Months after leaked versions have started to surface on Youtube, camp Kanye has officially made public his “Monster” music video. Already besieged by controversy – this video is littered with dead white women, always a sore spot for mainstream America – this spot arrives with a brand-new disclaimer, and the knowledge that you can Google a bevy of articles and petitions pleading for its demise.
The clip’s divisiveness can be discussed in the comments, of course; but quality is king, and the “Monster” video is a grim, often chilling piece of work. It functions as a six-minute revisionist horror film, one where Rick Ross plays a chainsaw-toting, blunt-puffing don, exhaling smoke while the legs of dead women hung from the ceiling dangle and slowly sway around him; where Jay-Z, looking twitchy and paranoid during his verse, seems to be trying to draw your attention away from the dead girl haphazardly stuffed in the couch behind him; where Nicki Minaj literalizes her much-lauded schizo tendencies by playing the pink-coiffed Barbie of her album cover and the wild-eyed dominatrix vampire interrogating her in a chamber of horrors. And there’s Kanye, the depraved ringleader, casually posing dead girls in his bed, besieged by countless demon hands clawing at his flesh from the walls, lashing out at the masses of zombie-like faces sneering at him from the windows of his sprawling haunted castle, and, in one gooseflesh-inducing slow pan, clutching a severed head.
The noteworthy and lamented lack of appearances by Bon Iver (can’t you just see him as this grotesque spectacle’s demonic ringleader?) and Charlie Wilson aside, “Monster” stands next to, I dunno, “Closer” and “Thriller” as shining examples of cinematic, horror-flick creepshows worming their way into music videos effectively. Whether Kanye is actually making a statement about a longing to be sadistic towards women, I haven’t the foggiest; I do know that this is one of the most effective examples of the short-form music video to pop up in a long time, and there’s gotta be something to be said about an artist still taking risks, even when he’s clearly got enough coin that he doesn’t need to.