Pressing Play: The Best and Worst Music Videos of October | gigwise

Music videos are a dying art form. With my childhood ego peaking at the transition from Rorry’s Pop Party to very adult MTV, just about all of my music consumption has gone hand in hand with epic visuals – whether it’s Kelly Rowland texting a sheet of Excel calculation on ‘Dilemma’ or Katy Perry squirting whipped cream on her breasts on ‘California Gurls’.

Either way, I really miss casting this Soulja Boy in my living room with my brother, both eyes glued to that TV screen. Now, with major streaming platforms controlling music consumption, music videos have been put on the back burner and have long awaited a revival in the way we the general public listen to music.

For the scariest month of the year, I’ve gone very mainstream. There was so much to say about these music videos, so without further ado, October’s highlights and lowlights were…

Music for a Sushi Restaurant – Harry Styles

Twitter lost his mind last week when Harry Styles released his music video for Music For A Sushi Restaurant and frankly so did I. After a poor quality video for “Late Night Talking” and a lot of acting criticism for his performance in Don’t Worry Darling, Harry returned to the public eye in the only sensible way – in the form of a heavy Merman of tentacles. Directed by Dawn Perrie, Squiddy Styles serves as food and entertainment for the sushi restaurant, metaphorizing the slimy, exploitative systems of the music industry. GOD I love it when symbolism gets weird. This metaphor is amplified by the two brilliantly cast creepy industry men who lurk around Harry with a weirdness in every scene.

Unfortunately, the entire execution of this video doesn’t live up to its full potential. The scenography of “Gill’s Lounge” is excellent – from the kitchen to the green room to the lively restaurant and the stage. Shot frames are too often a little off, in a way that blurs scenes, makes them appear quite cluttered and paired with the over-editing of transitions, the flow is thrown out the window – which is so frustrating because it’s all there but not polished enough. The viewer’s eye can’t settle at all during the video, which of course fuels a chaotic and disorienting aftertaste, but it blurs the whole thing into a bit of sensory mush. But with a little more consideration, it could have been fancy porridge!! Anyway, add an extra point to this one because Harry looks unreal with a beard. *chef’s kiss* – 8/10

Shirt – SZA

Don’t get me wrong, SZA is one of my favorite artists of all time, but she and the music videos are a very unpredictable combo. His latest released singles have been paired with some cute self-directed hit and miss videos: “Hit Different” (mega hit), “Good Days” (mega miss) – so I was quite intrigued to see how the video ” Shirt” would compare. In association with music video director Dave Meyers (who also created his video for “Drew Barrymore”), the visuals for “Shirt” follow an action-packed Bonnie and Clyde short full of betrayals, pregnant nuns and armed violence. First, Lakeith and SZA side by side is the boiling point of bi-panic.

Apart from that, I found this video quite flat and the story very fine. No offense to Dave Meyers, but I seem to find that more and more with his more recent work, so much budget spent on amazing visual effects to create an otherworldly video game like action scenes but a understated attention to storytelling, with little beyond the surface to read into. The video ends with a one-minute teaser for her upcoming single “Blind,” a pattern she follows at the end of each clip as she slowly feeds SZA super fans new music. Hats off to SZA though, she really appreciates the art form of music videos, whether she always pulls it off or not. – 4/10

I drink wine – Adele

Adele released the music video for her track ‘I’m Drinking Wine’ this month – and true to her word, she spends all seven minutes drinking wine. The visuals follow a 70-pound Adele wearing a Valentino dress over a rubber ring, vibrating and floating downstream. Think yummy mom takes some rubber ratty quicks. The video has timeless vibes as the visuals play up to a simple yet surreal set design with a green river, pink skies and WONDERFUL synchronized swimmers. The addition of Kevin Sampson’s love interest was used a bit in the video and unnecessary, but I know facebook wine moms would have screamed when she pushed him away. You don’t need a man, girl. It floats on the river of life, reminiscent of the flow and lyrical content of the song itself, on a continuous stream of self-discovery and realization. – 7/10

Beautiful (2022 Release) – Christina Aguilera

A notable mention this month was Christina Aguliera’s 20th anniversary music video for her “Beautiful” banger. First of all, a birthday video for epic tracks like this should be coming a lot more often, so I was very excited to see that. The video itself is beautifully shot and scored, but it’s very stoic and slow. She also released the iconic “Don’t Look at Me” at the start of the song which immediately ruined my mood. The original video was so out of its time and actually explored identities that weren’t often shown in media, whereas this new visual pushes no boundaries, especially in 2022. The ending displays a phone with blood dripping from the bottom with a written social media post being bad for your body image and mental health (shock), and a link to her website for information and resources. Of course I went to his website to see this for myself and you have to scroll through a slew of album and product promotions before you get to just THREE links to other support sites Mental Health. Oh okay. 1 point for the beautiful cinematography of the redesign and 0 points for the lack of integrity. – 1/10

Bruddanem / Crack Sandwich – JID

Moving a little less mainstream to JID’s “Bruddanem/Crack Sandwich,” moving to fan favorites from his latest album The Forever Story, all in one visual spectacle.

Cinematography is the word. As the drug bust unfolds in a slow-motion action movie sequence, the jaw-dropping shots swing between violent scenes and parallel universe shots of healthier alternatives to reality. JID hovers above, an angelic figure, rapping as the scene unfolds. The second half of the video dulls a bit, set in prison with little story to follow, but enhanced by some startling footage of JID on the phone, dynamically reminiscent of a family fight in New Orleans as the video visualize in sequence. With JID’s song lyrics so lively, it’s great to see this come to life aesthetically – especially in hip-hop where music videos are too often used as a way to show off cars and female dogs, following a format copy-paste, not giving songs their justice. – 7/10

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