Global head of music video and content at Riff Raff, Laura Clayton, picks an eclectic mix of music videos from around the world for February's Music Monthly edition
It’s cold, it’s wet and we’re still dealing with Covid, so what better way to escape February than with a selection of music videos that embrace fantasy in all its forms? Reinvention, identity crisis, escapism and a little heartbreak for good measure. It is the month of romance after all...
Rosalía - 'Saoko'
Director: Valentin Petit
If anyone can make the concept of an all-girl biker gang feel novel, it’s Rosalía, and Valentin Petit’s video for Saoko takes this simple premise and reinvents it totally. Here, the camerawork augments everything, giving the viewer a superhuman viewpoint - over, under and inside the action (even mounted to a ceiling fan at one point) - never letting up and relentlessly cut to the reggaeton beat. It’s the perfect intro to Rosalia’s next project 'Motomami', and I’m obsessed.
The Weeknd - 'Gasoline'
Director: Matilda Finn
Label: XO x Republic
Another director whose point of view I always find singular and unexpected is Matilda Finn, and it’s great to see her working with an artist as high profile as The Weeknd while maintaining her distinct style. True to form, it’s a nightmarish and surreal vision that’s simultaneously seductive, and subverts expectation, playing on ours and the artist’s sense of time and space. The symbolism calls to mind Dali and Lynch, and leaves me appropriately perturbed and wanting to watch it again.
Mø - 'New Moon'
Production: Riff Raff
Directors: Fa & Fon
Next up, some brand-new directors, Fa & Fon, whose visual world instantly felt exciting to me when I came across their creative direction on Instagram. Thankfully Mø agreed, and the video for their first music video 'New Moon' takes the emotion of exiting a disempowering relationship to a neo-medieval battlefield. It’s some seriously beautiful-looking fantasy expertly assembled by a dream team of up-and-coming creative crew (prod design: Furmaan Ahmed, styling: Innes Woo), and lit by Ahmet Husseyin, anchored by an arresting performance from Mø.
Arlo Parks - 'Softly'
Directors: Zhang & Knight
I loved seeing another of my favourite duos, Zhang & Knight, return to music video this week with the predictably gorgeous visual for Arlo Parks’ 'Softly'. Here, a classic Hollywood rose-tinted vision of New York gently falls apart around Parks, a poignant metaphor for the end of a relationship when you’re very much in love. The directors often reference paintings when it comes to lighting and production design and this is an Edward Hopper inspired dreamscape that conjures loneliness and the beauty of idealism. Beautiful stuff.
James Blunt - 'Adrenaline'
Production: OB Management
At the complete opposite end of the spectrum, the goofy absurdity of James Blunt’s latest promo is a joy to behold. I’ve really enjoyed watching Kim Jarratt’s commissions since she joined Atlantic, and the James Blunt campaign has done a stellar job of laughing with the haters as Blunt gamely embraces his cringe-inducing reputation. It’s a simple, let’s-stick-his-head-on-stock-footage concept, but it’s expertly executed by new director MOON and the perfect fantasy ode to the track’s subject - adrenaline.