Music Video Review
By our guest blogger, Nick Hanover
When Odd Future made their big breakthrough thanks to an incendiary appearance on Jimmy Fallon, there was a clear feeling of "What's next?" amongst those who'd been digging the crew for some time.
At the center of Odd Future, and thus its commercial stakes for the moment, is Tyler the Creator, a smart guy who knows a thing or two about image and theatrics. Tyler is smart enough to realize that a big part of the growing interest in him and the rest of Odd Future is the result of their passion for horror imagery and sinister beats. So, for the video for his big XL single "Yonkers," Tyler has kept that overarching feeling of dread and cleaned it up a bit without sacrificing anything. The effect is startling not just in its execution but also in how assured it makes the young artist seem.
Like the video for Gnarls Barkley's own breakthrough hit "Crazy," "Yonkers" is simple in the extreme. With Tyler framed dead center and the camera shifting focus constantly, you can't help but focus on Tyler's face and hands. Showcasing a surprising degree of acting ability, Tyler's performance is unhinged without being hammy, insane without seeming forced- his facial expressions alone convey more horror than the entire Scream franchise. Armed with only his facial contortions and a Madagascar hissing cockroach, Tyler doesn't need big special effects or camera tricks to scare the shit out of you.
The impressive thing, though, is that "Yonkers" is no novelty track. As serious as a landmine, "Yonkers" is a brooding, unfiltered look through the psyche of an angry young man with a beat you can't help but get infected by. Every look Tyler gives in its video, every act, from vomiting to eating a roach, feels scary but logical; "Yonkers" is the sound of an open wound, the video's shots just a reflection of the healing process, ugly but necessary. If you've ever doubted hip-hop is art, here's your chance for redemption.
View the video below. Thoughts?