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A short film about Kanye West by Spike Jonze
October 20, 2009 1:07 AM   Subscribe

Kanye West and Spike Jonze follow up Flashing Lights with. Something. After the success of Flashing Lights it seemed perfectly reasonable that Spike Jonze and Kanye West would team up for another music video.

I'm not sure that this is what anyone expected. Part meditation on the misery of fame and money, part surrealist art film, 0% music video, it's like someone filled the Real World hot tub with acid and sent them out on the town.

It's a long video, but do stick around the ending.
posted by GilloD (47 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
FOR the ending. I BLEW IT.
posted by GilloD at 1:08 AM on October 20, 2009


I love music videos.
I think they're really a truly fascinating medium, one that almost no real study is going into (that is, study isn't actually study about gender or celebrity, but rather study as a medium with formal traits and conventions).
Bummer.
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 1:17 AM on October 20, 2009


And yes, that video is not a music video. It is cool, though. Interesting that it was made before the VMA's. Seems almost premonitory.
(and yes, I had to look up the adjective form of premonition. weird one, it is. premonitory.)
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 1:20 AM on October 20, 2009


I'm here to this thread early enough to do the "IMMA LET YOU FINISH" joke, but man I just don't have the energy. I'm going to bed...
posted by hincandenza at 1:27 AM on October 20, 2009


Oh, and WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT?!
posted by hincandenza at 1:31 AM on October 20, 2009


Ok, that was weird. In a good way. Could Kanye turn out to be a good actor??
posted by zardoz at 1:32 AM on October 20, 2009


...do stick around for the ending.

So Imma let them finish?

Aw, too easy.
posted by evilmidnightbomberwhatbombsatmidnight at 1:33 AM on October 20, 2009


Hey Kanye... do you like fishsticks?!

Gay fish! Gay fish! Gay fish!

posted by markkraft at 1:47 AM on October 20, 2009


The little creature...wtf. I like this.
posted by shinyshiny at 2:16 AM on October 20, 2009


And then suddenly...
posted by markkraft at 2:26 AM on October 20, 2009


So, fame is the scabby mouse inside us all? I can get with that...
posted by i_cola at 2:58 AM on October 20, 2009


So, Kanye West vomits rose petals?
posted by dortmunder at 3:05 AM on October 20, 2009


Love Spike Jonze! Nice surrealist touch with the ending.
posted by tokidoki at 3:32 AM on October 20, 2009


Wow. That was certainly... something.
posted by delmoi at 3:39 AM on October 20, 2009


That was.... compelling. And traumatic.
posted by diogenes at 4:12 AM on October 20, 2009


That version of the song playing when he's on the dance floor makes me wish 808s & Heartbreak was a straight up dance album or something, maybe I would have listened to it more than once.

I remember an interview I read way back when College Dropout had just come out or so, and Kanye said something like that he's going to be the next Michael Jackson. It was a laugh of course, since everyone knows in today's fractured media landscape it's just not possible for anyone to command the same level of attention blah blahblah...

But the other day I realized that he's probably the best thing to happen to pop music since Michael Jackson. His popularity has allowed hip hop to expand into a lot of new directions, for better or worse, and could you have imagined a Kid Cudi getting real attention back when Get Rich or Die Tryin' and all the boring gangsta rehash shit was still big? I mean, Kid Cudi's album was a disappointment, and most of top 40 hip hop seems like club trash, but I drove home one night and heard Day 'n Nite's minimalist melancholy on the radio and I was genuinely excited! By something on the radio!

Thanks Kanye! And your Spike Jonze video is nice too with its retarded metaphor ending.
posted by palidor at 5:12 AM on October 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


If that ends up making me like Kanye West, I'm going to be mighty upset.
posted by Casimir at 5:12 AM on October 20, 2009


What's the big deal? In my world, we call this Friday night.
posted by fungible at 5:39 AM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


This video is not available in your country due to copyright restrictions.
your youtube video is dead.

but that new jonze video looks like it was totally shot with a 5d mkII to which I say rock rock rock hard, buddy.
posted by krautland at 5:53 AM on October 20, 2009


wut?

is he saying west acts like an idiot cos of some deformed rat inside him?

also, is out-of-focus the new focus?
posted by marienbad at 5:59 AM on October 20, 2009


marienbad, no depth of field is the new focus.
posted by dearsina at 6:01 AM on October 20, 2009


That was some fine acting by Mr. West. I believe this up and comer might have a future.
posted by rusty at 6:49 AM on October 20, 2009


He's a jackass.
posted by Beardman at 7:50 AM on October 20, 2009


Look, what the guy did at the VMAs was ill-mannered and wrong. But the response by the public has reached a ridiculous point.

