An early look at the eye-popping new Twigs video and the bug-eyed bangers that predate it
We all know how much her producer Arca loves to mash faces for his videos, but for FKA Twigs’ "Water Me", the irises of the artist formerly known as Twigs are stretched to Pikachu proportions. After the mesmerising abstract videos for “Hide” and “How’s That”, it’s an unprecedented unmasking for one of today’s most mysterious artists, as animated tears fall from her eyes like Björk’s mother-of-pearl excretions in “Hidden Place”. But while FKA Twigs is staring you in the face, you feel the disguises have only just begun.
To celebrate the release, we pick our five favourite manga-eyed moments from pop videos past.
“Water Me” is taken from EP2, released 9th September 2013 on Young Turks.
MADONNA - DROWNED WORLD/SUBSTITUTE FOR LOVE
In this 1998, Walter Stern-directed video for "Drowned World/Substitute for Love", Madonna's day goes from worse to worse. Dodging paparazzi bulbs in her limo, she stumbles into London's Savoy Hotel where things take on a Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas turn.
REASON BEHIND THE BUG-EYE: Things get bulgy around 3:33. It's the Material Girl's bug-eyed message to bug off! Life is but a dream through the lens of an itchy contact.
BUSTA RHYMES - GIMME SOME MORE
Busta's "Gimme Some More" was a fisheye farewell to reality. Snatched off his 98 masterpiece E.L.E. (Extinction Level Event): The Final World Front, this track was the apex of all things Busta, complete with a mach 10 rhyme speed and a self-directing credit (along with Hype Williams) under pseudonym Busta Remo. Nominated for "Breakthrough Music Video Of The Year" at the 1999 MTV Video Music Awards, this Looney Tune production tells the story of a young kid who bumps his head and animorphs into a monster.
REASON BEHIND THE BUG-EYE: Busta runs the gamut of Central Casting, dressing up as a boxer, stock broker, police officer, miner, pistol-toting, Yosemite Sam-like Texan, body builder, pimp and a person tied up about to get run over by a train a la The Perils of Pauline. But what does it mean? Busta can do anything.
NICKI MINAJ - STUPID HOE
Hype Williams take two. His direction on this caged creation, a powerful rendition for a seemingly deragatory display of hoe-like disdain, sees Minaj doing what she does best: calling out dem hoes. Things get buggy at 3:02, where the a cutesy, freckled Minaj plainly spills her thoughts on the vapid promiscuity she obviously does not approve of.
REASON BEHIND THE BUG-EYE: "I see all y'all stupid hoes."
LADY GAGA - BAD ROMANCE
Francis Lawrence directed this glimpse into the mind of Gag (pronounced with a long "a"). Of its making, Gaga said, "I knew [Lawrence] could execute the video in a way that I could give him all my weirdest, most psychotic ideas...But it would come across to and be relevant to the public."
REASON BEHIND THE BUG-EYE: The magnifying peepers in all the bathtub scenes interspersed throughout the video are clearly a nod to the Illuminati.
A$AP FERG - SHABBA FT. A$AP ROCKY
REASON BEHIND THE BUG-EYE: Kind of like a rapper's ad-lib, A$AP Ferg's exophthalmia is more a visual cue to his lavish lifestyle. "Eight gold rings like I’m Sha-Shabba Ranks/One gold tooth like I’m Sha-Shabba Ranks". We get it Ferg, you rich.