Sometimes a great music video can take an amazing track to a whole other level. Check out our favourite new video clips released over the past week and see for yourself.
DJ Khaled ft. Rihanna and Bryson Tiller – Wild Thoughts
“Wild Thoughts” is absolutely a Rihanna song despite the song being billed as a DJ Khaled song featuring Rihanna and Bryson Tiller (and a co-write by PARTYNEXTDOOR). Rihanna dominates the video from dancing in the streets and partying in Miami’s Little Haiti to writhing on the hotel room sheets on the hottest and steamiest summer night imaginable all while rocking a series of bohemian inspired looks.
The song samples Santana’s 1999 hit, “Maria Maria” with a mix of funk bass and acoustic guitar as Rihanna and Bryson Tiller trade fantasies. DJ Khaled joins in towards the end of the action to drop his obligatory “another one” as fireworks go off. But what does DJ Khaled actually do? The greatest trick DJ Khaled might have ever pulled off is convincing the world that his skills lay in music rather than curating talent with a side of lifestyle coaching and #parentinggoals. But who cares, when you can get Chance the Rapper, Justin Bieber, Quavo and Lil Wayne on the jubilant hit “I’m the One” and Rihanna in the ultimate ode to street dance parties on sultry summer nights.
The War on Drugs – Holding On
“Holding On” marks the first single off The War on Drugs upcoming album, A Deeper Understanding, which is set for release on August 25th. Directed by Brett Haley, the six-and-a-half-minute video follows a working-class man (played by Frankie Faison who you may remember as police commissioner Ervin Burell on The Wire) on a day around a rural town. He is welcomed warmly by locals, catches up with some old friends, shoots some pool, hitches a ride with a friend (played by War on Drugs frontman Adam Granduciel) and super charmingly learns how to use a Polaroid camera.
The song asks, “When we are talking about the past/ What are we talking about?” and there is something deeply optimistic and heartwarming about the track and the video. Particularly the final shots, which puts everything before it in context and throws a devastating and bittersweet light on the film. Deeply moving is the contrast of Polaroid film which captures the impermanence of a moment in a single snapshot that threatens to become obsolete in the digital age. If you find yourself crying on the bus home or at work, you can blame Krysten Ritter for the concept.
Buddy – World of Wonders
Buddy, the 23-year-old rapper from Compton, can boast of having some impressive friends like Kendrick Lamar, Chance the Rapper and Wiz Khalifa. Yet, it’s the simplicity of riding around Los Angeles in an open jeep with some friends, doing nothing in particular and picking up more mates along the way that make up this classic summertime story. Buddy and Kaytranda (who produced his new EP Ocean & Montana) ride around town, stopping for synchronised dance breaks and impromptu haircuts.
The video celebrates the small wonders of the world: a friend waking you up at 4.30 in the afternoon from your nap/crazy dream session on the couch, a baggy sweater with flowers on it, dancing down perfectly sidewalks with perfectly manicured lawns in the afternoon sun, listening to music through headphones, and introducing your lady friend to your pet chameleon. Even rapping lines to a woman, “I prayed for someone like you all my life like K-Ci and JoJo” and comparing her to Beyoncé, Halle Berry, Naomi Campbell, Rihanna, and Wonder Woman is disarming and sweet. This video guarantees a super fun and chill time.
Arcade Fire – Creature Comfort
Arcade Fire have had a weird decade. Once darlings of the indie rock scene, they have found themselves caught between their former misfit aesthetic and their new ambitions to be the biggest band in contemporary rock including cashing in on electronic sounds for dance floor appeal. The rollout for Creature Comfort off their new album, Everything Now, out later this week, has been predictably messy. After sharing a fictitious ad for Creature Comfort Cereal and hiding cereal boxes around Dublin for fans to find, they finally dropped the video for Creature Comfort.
The New Wave track finds Arcade Fire addressing the same ideas of materialism and cultural ennui that have been a long-standing preoccupation, as Butler and Chassagne sing of the cultural pressures that lead people to hate themselves, “Creature comfort, make it painless”, “We’re the bones under your feet/ The white lie of American prosperity”. Wearing snazzy silver outfits, they also drop an anti-suicide PSA. The flashing strobe lights and the camera’s stationary hip-height position for the duration of the video with faux-cheerful chanting in the background with a text crawl of lyrics all hint at a sense of urgency but miss the mark.
Selena Gomez – Bad Liar
Let be absolutely clear, “Bad Liar” is a tune. Full of fizz and joy, the all-rhythm track samples Tina Weymouth bass line from Talking Heads’ Psycho Killer for a song about not being able to get that one person out of your head. Gomez’ vocal delivery is at once restrained and flirty, with a sensual howl on the bridge to cut the tension. Also, lines like “But just like the Battle of Troy/ there’s nothing subtle here” and “If you want you can rent that place/ Call me an amenity/ Even if it’s in my dreams” put the song firmly in the weird territory, though we are not here for Gomez calling herself an amenity.
But the video is a missed opportunity. While we salute Gomez for living out her 1970’s kitsch dreams, the pace of the video seems entirely mismatched to the song. Directed by Lemonheads co-founder and TV director, Jess Peretz, Selena takes on multiple roles, playing the following: an angsty teen, the teen’s mother, the teen’s father, the hot female gym teacher. Did we also mention that the dad is cheating on the mom with said hot gym teacher, who the teen also has a huge crush on? Whew, that’s a lot for one person to portray, though it probably isn’t too much a stretch to play having a crush on a fantasy version of yourself. Though, tbh we have no idea if Gomez did a good job because we were way too distracted by the wigs. The highlight? The hottie gym teacher who goes full Farrah Fawcett.