Guess who’s back, back again. Mid-Week Music Video Reviews Round-Up’s back, tell a friend. Or not. Either way you should go ahead and put aside a half hour or so to enjoy this latest batch of music videos from some of the best Asian-American artists. Our VOTW pick goes to a rather ambitious project by Twenty88, the new duo comprised of Jhene Aiko and Big Sean, so we recommend you start from there – lthough just a warning, it’s not completely SFW.
[VOTW] Twenty88 (Jhene Aiko x Big Sean) – “Out of Love”
Jhene and Big have so much chemistry on record and screen that I’m surprised it took so long to come to this. The content is a bit explicit but has a compelling narrative wrapped in a retro/retro-futurism aesthetic. So while this is more of a short film than it is a music video, it works great as a sampler to their recently self-titled EP. I love how they used the breadth of their young catalog to span the course of the story. Who needs multiple music videos for multiple singles when you can just knock it out in one go?
Steve Aoki x Felix Jaehn x Adam Lambert – “Can’t Go Home”
As much as I kinda dug the sci-fi spin to a lot of Aoki’s video, having something a little goofier and more relaxing is a refreshing change of pace. That monkey is a better actor than many I’ve seen before…. Anyway, it’s an enjoyable watch and listen and has a silly charm to it.
Far East Movement x Swanky Tunes – “Entertain Us”
It’s just come to my attention that what we need more of in music videos is ninjas. OK, maybe the choreo wasn’t mind-blowing, but it was satisfying enough to make for an immersive viewing. Hearing FM’s vocals has becoming an increasing rarity, but they are present in this track and as much as I miss their more Hip-Hop driven days, I’m finding it hard not to like this release.
Yuna x Usher – “Crush”
Yuna’s most recent singles have been on point! While the last one had a more Hip-Hop feel courtesy of DJ Premier’s production, this track with Usher has such a smooth and sexy vibe, it’s almost like a lighter version of Jhene. Her versatility as an artist is impressive and an unexpected shift from her indie-pop roots. I’m not entirely appreciative of the square aspect ratio but otherwise I’m liking every other aspect of this one.
Pryde – “Aggressive”
DeLoreans, undercuts, grainy video – what year is it? It’s just a kick to see how cyclical pop culture and fashion are. Anyway, this is one of the cases where I’m liking the song more than the video. The track lives up to it’s name, with a foreboding instrumental layered with tenacious raps, but the visual is a bit uneven and scattershot, looking like a collection of random concept storyboard scenes rather than a single cohesive project.
Susie Suh – “Here With Me (Two Worlds)”
Coming a cross new material from Susie Suh is a rarity so I was excited to see she had a new music video out (even if the single is over a year old). OK, so song wise we get an ethereal, almost hypnotic delivery of airy vocals and a gently crescendoing instrumental… but video wise we are given a more abstract, artistic visual interpretation that I’m not sure how to parse. Maybe this turned out exactly how they envisioned it, maybe it’s a result of a probably limited budget, but either way the direction and meaning are lost on me. It’s a great listen though, so don’t pass that up.
TOKiMONSTA x Jonny Pierce – “Giving Up”
So, imagine if Stanley Kubrick directed a cyberpunk science fiction film like the Matrix or Bladerunner, only it was set in the not too distant future in Southern California AND it was all set to a mid-tempo electronic music score. That’s the best way I can describe this presentation. Does it work? Not perfectly but it does well enough most of the time. I can appreciate that they took artistic and directional risks.
Latyrx (Lyrics Born x Lateef) – “Lady Don’t Tek No”
A music video shoot of a music video shoot is so meta it’s like watching a behind the scenes featurette of a documentary. The lighting and camera viewfinder gig makes for some cool style points though it wears just a bit thin by the end of 5 and a quarter minutes. Musically, we’re presented with the trademark funk and Hip-Hop blend that Lyrics Born is known for, so there are no surprises there. But regardless, it’s a head nodder and has a nearly infectious bass line.