The Mid-Week Music Video Reviews Round-Up – 2/17/16 – Charlie Kim, P. Keys, Jackie Chain, Heesun, Thao & the Get Down Stay Down, Andrew Huang, Pryde, Lions Ambiton, Jae Jin, Liane V, Laura Mam, 28K

Last week, we skipped the weekly MV review round-up post because there was only two videos in our queue at that time. We had no idea we’d have nearly a dozen more to watch in just a few days time! But the more the merrier, and this one certainly runs the gamut in terms of sound, style, and quality. As per usual, I’ve included my two cents with each video, which you’re more than welcome to agree with in solidarity or object in utter disagreement. Also, we’ve selected our “coveted” Video of the Week entry, and it goes to a relative newcomer, which you should check out directly below!

[VOTW] Charlie Kim – “Me and My Girl”

This is my first exposure to Charlie’s music and it’s a good first impression. The best way I can sum him up is a man with the looks of Tiger JK, swagger of Lenny Kravitz, and a sound akin to a grittier Gavin DeGraw. It’s a pretty strong recipe for a rock artist, something that is lacking in the Asian-American music scene. The song is catchy and polished, while the video is a sharp watch, if not a bit thematically scattered with an emphasis of style over substance. Overall, I look forward to hearing more from Charlie Kim.

P. Keys – “Love You Anywhere”

This is one of those songs and videos that would fit in perfectly on any Top 40 playlist. If you told me this was originally meant for Jason Derulo, I’d believe you. Now that could be a pro or a con depending on your opinion of today’s Pop/R&B sound but it just goes to show how much of the gap has closed between independent and signed artists. Now, I’m also a big fan of having some type of plot development in a MV, and Paul Kim – excuse me, P.Keys – delivers with this one. The acting may not be completely believable, but it’s a welcome change of pace.

Jackie Chain x Mata – “Mucho”

If there’s one thing that hasn’t changed about Jackie Chain over the years, it’s his dedication to one of his favorite recreational activities. The song and video ain’t for me, not just subject wise but mostly because nothing really stands out on an artistic level. Oh, well except for the fact that Jackie is rapping in a poncho… that’s amazing. What was the last rap video, or music video in general, where the artist rocked a poncho?

HeeSun Lee – “Let Me Talk”

What makes this single strong are HeeSun’s convictions and her tenacity in which she conveys them. Unfortunately, the video fails to do it’s part on the visual front, coming off more like a glorified iMovie/Macbook webcam filter affair. If ever bar was represented via text, this would make a cool lyric video – but it’s not. If there were some more angles this could make for an OK studio session type video – but there aren’t. It’s just kind of caught in an awkward place, in no mans land between different genres of music video. But don’t let that stop you from listening to the track itself, because it’s more than decent.

Thao & the Get Down Stay Down – “Astonished Man”

Oh Thao & co, it’s been too long. I’m not sure what I just watched but I enjoyed every minute of it. The constant pans and zooms give it such an eerie kinetic energy that pairs perfectly with the song. Even the 4th wall type elements are entertaining, something that can be tricky to pull off. I’m really digging the alt-rock sound with touches of psychedelic guitar riffs thrown in for good measure. The new album is slated to drop in March and this is certainly a great method of piquing my interest.

Andrew Huang – “Anywhere”

Is the mumblecore movie genre still going strong in the indie film circuit? Because this song would be a great fit for it. It relishes in it’s own simplistic graces without being overbearing in any way. It’s just a shame the video couldn’t quite do it justice, with the footage being a bit too dark and/or shaky and/or grainy at times. Maybe all of that lends to it’s indie film-esque charms, but I found it more of a distraction than anything else.

Pryde – “Healer”

Prizzy is often at his strongest when he mixes the crooning in with the raps, which he thankfully does with his latest joint. He really seems to have graduated Summa Cum Laude from the music school of Drake, and that certainly ain’t a bad thing. His videos haven’t quite lived up to the songs for quite some time and that trend isn’t broken here, but on a more positive note, it appears he’s reshuffled his release schedule and we will be finally getting a new project in the next month or so.

Lions Ambition – “Unusual”

I’ve always been a sucker for nostalgia, so this video admittedly plays directly to that sentiment. But who hasn’t sat back with their friends and reminisced on the memories of years past, when we had less responsibilities and were discovering out preferences for the first time. The video isn’t ground breaking but does enough to support the song and it’s thematic tone. LA has come a long way in polishing their sound over the past few years and I can only hope their growth continues.

Jae Jin – “Ain’t About Love”

Every singer/songwriter has to have at least one mid-tempo, cute, artsy video in their repertoire, and Jae Jin finally joins the ranks with this entry. The use of stop-motion animation is playful and fun, although this isn’t as strong as works put forth by the likes of Kina Grannis, Clara, and even DFD, but it’s still probably his most charming music video yet. As for the song, it plays to his strengths, crooning acoustic music with a soulful R&B twist. Hopefully he’ll continue to explore different mediums of visuals with his future releases.

Liane V – “Reasons”

Liane V dropped this song over half a year ago, but it’s finally gotten the promotional music video treatment. The tune is an easy listen but it’s instrumentally stripped vibe leaves a perfect opportunity for Liane to really flex her vocal chops, an opportunity that she doesn’t fully take advantage of. As for the video, it’s filled with beautiful people doing beautiful things, but not much really stands out. All in all, we’re left with a perfectly serviceable and pretty but not completely memorable release.

Laura Mam – “We Could Fall in Love”

One thing I love about Laura is that she isn’t afraid to experiment with her sound. She’s crossed styles, genres, languages, and subject matter and has done nearly all of it well. Ms Mam slows it down with this song and it’s a smooth addition to any playlist, either music or video wise. Laura’s voice may not quite have the power to kill it in this one, but her performance is still pleasant and easy on the ears all the way around. I really did enjoy her stint with The Like Me’s, but it wasn’t until she branched off on her own that she’s really beginning to flourish and shine.

28K (Pa$$ x Al P Chino) – “Po It Up”

I really can’t keep up with the alias changes, group re-alignments, and members of the various projects by the fellas of the Yellow Boyz and their affiliates. Over the years, it seems like the guys have lost a lot of their light-hearted energy from their earlier days, which is a shame because that was one of their strongest qualities. This song comes off a bit drab and lethargic, and the video isn’t helping it’s cause either. I can’t hate on the artists for evolving over time, but it seems like there is less for me to appreciate with each release.

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