D. VS. P. – THE JUNE EDITION
This month we have Riff Raff / Pomp&Clout’s unlabel-able Ryan Staake in the director’s chair going up with friend the head honcho himself, Colonel Blimp’s Head of Production, Corin Taylor. Check out the six most talked about videos of June below:
Madonna – ‘Bitch I’m Madonna’ directed by Jonas Åkerlund
Ryan Staake: Intense color saturation is BACK, and apparently, so are gratuitous celebrity cameos slapped into an otherwise tightly produced video. I actually really liked this video and the whole one take, insane fashion party vibe, seeing Diplo, Chris Rock, Rita Ora and Alexander Wang cameo in it. The kind of thrusting militaristic asian girl dance moves were incredible too, love the fierceness of that moment. But I really, really didn’t enjoy the weird fade ins to the other celebrities weirdly lit and shot on what looked like an old iPhone—that part felt like a complete afterthought and someone’s bad idea that got out of hand. I also wasn’t a fan of Nicki’s weird greenscreen-billboard performance but totally understand how that might happen during a production with this many celeb cameos.
I actually pitched on this video and also had something involving a shitload of celebrity cameos as well, but in my concept, each one ripped off their face-skin to reveal a new celebrity within. Bitch, I’m Madonna.
Corin Taylor: They have taken the classic ‘walking through a party’ concept and pushed it as hard as they could. The surprise cameos keep coming, and the scale is massive. But it’s completely unoriginal, with various sections nicked straight out of other videos.
Saying that, I found myself hooked when I would have normally turned it off half way through. I know everyone is pretty sick of Madonna right now, but she gives it everything in this video. Couple that with all the weird goings on, and it’s a hard one to turn away from.
GENER8ION + M.I.A. -‘The New International Sound Pt. II’ directed by Inigo Westmeier
Corin Taylor: Gaining access to the biggest fighting school in China is a feat in itself, but then orchestrating those wide shots and getting a really nuanced performance from one of the young fighters is something else.
If there was ever a visual metaphor for ‘being a small cog in a big machine’ this is it. The sheer sense of scale is incredible. And great to hear that no post was used to exaggerate it!
I really enjoyed this one.
Ryan Staake: The world depicted in this video is so unreal and well paired with the track. I also just found out that Genr8ion is a new project from Surkin, who has a long history of putting out quality since he was a teenager. In researching the video a bit more, I found that the entire piece was adapted from a feature length “Dragon Girls” doc also directed by Inigo Westmeier, so that’s cool to see his work finding a home in a feature as well as music videos.
At a time when globalization and the internet are pretty much new religion, world super-powers are jockeying for the role of world leader like the last turns in a game of Civilization 5, and new revelations on international spying between nations are leaked daily, the footage of these girls training in unison, against a track called “The New International Sound Pt. II” feels incredibly poignant. I see it as a rallying cry or call to arms of a new generation ready to come face to face with the west, maybe not in a military combat sense, but something confrontational. David Rudnick’s Genr8ion identity is also a subtle but perfect introduction to the video, communicating the ideas of our new multi-cultural world in a single mark. 5 out of 5 stars, would retweet.
Bromance’s output (visuals and audio) are always next level and interesting, and it’s awesome to see Romain Gavras back in music videos, this time EP-ing.
Art Department – ‘Walls’ directed by Hugo Moreno
Ryan Staake: Great to see more animation in music videos. I really like this kind of tropical sci-fi environment, the colors, the vehicle/architectural design and the simple concept of the protagonist putting his darkness into the world. I really don’t like the character design for that character though, feels amateurish and unrefined in this world. Great flares and grain too, adds a bit of texture to such a slick piece. The liquids are quite well done, luminescent and tasteful too. I want to visit this world in Oculus.
Corin Taylor: While I enjoyed the graphic nature of the compositions, the video, as a whole, didn’t evoke a strong response from me. It feels like a pre-cursor to something bigger. And maybe it is!
But the animation is really well done and you can tell a lot of thought has gone into the execution. Just not my cup of tea.
Kodaline – ‘Ready’ directed by Abteen Bagheri
Corin Taylor: Kodaline’s video for ‘Ready’ focuses on a disabled, former jockeys battle to ride again. It’s a simple, uncomplicated narrative with a very strong lead performance from Christopher Mintz-Plasse.
The biggest compliment I can give this is that I believed every second of it. I was drawn into this jockeys world and wanted to see a positive outcome. I would have liked a few more surprises along the way, but it is a very assured piece of work. Just no freeze frames next time!
Ryan Staake: Adorable, touching and well told story. I love seeing McLovin from Superbad in this. In reading the interview with Abteen, it looks like he and Isaac Bauman have definitely done their research into the world of horse racing and all that comes with it. I love ending on him simply getting on the horse and being on it, instead of showing him riding. Personally, not a fan of the freeze frame ending, as it seems almost too nostalgic and “winky” for an otherwise honest story, but I totally understand his intent with it.
Rudimental – ‘Never Let You Go’ directed by Nez
Ryan Staake: Fitting visual theme for showing the ideas of cultures fighting eachother over surface differences, and the insanity of it all. I love the idea of this colored powder as a surface/temporary facade which we can look below to see the essential humanity in us all. The scope of the video felt very big, I think partially to production design and aerials, I felt like we were taking in an entire parallel earth-planet.
Pretty well done merging of stock footage with footage shot for the video as well (some of the aerials, the missiles launching, etc). Also, were parts of this shot on an Infrared camera? Looks like it potentially, that or they hue-shifted the foliage to magenta. Also, it is really hard to have a guy in blue powder and not think about the Blue Man Group or at least David Cross in Arrested Development.
Corin Taylor: You have to admire the ambition on show here. And Nez comes very close to making a really great video. I just can’t help but feel like it’s a little too big. I would have liked to have seen more focus on the key characters, so we could make a deeper connection with them, and less time spent on the, albeit epic, sweeping landscapes.
But it’s a spectacle, and that should always be applauded.