharing them on Youtube, Vevo, and pretty much every streaming service out there.
Videos not only offer another side of the person making the music, but also of the music itself, adding in context clues and visual cues that enrich the sonic material. They can also be fun, funny, weird, and shocking. Collected below are some of the most interesting and compelling videos released over the last week.
Jay Rock — “ES Tales”
Far and away the most interesting visual project that dropped this week was the video put together for Jay Rock’s single “ES Tales.” Directed by Jack Begert & Dave Free, the clip follows Rock as he navigates his normal world, except with some components rendered as vintage, 8-bit video game characters.
Iggy Azalea — “Kream”
Iggy Azalea’s latest bid for chart dominance is her new single “Kream,” that features a guest appearance from Tyga, and a sampled cameo from Method Man reciting the refrain from Wu-Tang’s immortal “C.R.E.A.M.” The video itself is a technicolor wonderland of deep blues, and purples, featuring all of the twerking you’ve come to expect from an Iggy Azalea project.
John Prine — “Knockin’ On Your Screen Door”
John Prine is one of the most respected songwriters of all-time. Don’t just take my word for it though. All the evidence you need can be found in his video for “Knockin’ On Your Screen Door,” a clip that finds the guitarist playing with some of the cream of the Nashville crop, including Jason Isbell, Dan Auerbach, Sturgill Simpson, Margo Price and more.
Nicki Minaj — “Bed”
The rollout for Nicki’s upcoming album Queen continues at full clip with the release of the video for her latest single “Bed.” In the video, which also stars Ariana Grande, Nicki appears as a mermaid, stranded on a tropical beach, dreaming about the man she’s ready to leave the ocean floor and take to bed.
Taylor Bennett — “Rock ‘N’ Roll”
Who doesn’t love a good heist? The cops, I guess, but that’s literally it. Taylor Bennett — brother of Chance The Rapper — is keenly aware of this fact, and for the video to his single “Rock ‘N’ Roll,” Bennett pulls off a job in a record store, causing the authorities to give chase, culminating in a thrilling finish.