Episode 5: [God's Plan Voice] I'm Only Watching Draaaake for Kareeena, I'm Sooorry

Hi everyone! This week I’m playing around with the format of the newsletter a bit – videos first, then some short pieces of video-related news. I’m not going to do analysis essays or write-ups every week, as I’m a full-time freelancer now and I might want to pitch those somewhere :D But if something piques my interest and inspires me to write a few hundred words at the bottom of the newsletter in what little free time I have, I’ll do that.

Also, at the suggestion of a friend, I’m also gonna start doing [gasp] actual YouTube playlists. You can find the playlist for this week here, and I’ll be adding all the classic videos I include here.

This Week’s Best Videos

This week we’ve got new Drake/Karena Evans, new Dave Meyers, Japanese greasers, and scenic LA sadomasochism. I’m also aware that there’s a new Machine Gun Kelly video that features P*t* D*v*ds*n, but that video is curséd. Seek it out in your own time, if you dare.

Drake, “In My Feelings” (dir. Karena Evans)

22-year-old Karena Evans adds another video (her fourth) to Operation Rehabilitate Drake’s Public Image, and it continues to be a rousing success. Except for all this bullshit with Big Freedia having to contact Drake just to be in the video. C’mon, man, you were shooting in New Orleans! You sampled her on the Song of the Summer! Why didn’t you call her up, Aubrey???

Travis Scott, “Stop Trying To Be God” (dir. Dave Meyers)

“Stop trying to be God” is a phrase I’m increasingly compelled to yell directly at Dave Meyers’ face. Here, he does the Ariana “God Is A Woman” schtick but with Travis Scott, right down to the talking animals and CGI’d crowds of worshippers. Personally, I think the song’s way too mellow for what Meyers is trying to accomplish. But I do love how he has no idea how to incorporate James Blake at the end.

Sevdaliza, “SHAHMARAN” (dir. Emmanuel Adjei)

Speaking of biblical imagery, this video from Iranian-Dutch musician Sevdaliza is one of the most powerful I’ve seen all year. I also think the ending is a dig at….Kim and Kanye?? You be the judge of that.

Big Freedia ft. Lizzo, “Karaoke” (dir. Zac Manuel & Chris Haney)

Alright, enough of the big epics – here’s a fun video from Big Freedia and Lizzo, featuring the subtle, lit arts of karaoke and bingo.

5 Seconds of Summer, “Youngblood” (dir. Frank & Ivanna Borin)

Rockabilly greaser subculture is apparently alive and well in Japan, and this video does a much better job at capturing the style, thrill, and humanity of the people involved than a gawky Western trend piece ever could. It fucking rules.

Fwea ft. Slim Diesel, “Ace Hood” (dir. MJ Whitaker)

Someday we’ll have to talk about how VHS tape and chroma key effects are starting to get overplayed in music videos. But today is not that day.

The Sore Losers, “Dark Ride” (director unknown)

Hmmm, on second thought…

Col3trane, “Britney” (dir. Oscar Hudson)

Speaking of deserts, here’s a trippy new video from teenage R&B wonder Col3trane.

Aphex Twin, “T69 Collapse” (dir. Weirdcore) (yes really, Weirdcore)

I feel EXTREMELY overstimulated after watching this video, so fair warning.

Ayo & Teo ft. Lil Yachty, “Ay3” (dir. Motion Family)

The kids are alright, and I really, REALLY want hypebeast facemasks to become a bigger thing once the weather gets cold.

Jordan Raf, “Scales of St. Michael” (dir. Kristoffer Borgli)

Our last video from this week is an artsier, more explicitly BDSM version of Jackass with some nice Southern California touches thrown in – the pink doughnut box, the San Diego County Fair, the Pasadena Arroyo, and Bob’s Big Boy in Burbank, which is an LA institution but which interested Borgli because it’s “where David Lynch used to sit and write.” You can read more of Raf’s and Borgli’s thoughts on the video in this Fader interview. (Another highlight: “It’s truly a sensationalist cluster fuck of my body actually getting destroyed so that I could somehow get on the Instagram explore page, disregarding any respect for myself.”)

Today’s throwback video: Talking Heads, “Once In a Lifetime” (dir. Toni Basil & David Byrne)

We found ourselves in a beautiful house, with a beautiful video, with beautiful effects.

News etc.

  • Bo Mirhosseni – director of, among other things, the critically acclaimed video for Disclosure’s “When A Fire Starts To Burn” and a Virgin Mobile commercial that was nominated at the Cannes Young Director Showcase – has signed on to the UK’s Moxie Pictures. He recently wrapped up Uber’s first ever (!!!) televised commercial campaign, and he’s set to direct his first feature for Warner Bros.

  • Wisconsin punk trio Tenement just released a video that took three years to make, apparently. As the AV Club sharply puts it, the video’s style is “a nostalgia trip for those of us who mail-ordered VHS compilations of indie music videos in the pre-YouTube era, particularly the nauseatingly rapid zooms in and out during the song’s chorus.” It also looks like at least one student film per year in the crop of thesis films at my New England alma mater.

  • Paste Magazine published a thinkpiece on the shortcomings of “woke” music videos. I think you can apply a lot of the points made here to all types of “woke” art, but it’s especially relevant to music videos; the medium’s blurring the boundaries of moving image and social media has made their depictions of black violence uncannily parodic of the amateur footage of real shootings and instances of brutality. (See: “This Is America,” “Close Your Eyes (And Count To Fuck).”)

  • On the subject of wokeness, NBCUniversal has released an “Erase the Hate” campaign video to mark the one-year anniversary of the Charlottesville uprising, featuring Timbaland and…Princess Nokia?? I appreciate the aims of the video, but this is not what I was expecting from Queen of the Tomboys, First of Her Name to throw soup at a racist on the subway.

Please direct all feedback, questions, comments, tips, etc. to ClaireShafferVevo at gmail dot com. And feel free to forward this email, share on social media, and encourage your friends to subscribe. We’ll be back next week with more vids. •