Less is more. This is universal wisdom. But what happens when it’s…true?
blAck pARty (also blackxparty) is an up-and-coming hip-hop and funk artist whose recently released first album, Mango, is already catching the attention of prominent directors and photographers. First impressions are everything, particularly in artistic industries where that’s literally the bread and butter. blAck pARty has given it one hell of a shot with ‘Best View’.
The title speaks for itself. The first thing you’ll notice about the video is that it’s goddamn gorgeous. The first few shots alone are better than some entire music videos I’ve seen…and I watch a lot. You don’t just have people singing at the camera and gyrating in poorly-lit clubs here (though those have their time and place, don’t get me wrong). Right off the bat we’re greeted with lush forests, well-composed shots and some incredible lighting.
I’m fondly reminded of Moonlight and Queen Sugar (and if you haven’t seen either of those, baby what is you doing). This is partially due to the deep and moody shadows that are just saturated enough to keep them from feeling dingy. The other half is due to the brilliantly lit skintones. Brown skin (and especially dark skin) has been poorly represented in film and photography for decades — when it’s not being flattened out-of-sync with its surroundings it’s being conspicuously lightened and brightened out the wazoo. Not here.
No, here they’re sumptuous, shimmering with blue and purple undertones that make these already beautiful scenes pop. Producer and photographer Ibra Ake (popular for working with the much-lauded Childish Gambino) and photographer Noah Kalina have worked together to create something truly lovely to look at.
But is it just as nice to listen to? Absolutely. ‘Best View’ is a low-key piece that compliments the organic and mysterious visuals wonderfully. The song’s most notable quality is how it manages to be chill and simple, yet is choking with all sorts of neat touches — a shivering snare there or sudden, deep bassline here, all of it undercutting a gentle beat.
The lyrics, quite literally, push the ‘less is more’ philosophy. The lead singer doesn’t need to be in the heart of Vegas or cruising in a fancy car to have a nice time. Good company is good enough.
While my favorite song by blAck pARty would have to be ‘Dancing’ (which will definitely be showing up on later Sharing The Goodness posts), this is easily a close second.
Just like the song the video isn’t about much, per se, but for me that’s part of the charm. There’s just enough simmering beneath the surface to draw your attention — the quirky interior design, the ‘oh, I guess you’re here now‘ expression the woman gives her visitor when he shows up — , but it’s content to let your own musings be canon. While I do love a compelling narrative, sometimes filling in the blanks can be just as rewarding. If not more so.
The song and video compliment one another by appearing deceptively simple while holding interesting details. Intermittent subtitles aside (they only show up when they want to, I suppose!), what’s up with the taxidermy? Are the antlers these two keep fondling supposed to represent the temporary nature of lust?
Then again, maybe it just looks cool. It’s like visual Mad Libs!
If you’re craving a music video that’s ponderous without being entirely boring while boasting some stellar photography, you can’t go wrong with ‘Best View’. If you’re more interested in the music? Check out blAck pARty (or blackxparty) on Soundcloud or Youtube. With their album Mango sounding this damn good and a video backing it up in fine form, they’re off to a great start.
Sharing The Goodness is an ongoing music series where I review and promote work by predominantly lesser-known artists. I’ve looked at folk, soul, hip-hop, alternative and rock, as well as a top five lyric breakdown, and plan on doing more music video reviews and features in the future.