Kanye West’s video for his new single, “Bound 2,” is a veritable feast for the eyes. Blue skies, snow-capped mountains, mirror-like placid lakes, wild horses stampeding, eagles flying, the Grand Canyon overlooking the sprawling desert, Kim Kardashian riding topless on a motorcycle … it’s almost too much to bear in just four minutes. But be strong — take a breather if you need to — and watch it the whole way through. By god, you will thank yourself.
Let’s look closer at this gem, shall we? Let’s breathe in its flawless beauty. The video opens like the most beautiful Barnes & Noble calendar in the world, with breathtaking stock footage of nature landscapes, so crisp and clear you could almost smell the Rocky Mountains. Then Kanye comes in looking like Jax Teller at a Phish concert. I wonder if his tattered tie-dyed shirt and bead necklace will appear in his next A.P.C. collaboration. I hope so.
Then a mysterious silhouette of a woman appears and guess who it is?! It’s Kim! And she’s a natural. Has she been taking acting lessons? She’s as honest and exuberant on screen as a Model Mayhem girl who does music videos for college credit. If the chemistry between this real-life engaged couple is as hot as oatmeal stuck in your sink drain, then you’ll have to give Kim full credit for that. The way she straddles Kanye on the motorcycle, the way the awkwardly rhythmic bobbing of the bike bounces her awkwardly Photoshopped boobs, the way her hair blows in the wrong direction of the way the bike is going — it’s an all-out assault on your senses.
No, but seriously. I could go on all day about how this video is literally the definition of irony, but let’s look at some of the actual genius here.
The song itself is a somewhat unprecedented exercise in abrupt changes. “Bound 2” cuts jarringly between Charles Wilson’s soulful voice and verses backed by other soul samples. It falls in line with Kanye’s continued attempt to make the musical equivalent of esoteric contemporary art. Does it qualify him as a “creative genius” (which he said he’d fill out as his official occupation)? The public remains divided.
What’s also interesting is that the video is directed by fashion photographer Nick Knight, who Kanye had collaborated with previously on his video for “BLKKK SKKKN HEAD,” but that video falls in line with Knight’s aesthetic and vision and just makes more sense overall (fun factoid: Knight himself made a photo book called “Skinheads”). So for Kanye to approach the photographer with the idea for this video, he must have intended it to be just as artistic as anything in Knight’s portfolio. And given the incomparable weirdness and blatant shoddiness, and the reaction it’s elicited, I think Kanye has succeeded.
The only way this video could get any better is if someone made a tapestry out of one of the stills and mailed it to me for Christmas, which is coming up, by the way.
Get ready for your life to change:
Alicia Lu is a Brooklyn-based writer who enjoys action movies, spicy food and Tom Cruise jokes. Follow her on Twitter @aliciaql.