Mar. 6th, 2016

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Okay, dammit, I am going to post about something that isn't my health, and I am not going to let my health completely stop me from posting, and apparently I haven't written about music videos since 2014. So, some things I've run across recently and liked for various reasons.

After Beyoncé put out Formation, which you've probably seen already (but if not, you should, because it's an amazing political and symbolic synthesis of post-Katrina New Orleans, the history of Southern black culture, and Black Lives Matter), I fell down a rabbit-hole of bounce music. 'Formation' includes a voice part by Big Freedia, who is one of the big names in bounce, and her* music is infectiously danceable, a sound that makes me want to get out on the floor and party. The closest anyone seems to come to a definition of bounce is that it is music from New Orleans made specifically to shake your ass to; it uses samples and vocal parts and interlocking rhythms, and it's all about the twerking, no matter your race, gender, age, body type, or conventionality of appearance. Y'All Get Back Now is a decent place to start with Big Freedia, as she and her friends overwhelm the city of New Orleans with literally gigantic joy, and I also like Excuse, in which Freedia takes over a yoga-studio bounce class that honestly really needed it.

* Big Freedia's official pronoun is whatever the hell you feel like, but both articles written about her and people speaking with her in interviews tend to gravitate towards 'she'-- once, memorably, in an interview I have managed to lose to link rot, the reporter started with 'he' and moved towards 'she' as the conversation became more comfortable, which was a fascinating process to watch.

Ninety percent of what I know about bounce comes from the ten-minute documentary That B.E.A.T. by Abteen Bagheri (link is to the director's official upload), which I highly recommend if you're interested in local musical subcultures, like Freedia's groove, or have not recently found yourself irresistibly compelled to twerk.

Changing gears a little: Flying Lotus's Never Catch Me (ft. Kendrick Lamar) is both a great dance video and a simple concept so beautifully executed that it smacks me in the heart every single time. If the dead are the ones still dancing, we will never catch up to them, but it's good to believe that they dance.

Going a bit artsier, I have some ambivalence about FKA twigs' Glass & Patron, in which she symbolically gives birth to a modern incarnation of the queer and mostly black ballroom vogue femme scene, but I do find myself coming back to it again and again. I think my ambivalence is centered around finding the pacing peculiar, which was eased somewhat when I discovered that this video is also the last few minutes of her album/short movie M3LL155X. I have no idea what I think of M3LL155X and will probably need another few months of rewatch before I have any faith that I understand what she is doing, but FKA twigs is definitely one of the most intellectually complicated and intricately allusive video artists I've encountered in years.

If you've ever spent much time with any NES or SNES games, Das Racist's Who's That? Brooown! is a pitch-perfect, hilarious, and somewhat disturbing parody of every nineties cartridge that ever tried to be hip. Certainly the only game I have ever seen contain the command line >Shoplift ironic beer. Also features Tea Party protesters outside the U.N. and respawning hordes of yuppie gentrifiers.

Finally, one of my perennial comfort videos: M.I.A.'s Bad Girls, a celebration of skill, daring, and things that probably should not be done with cars but which look really, really fun if you can pull them off. The stuntpeople driving the two principal cars fell in love and got married during production, which is one of the cutest behind-the-scene facts I know about anything.

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