The video for the third single from Kanye West's 808s and Heartbreaks, "Welcome to Heartbreak," premiered this week; continuing a trend of generally wack videos from West's most inspired body of work.
Visually speaking, "Welcome to Heartbreak" is probably the most creative video you'll see on your television until Kanye's fourth single gets the small screen treatment; but that's the only interesting thing about it. Music television is full of clips that look good for the sake of looking good, and while Kanye often leads the pack in that department, it would be refreshing to see him present a visual presentation that really engages the subject matter of the song.
Watching West's latest video reminds of the first time I saw the video for "Love Lockdown." On Ellen, West mentioned how the film American Psycho served as inspiration for the video's aesthetic. I certainly noticed that while watching the clip; and I loved it. Stylistically, "Love Lockdown" was refreshing in its modesty, and basically just a pretty ass video. However, that doesn't change the fact that it had nothing at all to do with the song.
Listening to the song's lyrics shows that West isn't on "Love Lockdown," he's keeping someone else in restraint, so any argument citing his own sanity during the course of the clip in relation to the American Psycho theme just doesn't work. Outside of that, there's no reason to think that the video for Love Lockdown was inspired by the actual song, other than the random ( and lazy) placement of a charging tribe to match the drum interjections. The fact that the tribal stampede doesn't complement any other part of the video, but completely caters to the nature of the song more or less illustrates the immense disconnect between the two.
Likewise, "Welcome to Heartbreak" is fun to watch; but you could pair it with just about any other song, and it would work just as well.
I don't know that creating pretty videos could really be considered a talent at this point. It's like, "Ohh, fun colors and fly clothes." We get it.
I won't argue that every video needs a distinct storyline, but finding a way to marry the song with a visual presentation that gives equal representation toward both visions shouldn't be asking too much either.
Checkout Christina Milian's "Us Against the World" clip for a video that perfectly captures the sentiment of the song, while still managing to remain visually refreshing. Really, there's no plot to Milian's video, but even with the volume turned completely down you get a feel for the song that matches its atmosphere.
Here's the video for Kanye's "Welcome to Heartbreak," followed by Milian's "Us Against the World."