Joe Wilson heckled a sitting president during his nationally televised speech to Congress, a historical act of rudeness with obvious racil overtones, and hasn't faced as much public vitriol or professional sanction as Kanye West.

It's becoming disgusting and shameful. Please stop.
posted by FunkyHelix at 8:19 AM on October 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


* racial

Gah, stupid typos.
posted by FunkyHelix at 8:21 AM on October 20, 2009


This is actually a prequel to Where the Wild Things Are. Carol came out of Kanye West's confetti-filled thoracic cavity.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:24 AM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Looks like this was on Kanye's site for a minute, and then later pulled.
posted by HumanComplex at 8:29 AM on October 20, 2009


Anytime I see Kanye I just see sadness. He may never get over the lose of his mother.
posted by Mick at 8:34 AM on October 20, 2009


That is one profoundly unhappy guy.

Also, that was one profoundly strange ending.
posted by flippant at 8:53 AM on October 20, 2009


Look, what the guy did at the VMAs was ill-mannered and wrong. But the response by the public has reached a ridiculous point

Yo, Funky, I'm really happy for you, I'ma let you finish, but Chris Crocker had one of the best outbursts of righteous indignation on behalf of a multimillionaire celebrity of all time!

Ok, that was weird. In a good way. Could Kanye turn out to be a good actor?

Yo, Kanye, I'm really happy for you, I'ma let you finish, but Nicholas Cage but had one of the best squirmingly uncomfortable drunk portrayals of all time!

Love Spike Jonze! Nice surrealist touch with the ending.

Yo, Spike I'm really happy for you, I'ma let you finish, but Maurice Sendak made the best version of Where the Wild Things Are of all time!

NOW the response by the public has reached the ridiculous point. I've been holding them all in for weeks now, I just had to get that out of my system. Personally I think the video would have been better, starker, if it had just ended at the part with Kanye waking up and realizing he had been dry humping a sofa.
posted by nanojath at 9:11 AM on October 20, 2009


Mick, that's pretty much exactly my reaction too. He seems like someone who could have been great, but is always just a little fucked. And unlike other artists, that fucked element doesn't seem to be helping his art.
posted by lazaruslong at 10:05 AM on October 20, 2009


Look, what the guy did at the VMAs was ill-mannered and wrong. But the response by the public has reached a ridiculous point.

Joe Wilson heckled a sitting president during his nationally televised speech to Congress, a historical act of rudeness with obvious racil overtones, and hasn't faced as much public vitriol or professional sanction as Kanye West.

It's becoming disgusting and shameful. Please stop.
posted by FunkyHelix at 8:19 AM on October 20 [1 favorite +] [!]


To roll with your point. Kanye once did THE SAME EXACT THING at the european music video awards and nobody cared because he was interrupting some Euro Alt-Rock band.

But interrupt a pretty young country girl??? THAT'S A RILIN"!
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 10:11 AM on October 20, 2009



This is actually a prequel to Where the Wild Things Are. Carol came out of Kanye West's confetti-filled thoracic cavity.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:24 AM on October 20 [1 favorite -] Favorite added! [!]


Wholly agree. The same exact concepts are at play here. I love it.
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 10:13 AM on October 20, 2009


Its taken down now but easy enough to find on Youtube "Kanye we were once"

For some reason, I really liked it.
posted by jeffmik at 10:53 AM on October 20, 2009


>also, is out-of-focus the new focus?
no, razor-thin shallow focus is.

the more I look at it the more it reminds me of spike jonze's own video/short film what's up, fatlip? (he also did a much longer version that's on his directos label dvd), where the whole point was that you didn't know whether it was a real documentary or a scripted piece of fiction (the answer would be both, somewhat).

