I wrote this critique of Kanye's new video while I was stoned. Apparently, it showed, because someone asked me what the hell I was talking about. Allow me to clarify while I hang out in an NYU computer lounge before class:
The video looks good. The images themselves are great, the colors and movements draw your attention, and you could take a bunch of stills from the clip and put them in a coffee table book and it would probably sell well.
That said, the video as a whole, as a five-minute vignette, lacks cohesion. I don't get why the images in the video were chosen, I don't understand what it's trying to say--and Kanye is almost trying to say something--and even after watching it twice, I still found something missing. Like that scene where he's sitting in the corner and the camera pans out and we see a warrior-dude standing by him; is that supposed to be surprising? Is he a hallucination? If the video's shooting for haunting ambiguity, well...there's a way to do that well, but you've got to really present a mystery to be solved. This just feels like Kanye made a checklist of things he wanted in "Love Lockdown" but then didn't figure out a way to sensibly put them all together. What we're left with is a video that's all image, no substance--a bunch of flashing lights without a purpose.