February’s best videos, from an uplifting message by Lana Del Rey to a visually stunning immigrant story by The Blaze
February has been a great month for music video creativity, be it Ariana Grande and Future’s “Everyday” showing couples getting down in increasingly weird places, Stormzy and his boss crew, D.R.A.M.’s puppet checking out cute women in a Valentine’s Day special, or a sweet and colourful clip from London O’Connor and his friends. We’ve whittled a big list down to five videos that stuck out to us this month, whether for their visual flair or for the untold stories they uncover.
ARCA – “ANOCHE”
While Arca has made his name as a producer – both of his own music, and alongside artists like Björk and FKA twigs – his forthcoming, self-titled third album sees the Venezuelan musician put his beautiful, previously-unheard singing voice front-and-centre. It’s the most visible that Arca (real name Alejandro Ghersi) has made himself in his music, and his video for “Anoche” equally makes him the star. Directed by longtime collaborator Jesse Kanda, the breathtaking clip sees Ghersi, dressed in a corset and with his flesh scored, dance amongst dead and wounded bodies. It’s a contradiction of imagery and sound, both horrifying and tender.
THE BLAZE – “TERRITORY”
The Blaze, a mysterious French duo made up of both musicians and filmmakers, appeared seemingly out of nowhere last year with a nuanced and touching video for “Virile” that became an online sleeper hit. In February they returned with “Territory”, a video that showed just how committed they are to maintaining that level of visual flair. Filmed by The Blaze in Algiers, it’s a story of masculinity set against the backdrop of a homecoming, following a man as he returns to his family after a (presumably long) time spent overseas. It’s emotionally complex, visually cinematic, and it gives very little away.
GOLDFRAPP – “ANYMORE”
In her video for “Anymore”, Alison Goldfrapp leads a group of skinheaded dancers in a strange ritual in the desert. The desert is actually Fuerteventura, a volcanic island in the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa, and it makes for a fascinating backdrop to the song’s beguiling visual, not quite desert but not quite rock. “I love (Fuerteventura) in the same way as the desert,” Goldfrapp recently told us. “There’s something about that landscape that is so tantalising as it serves as an amazing backdrop. It’s like having a blank canvas that allows you to visualise colour and a narrative.”
LANA DEL REY – “LOVE”
With “Love”, Lana Del Rey moved away from her neo-noir-tinged aesthetic towards something more open, more intimate, and more, well, loving. With references to the flower power movement of the late 1960s, Marc Riboud’s historic The Flower and the Bayonet photograph, and ‘children are the future’ metaphors, its sci-fi-inspired video is heavy on signifiers of peace, unity, and reconciliation – she even smiles in it! In this post-Trump world, a move away from fatalism is more than welcome.
WILD BEASTS – “ALPHA FEMALE”
Wild Beasts don’t feature in their video for “Alpha Female”, but director Sasha Rainbow captures the essence of the song’s lyrics. Shot in Bangalore, India, her visual follows the city’s skate scene, looking specifically at Atita Verghese (India’s first professional female skater) and the Holystoked Skate Crew and Girl Skate India collectives. “In places like Afghanistan, Cambodia, and India, skating has not been solidified as a male sport and therefore has had a massive cultural impact, teaching values about self-empowerment through skateboarding,” Rainbow told us when the video came out. “Because of the current political climate in the west and attitudes of intolerance and sexism across the world, I wanted to create a video that celebrates everyone who takes the risk to be themselves.”