I could see kanye saying something along the lines of "let's do that but make it look more expensive because that's my image" ... but that's just speculation.
posted by krautland at 1:22 PM on October 20, 2009


alternate link: http://vimeo.com/7130656

ps: whooaaaaoaoaoaa
posted by skwt at 2:13 PM on October 20, 2009


http://vimeo.com/7130656
posted by skwt at 2:15 PM on October 20, 2009


But the other day I realized that he's probably the best thing to happen to pop music since Michael Jackson. His popularity has allowed hip hop to expand into a lot of new directions, for better or worse, and could you have imagined a Kid Cudi getting real attention back when Get Rich or Die Tryin' and all the boring gangsta rehash shit was still big? I mean, Kid Cudi's album was a disappointment, and most of top 40 hip hop seems like club trash, but I drove home one night and heard Day 'n Nite's minimalist melancholy on the radio and I was genuinely excited! By something on the radio!

Yeah. OK. Personally I can't stand Kanye. I've heard him do verses that are passable on albums by artists I like, but generally he comes across as a moron. Honestly, I made it about halfway through "The College Dropout" on random before I couldn't take any more (it was the endlessly self-indulgent last track that really did it for me). His music is pretty much corny pop bullshit, but what has always rubbed me the wrong way about him is his acceptance in the mainstream as "at last a conscious rapper", or someone who finally made a crossover from hip-hop to pop.

Sorry, "Walk this Way" was almost 25 years ago, and Barney wearing fatchains in the flintstones cereal commercial wasn't far off. Prince Paul successfully crossed dance music and fun hippity hop with De-La Soul in 1989. Of course there were pure-pop crossovers all along, like C&C music factory.

I listened to a couple Kid Cudi tracks based on your comment and was pretty unimpressed. It sounds like more generic "in da club" crap, except he's sorta trying to sound like Kanye. Great. I would love to see some other ways that hip-hop in the top 40 is going in all different directions, or even new ones.

Kanye isn't Michael Jackson, he's not the voice of his generation, he would not be in the Bible if it was written today, and he's nothing like Martin Luther King, even if he wears Luis Vuitton shoes. He is an arrogant insecure prick who is as incapable of acknowledging his influences and roots as he is getting a coherent thought. He makes grandiose postures and claims to be a "concious MC", but simply entrenches himself into famewhoring and flaunting his wealth, while re-enforcing negative sterotypes about rap that have generated from the shit that has floated into the top 40.

Hip hop has gone in different directions without mainstream attention, and the stuff that does stick there usually does because it is the most vapid and meaningless tripe being shoveled out. To be 'accessible'. Most albums shooting for mainstream acceptance and radio play are disappointing, and most all of it is club trash, or at least something with a hook you can sing along with. Let pop be pop, its as stupid as its always been, but dont pretend that Kanye is helping hip-hop evolve with his insipid lyrics, endless autotuning, and tiring self-aggrandizement. I really hope he just goes away.

Maybe after this trip to India.

And if my mom died while getting breast implants that I paid for, I would feel like a pretty shitty human being too. She's probably still be with him if they weren't so fucking superficial.
posted by lkc at 2:26 PM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Nice lkc. Losing a mother is one of the worst, absolute worst things anybody can go through and the fact that he probably feels like it's all his fault (and in a small way that was not within his control, it was).... I don't envy Kanye at all.
My feelings are this; I love his music, I feel sorry for the guy, and he makes me hit my face with my palm more than any other artist out there. It's kind of almost exactly like I feel for Ryan Adams.
I watched this video and posted it on my blog yesterday. I read all over the 'nets trying to get what people were meaning people were culling from it and this is what I found;

* The little creature is Kanye's ego and he's killing it and or letting it go.
* The little creature is the good that's left in Kanye, that Kanye himself IS his ego, and that he is putting to rest the last of the good inside him
* That Kanye honestly felt like his newest album deserved more attention, better acclaim, and that he's truly disappointed that it wasn't as big as he thought it would be. I personally feel it's an amazing album that takes auto-tune to a level nobody had ever taken it before and as an artist myself, I can understand the disappointment of an underwhelming response to a piece of work I've done. So I can understand how he feels.

