05. Requin Chagrin “Adelaide”
Requin Chagrin’s video for “Adelaide” plays off of colors and feels like if turned into a movie it would have a Wes Anderson feel. The video centers around a black teen who is competing in a rhythmic gymnastics competition. His opponents are all white female teens, most of who carry the catty face of a diva who thinks they own this competition. From the start of his performance we see that he is here to win. His athleticism, colorful attire, and complete control of his routine show that he’s on another level. When you see shots of him alone practicing in a white environment while dressed in black you see the contrast of what’s happening. His dance is his element. It’s all their really is. He doesn’t need the colorful noise of the competition to be fulfilled. For him it’s all about the dance. Though the video doesn’t show if he wins or not, it’s obvious that he’s stood out. Some of the females in waiting start to crack smiles. He’s impressed his competitors, though he dances for himself.
04. Mark Ronson featuring Mystikal “Feel Right”
Anyone like myself who had been wondering what happened toMystikal found out when Mark Ronson’s “Feel Right” was released. The shouter more than a rapper featured on the song, and if that wasn’t cool enough they shot a banging video for it. We’re at the Sunnydale Talent Show, where a pair of the private school students are finishing a cello duet. Florence Henderson comes out to introduce the next act Uptown Special. When the little gangsta who just wants to shine comes out, he’s short and unpopular. Striking his starting pose, an annoying little girl from the audience chewing on her bubble gum yells out “Nerd!”. With his backup band raring to go, the young man cuts into the song Mystikal style. Highlights include a glass of milk being brought out for him to drink, as well as him receiving the James Brown treatment. He kneels down, and somebody robes him. In the end you can bet he’s just become the popular kid in this school. He even gets 10’s from Mark Ronson, Mystikal, and Bruno Mars. I’m sending my kids to this school.
03. San Cisco “Magic”
San Cisco’s video for “Magic” takes vampires and adds a new twist to them. Benjamin Goakes stars as an awkward and unusual vampire. He’s a baller, with his mansion that has a private cinema, a Lamborghini, a yacht, and his desire to share a 40 ounce at a picnic. Did I fail to mention his cornrows? He’s also got that vampire magic charisma which helps him to enchant his desired love. Yet, he’s still somewhat of a gentleman. Though he wants to seal the deal with a bite on the neck, he just can’t work up the nerve to do it. He tries the old yawn and stretch routine in his cinema, but nothing. There’s his sneak attempt in the pool. Or his strong desire to chomp some neck while his girl is feeding and petting kangaroos. Even when it finally looks as though he’s done the deed, we learn it’s just the cherry syrup from ice cream cone. It all makes you wonder if she’s actually been turned by the end of the video, or if his special brand of magic simply has her in love.
02. Alt-J “Pusher”
Alt-J have been known to put out some great videos. “Breezeblocks” is a good place to start if you ever want to see for yourself. For “Pusher” the video takes a dark view of the world. It’s set in a recessed soccer pitch around some apartment complexes. There’s a payphone, a parked car, some businessmen standing around, and a box. Another businessman comes over, climbs atop the box, and begins to preach. Religious or not, his message is clear one of pushing an agenda. The other men stand around listening to him on this gloomy day, and the camera pans around in a circle. The most iconic scene for me is when the camera pans around the car showing a dead body in the back seat. No one seems to notice, rather everyone is just standing around listening to the preacher. Late into the night this preacher continues raving until finally at last he snaps his own neck. Raving lunacy, or perhaps he’s onto something. They say the line between genius and insanity is thin.
01.Run the Jewels featuring Zack de la Rocha “Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck)”
Run the Jewels achieved a first here at Surviving the Golden Age in 2014. Their album Run the Jewels 2 was voted album of the year while “Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck)” featuring Zack de la Rocha was the song of the year. 2015 sees the act achieve another milestone by completing a career Triple Crown with their video for “Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck)” being the best of the year. With race relations on edge due to the number of police shootings of black men coupled with the Islamaphobic rhetoric of rich Americans, especially those running for office, hate seems to be so abundant in this country that we’re beginning to export it. The video for “Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck)” opens with a black man sitting on the edge of the bed and breathing heavily. He’s clearly tired, and then we learn why. The story of the video is a white police officer fighting with this black man. The two are battered and bloody out on the street. At this point, they’ve begun to tire. Luckily for the black man, the officer’s gun isn’t in his holster or anywhere near the vicinity. Hell, even his handcuffs become a moot point as he can’t seem to hold onto them strongly enough to use them. This fight turns into a tired wrestling match where at moments it seems more like they’re hugging one another. This goes on into the night when the two are grappling over pepper spray and it goes off blinding both. The black man goes running towards his home where he enters and grabs milk from the refrigerator pouring it over his face to relieve the burn. The officer follows, knocks him over, and grabs the milk to do the same. At this point the video begins to look like a domestic violence scene. The black man runs, the officer gives chase and is slammed into the wall knocking off pictures that fall and their frames break. The officer gets up and starts chasing again. In desperation the black man opens up a closet door to create a barrier, but this is pushed aside. He takes off up the stairs, but the officer grabs his legs. He kicks out sending the officer back into a pile along the wall. At this point they’re breathing heavily and just look at one another. Here, the black man trudges off into the bedroom where he moves over to the far side of the bed and sits down. The officer follows, goes to the near side of the bed, turns his back and also sits down. The two continue sitting there in silence not saying a word. This seems to be the narrative when it comes to these police shootings. It’s one side against the other, and no one wants to listen. It’s just two people fighting and that’s clearly not achieving an end. Assumptions are being made and they need to stop. Not every police officer is going to shoot a black man for just being black. Not every black man who runs from a police officer is trying to kill him. Fear and hatred make you do the wrong thing. Like a couple living together in a house, so we all must live in the same community. If we can’t communicate with one another and improve our relationships, there will never be peace and understanding. If nothing else, value life for what is. Irreplaceable.