Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Pharrell Williams - "It Girl" music video

I gave a spin recently to Pharrell Williams' G I R L album after not playing it for a few months. When it got to the final track, "It Girl," the imagery for the recently released video couldn't escape my mind, which is pretty rare for me. I love the language of music videos and all of the life-altering moments that they have brought me, but I think that it is more truer and organic when you can connect with a song and create your own imagery, thus strengthening that thing we are sometimes forced to make weaker as we get older called imagination. I'm not quite sure how I feel about the video for "It Girl," but I can't stop looking at it. It's a digital rainbow amalgamation of anime and 16-bit video games that flirts with overkill, all set to the unlikely sounds of relaxing funk and R&B, but is eye-catching nonetheless (and I'm all for Genki Rockets' "Heavenly Star" being referenced to American viewers). There have been dalliances between mainstream artists and video games before (some examples are Redman's "Da Goodness" and Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Californication"), yet I feel like "It Girl" is one of the first from someone with a high profile to embrace gamer and anime culture in a way that feels authentic and respectful to its core audience (for what it's worth, I consider Junior Senior's "Move Your Feet" the apex of music and video games). After this video and Kanye West's "Good Morning," I would love to see Takashi Murakami (who produced "It Girl," Mr. and Fantasia Utamaro directed) add his distinct style to more videos for hip hop and R&B artists and not just those that are afraid to embrace their inner nerd. The nods to Tecmo cutscenes, blinking credits and extended shots of "gameplay" may only excite a select few, which makes it pretty notable that someone with a hit album on a major label went as hardcore as this video did.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

One Direction - "Steal My Girl"

With school gymnasiums and slumber parties already proven as certified venues for songs of adolescent longing and buoyant dance beats, One Direction has turned a slightly unexpected eye toward the arena with this latest song. It seems like a logical step after their flirtations with power pop on Midnight Memories, but considering where they started, it might be a bit hard to swallow for casual followers. Complete with reverberating drums and classic "na na na na's", "Steal My Girl" is the heavy, anthemic sound of smalltown teenage dreams that existed in a time where getting a car with a cassette player was a rite of passage.