Friday, September 12, 2008

friday video premiere

Every Friday, we're highlighting a specific video (or two, or three) for your end of week enjoyment.

This week, we're looking at the video(s) for Kanye West's "Flashing Lights"

This video didn't get much MTV play--the only time I caught it on TV was on a lazy afternoon, watching MTV Hits (or some other strange MTV channel) with my brother and girlfriend. I had no idea a video for the song was made (when, in fact, it appears three were...but more on this later)

I have figured through deductive reasoning (and googling) that the bit being censored is the lighter fluid, though I can't quite figure out why. Maybe because it's the only real visual allusion to violence in the video (Kanye's presumed death-by-shovel is not explicitly shown).

At first, I didn't know what to think. My brother hated it (and he loves Kanye). My girlfriend had the same response. I didn't like it much, either.

But I keep watching it. Not because the murderer is good looking (though she is), but because it's just so hard not to watch. And not because it's like a car accident, which we watch to make sure we're still alive and view in order to confirm our own mortality, but because I think it's a stunning video.

The simplicity strikes. The continuous camera angle gives the video an oxymoronic spontaneous yet premeditated feel.

It's also a Spike Jonze video..yeah, he did this one and this one and this one

It's hard to ascertain what the video is about. Yeah, the song is about a relationship with a girl while being a celebrity and having the girl enjoying being in the limelight, but you've got to think that this video is shot in Vegas (look at the desert and distant skyline) and that perhaps she hustled him at one of Vegas' nightclubs. Perhaps she's a girl from his past.

There seems to be a theme throughout all of the videos for "Flashing Lights"


The video that ended up being officially "released" was in no way the most expensive (clearly, it was the second most expensive video of the three, after the ridiculous castle one but before the picture-vignette one), but it was my favorite. It just strikes me as the most artistic, most raw and most...well, striking. It's so sparse, so unnerving, and you've got to think that's exactly what Kanye is going through while sitting, gagged and bound, in the trunk.