The video touches on him drunk, his emotionals manically careening up and down, rejection, being an ass, hallucinating and possibly humping a couch... when he tosses his cookies in the bathroom towards the end, I'd swear it was money he was throwing up but everyone else that watched it with me said it looks more like confetti.

Also, and this just reflects to me that I've spent far too much time thinking about the video and watching it, but I thought that the lil' guy he pulls outta himself bore a small resemblance to the 'Kanye Bear' that is on all of his albums. So maybe the video was supposed to represent the death of his career or this leg of his career.

I like it. I wish Kanye would speak less and put out more work so he'd stop being such an easy target for people. Perhaps one day. Perhaps not.
posted by Bageena at 5:20 PM on October 20, 2009


> I think they're really a truly fascinating medium, one that almost no real study is going into (that is, study isn't actually study about gender or celebrity, but rather study as a medium with formal traits and conventions). Bummer.

Um, hi from graduate school. We do that here. Medium specificity of Music Videos? Hell yeah.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 8:02 PM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Apparently the woman in the "Flashing Lights" video is Rita G
posted by delmoi at 2:51 AM on October 21, 2009


lkc, if you listened to anything by Kid Cudi and thought it was more "in da club" junk, especially anything from his album which is filled with really stupid lyrics about how he has so many issues and is emotionally troubled and whatnot, I don't know what to tell you. If you can't get over Kanye's questionable rapping skill and appreciate the amazing music he makes, I don't know what to tell you. If you think putting out a breakup album with a refreshing take on the auto tune thing, typically reserved for boring R&B club tracks, is "endless autotuning," I don't know what to tell you. Kanye and some of those in his orbit are doing things with hip hop that were most definitely not going on ten years ago, and comparing his success to hip hop's pop crossover in the late 80s is missing the point. By all means hate on Kanye for being an arrogant prick, but don't judge his music or the music by someone like Cudi based on your selective exposure and some quick impressions. Some of us got over the whole pop backlash a long time ago, and just like music based on its own merits.
posted by palidor at 4:42 AM on October 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


She's probably still be with him if they weren't so fucking superficial.

You can hate the guy and his music and the way he presents himself all you want -- hell, you can even hate his late mother. But that's still strikes me as a heartless thing to say.

One of the sweetest, nicest women I know got breast implants a few years ago (not porn-star sized). Nobody in our social circle would ever call her superficial, and she certainly doesn't go around "flaunting" them. I think women who choose to get implants get them for a variety of reasons that they needn't explain to the rest of us, so I'd hesitate to assume the worst of motivations without knowledge of the situation.

Sorry for the slight derail....
posted by lord_wolf at 8:54 AM on October 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think ultimately internet discussion will always fall prey to the motivation provided by a text box and "post" button. I know I have to stop myself sometimes and wonder if the comment I want to make is actually worth contributing, and sometimes I fail to do that and end up shitting in a thread just because I can. While it's generally good to go by the "if you don't have something nice to say..." rule, it can indeed be confusing when you take into account all of the different ways things can be interpreted. But some things are just downright negative, and if you don't feel bad for someone, anyone who loses their mother, and want to publicly announce this as if to spread that negativity around, that indeed is just shitting all over a thread.

I would apologize for the derail too but the thread is going to sleep now. I figured when I posted my positive comments above, with ideas stemming basically from enjoyment I got out of hearing a certain song on the radio, it would be something of an exception since Kanye West is a supreme jerk and all. I guess in the end it's interesting how people filter so much love and hate through celebrities. Who knows, maybe it's a good thing, and the text box is like therapy. Thread-shit therapy.
posted by palidor at 9:17 AM on October 21, 2009


That was a shitty thing to say about his mom, and I apologize.
posted by lkc at 12:19 PM on October 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


Kanye West is a supreme jerk and all.

Compared to, say, Dick Cheney? Really? He comes across as a bit of dufus, but I think people need a little perspective.
posted by delmoi at 8:08 PM on October 21, 2009


Aww drat, that Votionographer link doen't work any more.
posted by Theta States at 12:01 AM on October 24, 2009


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