It goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway) that a good video doesn’t make a pile of tripe into a heap of caviar, but it does enhance the listening experience.
1) Elbow, Lost Worker Bee
Here we have a journey. A puzzled looking chap in the middle of nowhere picks up a red scarf and in his efforts to reunite it with his Queen Bee, encounters a range of locals going about their business: mountain bikers doing a stunt or two; dog walkers in woods; a majorette having a twizzle and a group of teenage girls doing a dance. There’s a moment of tension in an alleyway when some tough nuts bar the way, but it seems that they too want to do a little turn for the worker bee, the chief nut ending up balanced impressively on one hand. Who could this Queen bee be? In a masterful stroke, it turns out that she is not the sort of woman you’d see in a Victoria’s Secrets catwalk show, but a normal, kind looking lady, the sort the world is built on. Thank you Elbow for promoting the true version of love, not the glossy magazine kind.
2) David Bowie, Blackstar
Moving from a video with a clear story to one open to many interpretations, which I won’t pretend to know the definite version of. Our very own Major Tom returns with the appearance of an astronaut. Mr B himself has bandaged eyes, and the skittery jittery twitchy drum beat is echoed by skittery jittery people twitching about. The Blackstar appears on the cover of a book which David holds aloft, whilst three scarecrows on crucifixes must have some religious connotations. Maybe all will become clear when the album is released in January. It’s proof that being eligible for a bus pass is no barrier to innovation.
3) FKA Twigs, M3LL155X
If a ten minute video isn’t enough for you, here’s a 15 minute one. Kicking off with the sultry and wonderful sound of Figure 8, which features possibly the highest note of the year, we are greeted with the sight of an old harridan. Twigs makes an appearance in a slightly disturbing fashion as a blow up doll, is intermittently pregnant (giving birth in a most unusual way) and shows off her impressive contemporary dancing skills. A lady who pushes her creative imagination to its full potential, she makes some female artists look like mere attention seekers with their gimmicks. This looks like true art.
4) Slaves, Sockets
From the sublime to the ridiculous. This Slaves video is a bit bonkers and a huge amount of fun. A sweaty looking fella with a roving eye in a pokey flat seems transfixed when the punk band infiltrate his telly box. I suspect your average Corgi registered electrician would have a fit if he saw the adaptor plugs getting so recklessly overloaded, but the appliances need another source of power. Look away if you don’t know your eye socket from your plug socket…
5) Foals, Snake Oil
It’s late on a steamy summer’s night. In a small studio an intense looking musician is doing his stuff with an electric guitar, loop pedal and a drum machine. He creates with ease a big belting rock track. It’s simple, but breathtaking.