15. Lykke Li “No Rest For The Wicked”
Lykke Li’s musical tale of having broken a man’s heart repeatedly takes a darker turn in the music video for “No Rest For The Wicked”. As if having someone you love tell you it’s over isn’t bad enough, the journeying laborer in this video deals with more than just an achy breaky heart. The turn comes in the fact that the all white town can’t handle an interracial relationship. The result is Lykke choosing heartache over hatred. While she packs her bags solemnly accepting her difficult choice, her now ex gets to be chased in the woods, caught, beaten, and left to the elements. It’s the kind of thing that would leave you feeling as though you deserve better. His gaze onto the waves as he’s ferried away shows the ebb and flow of what was, what is, what could have been, and what will be. When he’s accepted for the good man he is, then he’ll find peace and comfort.
14. Flying Lotus featuring Kendrick Lamar “Never Catch Me”
In light of all the attention being put on young black men who are killed by police officers we are forced to look at the fact that good or bad, everyone is loved by somebody. Losing a child has to be one of the most difficult things you can live through. Unfortunately, parents of black children don’t tragically lose their children to police violence alone, but they also lose them to criminal violence and accidents as well. Flying Lotus’s video for “Never Catch Me” featuring Kendrick Lamar centers around a funeral for what look to be a young pair of siblings. The family sits in mourning in church where both open caskets are presented. Suddenly the two small children sit up in the coffins, leap out, and start dancing. They playfully chase each other this way down the aisle, outside, and finally into a hearse that drives away. They’re acting as everyone would prefer they did as opposed to being dead, but no one sees them. It’s as though they don’t exist. We’re almost in 2015 and the truth is there are still people who are treated as less than simply because of the color of their skin. A child is child. A child should be laughing, and playing, and learning, and loving regardless of how they look.
13. Leilani Wolfgramm “Empty”
Leilani Wolfgramm’s down tempo reggae single “Empty” is about being dumped by an abusive boyfriend. The video demonstrates how you don’t have to hit someone to leave them injured. We see Leilani sitting at a table singing with her sad gaze off camera. All the while a man who is never entirely onscreen starts removing things. He starts with the dinnerware, wine and glass. The tables go. Leilani’s jewelry goes. Pictures on the wall go. The table is removed and eventually Leilani is left sitting nude. Her eyes now shift to the camera as you get the feeling she doesn’t even have a body. After investing everything into this other person, she has nothing when he’s gone.
12. Waze & Odyssey featuring R. Kelly “Bump & Grind 2014”
Waze & Odyssey revised R. Kelly’s”Bump n Grind”. The video for “Bump & Grind 2014” takes place at a garage sale. The protagonist of this tale is a nerdy gentleman who comes across a bottle of Bump & Grind. He sprays the fragrance on himself and soon starts to bump and grind as only the best dancers in the world can. He can’t control himself and is chased away for disrupting the sale. This leads to a dance off with a bear mascot, and eventually a date. My only negative note here is that he doesn’t run back and buy the bottle. Maybe all you need is one spritz.
11. Royal Blood “Figure It Out”
Royal Blood’s video for “Figure It Out” reminds me of the 3-D glasses of my youth. Back then one lens was red and the other blue. “Figure It Out” is shot in two filters. One blue, and one red. Depending on which filter is used, the viewer sees things differently. In the blue filter we see a women with bruises and blood on her shirt. The people recognize her and don’t want to get anywhere near her. Looking at a poster it reads to call if you see “this” person. When the filter changes to red, we see they’re looking for the girl. A chase ensues where mall security are trying to apprehend her. As the filters switch we see signs and backgrounds that change. The story takes a twist when she sees a man, goes to him, hugs him, and then stabs him. It is now that another flier reads “Missing” in one filter and shows a picture of the girl in the other filter. Turns out she was kidnapped, escaped, and decided to kill her kidnapper rather than succumb to Stockholm Syndrome. The filters changing really set the visual suspense here. One shot to the other, you see how things are different depending on how you look at them.