I’ll be the first to admit that I over-romanticize New York. It may be dirty and rat infested, but can you blame me? It is the birthplace of some of the most amazing art, music, culture, and food in the world. (Exhibit A: the rainbow bagel). It also just so happens to be the birthplace of some of the best music videos that came out this week. Blood Orange, Porches, The Strokes, Cruel Youth, and Rihanna are all New York based artists and all happened to release fantastic videos this week. Anderson .Paak isn’t New York based, but I had to give a nod to LA, as she is my main hoe and she gets very jealous.
Dev Hynes aka Blood Orange just released his third album “Freetown Sound” a few days early along with this self-directed music video for the track “Augustine.” It features Dev playing piano in an empty apartment, dancing on a New York rooftop with a beautiful sunset as the backdrop, and a crew of dancers doing amazing moves throughout the city. This video also has delightful cameos from Aaron Maine from Porches and Julian Casablancas from The Strokes eating Jerk Chicken… Seriously, is every cool musician in New York best friends with each other?
Speaking of Aaron Maine, Porches also just released their third music video from their latest album, Pool. No exaggeration, Porches is my favorite band. Listening to their lyrics and vocal melodies feels like I’m getting my heart ripped out over and over in an enjoyable way. The visual companion to the song features the band doing various deadpan machine-like dance moves, not unlike the ones you’d see performed by the creepy robots at Chuck E. Cheese. In a way, it is the antithesis to the heart-wrenching emotions in the song, which I really like.
The Strokes’ first two albums were an important part in shaping my music tastes in such a formative time in my life. But, I’m not going to lie… I didn’t love any of their albums afterward. When I heard they released an EP this year, I really slept on finding the time to check it out. Once I finally watched the video for “Threat of Joy,” though, I was pleasantly surprised. This song is a lot more stripped down and reminiscent of their early work. Not quite great enough to be Is This It? status, but definitely could be on Room on Fire or First Impressions of Earth at least. The video starts out as the video shoot for “OBLIVIUS,” another song on their EP, but is abruptly cut short by a special agent who steals their footage. Apparently, The Strokes actually were filming a video for that song IRL, but it became too political to release. It then continues to be a performance by the band while agents in pig masks try to steal more footage, and it even ends with a little dance number.
Continuing the New York theme is the video for “Mr. Watson” by Cruel Youth, a new all-girl trio. Teddy Sinclair, one of the co-writers on Rihanna’s “Kiss it Better,” is one of the members of the band and in this video she plays a rhinestone cowgirl having a delirious adventure on Coney Island. The song is about her Oxycontin addiction which began to feel like a secret love affair she was hiding from her husband. People have been comparing her vocals to Amy Winehouse, so if you’re a fan, you should definitely check them out.
Next, we have Rihanna’s music video for “Sledgehammer” off the Star Trek Beyond soundtrack, which comes out next month. It premiered in IMAX theatres which would have been amazing to attend to really experience the amazing visual effects on the big screen. In the video, we get to travel through space to find her as an alien goddess, casting spells on an unknown planet. I get super excited each time Rihanna releases a music video because her outfits and makeup are always out of this world… (Sorry, I couldn’t help it! Don’t kill me.) Seriously, though, I think Rihanna is the only person who can pull off having no eyebrows and face tattoos and still be incredibly gorgeous.
The XXL Freshman cover always sparks debate about the direction that newcomers to the Hip Hop scene are taking the genre. There’s often heated arguments on who actually deserves a spot. This year, the picks range from G Herbo to Lil Uzi Vert. Here, we get to see one my favorite picks, Anderson .Paak, doing some raspy freestyling that definitely shows how deserving he is of his spot.