Three Things: 002
I can’t believe it’s been a freaking month since I did the first one of these. Time has no meaning. It’s a flat circle. Blah blah blah.
In fairness to me — to ALL of us — there has been a shit lot going on, most of it pretty fucking bad — so it’s hard to concentrate on these little “silly” things.
But today’s “Three Things” is all about feeling better, if only for a few minutes at a time, so maybe this is actually the perfect time for this post.
I’m not the biggest music video fan. Despite very much being the MTV generation, it just wasn’t a thing I encountered much. When a lot of people were watching music videos I was probably watching Batman The Animated Series. Whatever the reason, I was never just never in love with them like a lot of people I know my age. Sure, there were huge monster hits that got through during my teenage years — that we all knew like the back of our hands — but in general, it just wasn’t my thing.
But as an adult — and perhaps strangely — A LOT during the pandemic — music videos have been a real life saver. I mostly credit my partner Adam with this because he IS (and always was) a music video fiend — and so through him I’ve seen so much really fun new (to me) stuff and also re-visited some of my faves over the years.
Anyway, I’ve culled those music videos I love down to three today that I adore and I feel like could make anyone feel great. I hope you enjoy them:
HEAVY METAL - JUSTICE. DIRECTED BY FILIP NILSSON
I’m a huge JUSTICE fan and while HEAVY METAL may not be my absolute favorite of their songs…this video? THIS VIDEO? I love every fucking inch of it. It’s so badass and effortlessly cool. The amount of talent present — the song, the marching band, the choreography, the execution… it’s just absolute perfection. And it ALWAYS makes me feel better — and frequently supercharged — but in a good/positive way.
I love that this video feels equal parts modern and “today” and ALSO somehow like a badass Flash Gordon sci-fi space opera. It boggles my mind the song hasn’t showed up in an epic sci-fi/superhero film yet. Unless it has and I’ve missed it — I’d be happy to be wrong about that!
But as great as the song is, the video is just next level. Taking fucking marching bands of all things — even ones as clearly badass as this one — and making them SO GODDAMN COOL that it makes your skin prickle is… awesome.
I mean, no offense to marching bands, but they NEVER felt like this to me before, despite their undeniable skill. And for the record the marching band in question here are the pride of Norfolk, Virginia — The Norfolk State University’s Spartan Legion Marching Band. And you can read a bit more about them here and how they actually influenced director Nilsson BEFORE he had the HEAVY METAL gig.
SORRY - JUSTIN BIEBER (PURPOSE: THE MOVEMENT). DIRECTED BY PARRIS GOEBEL
Unlike JUSTICE I don’t consider myself a Bieber fan generally. I probably can’t name more than… um, this one song? But I both love this song and am IN LOVE WITH this video. The direction and choreography by Parris Goebel is nothing short of genius. Full of energy and fun and sexy as hell but not in that male gaze-y way that we’ve all become so inured to in Western media at this point. In my opinion this is simply way more interesting than that.
The dancers — The Ladies of ReQuest & The Royal Family Dance Crews from The Palace Dance Studio, NZ are nothing short of astounding. Full of energy and power. Full of attitude and moves so sharp they feel like they can cut you. The outfits are colorful and weird — and not even really my style — and yet somehow nobody has ever looked flyer than these bitches. Nobody has ever looked more fun. Nobody has ever looked more cool. I want to know every one of them… I want to be them… I want to be with them. It’s VERY POWERFUL IS WHAT I’M SAYING.
And it honestly taps into a kind of sexiness for women that I feel we rarely get to see (at least in US culture). It’s somehow both girly and sporty and sexy and fierce all at once and you just love to see it. It feels like what WOMEN think is sexy, more than what men traditionally think is sexy, and I just don’t see nearly enough of that in my life. So this feels new (even though the video itself was released in 2015) and like something I’d very much like to see more of.
In fact, as crazy as it sounds, I actually think this freaking Bieber video clarified a lot for me in my ongoing question about sexiness and objectification in media. Like anyone, I’m attracted to sexy things, but I also feel myself very tired of the same old thing, weary of being plied with the same old ideas of “what sexy IS,” but this video helped me hone in on the things that define sexy for me — and it’s mostly confidence, and skill/talent.
And while we’re here — props to Bieber for staying out of it. His presence in the video here (though obviously earned) would have upset the entire balance. It would have completely changed the dynamic. It would have stripped all that wild empowerment we feel right out of it. If all these women are there with Bieber… HE seems powerful. But by removing himself completely, it’s THE WOMEN that seem powerful. And that? That’s everything. Kudos, Bieber.
FYI - Goebel herself is also one of the dancers - I believe she’s center in the frame below - in black and white with the big glasses and hat. An incredible talent.
TURN DOWN FOR WHAT - DJ SNAKE, LIL JOHN. DIRECTED BY DANIELS
It was neck and neck between this one and NOBODY SPEAK by DJ Shadow feat. Run The Jewels but especially in light of the January 6th Hearings going on where we’re all seeing a lot more violence in our governing spaces than we’d like, it’s maybe not the right moment for that video.
But THIS video feels perfect for the insanity that is right now. Let’s harness our insane dance power and infect the world, yeah?
One of my favorite things about this video (and it’s true a little bit of all of these actually ) is that it tends to feature a lot more diversity — and not just racial — but physicality, age, class/social, etc. — than I’m used to seeing in videos. And that’s always a nice treat. This incredibly talented cast looks like the people you would genuinely find in a working class high-rise. Some are hanging out, some are having dinner with family, some are throwing a raging party — they come from all walks of life and all ethnicities — all gathered together through the sheer force of badass music that overcomes you with such intensity that your entire physical self is overwhelmed. ALMOST like a virus. But the kind you WANT.
And you just… lose yourself to it.
And doesn’t that sound fucking great right now?
I will definitely be doing a part 2 (many part 2s?) in the future as there are lots of other videos I want to share (TV On The Radio’s WOLF LIKE ME, Chvrches’ CLEAREST BLUE, Phantogram’s WHEN I’M SMALL — SO. MANY. GREAT. VIDEOS.) But for now let’s follow the rules of “Three Things” and leave it at three.
I hope some of you enjoyed these — if only for a few minutes to remind you that life is still also good and fun and full of surprises and sometimes very very cool and weird, despite *gestures at everything* right now.
What are some of your favorite videos that can always turn your mood around? Shout ‘em out in the comments!