Music, OldVenue

Reviewing Music Videos

Rihanna x Kanye West x Paul McCartney FourFiveSeconds

Forget assassination in a station, or rude girl hip thrusting, butt bouncing, rainbow tripping trips. FourFiveSeconds takes us back to black and white cinematography and simplistic slow close ups. A new, exciting world where Paul McCartney is friends with Kanye and the long awaited triumph of denim-on-denim has come to pass.

There was no need for a storyline to this music video; the interest and shock appeal simply comes from Rihanna’s subliminal mental speech, “yes this is really happening, McCartney’s current again.” Thank Rihanna and Kanye for ‘shining light on unknown artists’ like Sir McCartney. I enjoy Rihanna’s move to a stripped-back acoustic track; it’s simple and fun. Although I don’t see what McCartney really adds to the video, except for the fact that he’s a huge contrast to his co-singers.

The alien-child voice that haunts Kanye’s first verse, appears at times to be emanating from Grandpa Paul. It adds a comical air to the whole video and leaves me waiting for more of this creepy background voice.

You often get the sense that Rihanna didn’t have the heart to tell Sir Paul he couldn’t be in the music video and so threw him in last minute. (“He’s not even looking at the camera! I’m so done.”) Though at least he appears to know what song he’s filming for. Kanye’s dancing is definitely passionate but I can’t help but wonder if he’s listening to the same track. His jerky head movements and bursts of electric energy may not line up with the music, but it certainly adds to the enjoyment of the video.

The stripped back video means I’m not distracted from listening to the lyrics, which I actually quite like. Granted they’re not the most complex and they follow a fairly basic structure, but they still highlight the self-destructive nature of the track. Both Rihanna and Kanye’s vocals are emotion drenched and powerful, which is only emphasised more through their performance in the video. I like the music video; it’s not too gimmicky and it relates to the song. I’m still left wondering about Sir Paul’s role though. Hopefully he wasn’t too dazed by the whole ordeal. Sam Naylor


Jack White That Black Bat Liquorice

A true pioneer in the field of music and video tech, the king of the riff himself has now moulded together three separate videos to form the ultimate interactive music video for his song, That Black Bat Liquorice an absolute corker from his latest EP Lazaretto. The main play consists of first class animation from James Blagden, featuring a melee of dancing bats, sliced off tongues in one surreal Nefertiti nightmare. At one point, White’s head even appears to be on display in a museum alongside his aforementioned severed tongue.

Hold down 3, and you’re exposed to live White action running parallel to the cartoon, taking a stroll down some vaguely dystopian high street. Here you get treated to dancing men in George Washington masks and all sorts of distorted high contrast fun. Much of the ‘3’ sequence features Jack himself looking pretty unsettled, as if he was watching the animated version of himself go through the childish nightmare that is this video.

Pressing the B key reveals Brad Holland’s selection of multi-coloured manes, clad in black head banging continually in some empty corner.  Switching between day and night, the slow motion archs of our head-banging trio becoming almost hypnotising, especially when silhouetted against the burning white moon. The whole thing is so drenched in cool it’s suffocating. There’s a particularly great piece of editing around the three-quarter mark in which one of our intrepid head-bangers’ ginger locks swing perfectly on beat to the riff that rolls on in the background.

The song itself is the kind of jaunty, high-octane blues track that White is famous for but with a cleaner instrumental sound and sweeping country strings. It’s definitely one the highlights from his Lazaretto, a hard hitter with a strong groove underpinning White’s trademark thinking man’s rock ‘n’ roll. The best moment is undoubtedly when White howls ‘Now say the same damn thing with the violins’ queuing a screeching, Nashville string solo reminiscent  of his work with the Dead Weather.

The viewer can take control of the video and make it their own depending on how they switch between the three different options. Far from working as a cheap gimmick like many interactive music videos, Jack White’s That Black Bat Liquorice is packed with detailed both illustrated and live action. Phoebe Harper


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August 2022
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