One way for me to articulate the way I feel about this video is by responding to one of the thousands of YouTube commenters. MsMadKim who makes the point of guessing that this video cost around $100. That’s kind of the whole point. If Kanye wanted to actually look as if he was on a motorcycle he’s probably got enough paper to make that so. Its intentionally tacky and unprofessional. Green screen à la BBC Weather as opposed to Pacific Rim (which Kanye loves). I think another thing worth celebrating is the directorial work of Nick Knight who nails the post-2000 all-American anti-glamour aesthetic just as faultlessly here as he did on the gothic metallic-glitz artwork for Lady Gaga’s ‘Born This Way’. It’s a very hard look to pin down. Drake’s artwork for ‘Nothing Was The Same’ is another shining example. It’s a self-deprecating egoism that is inferred without a single smirk. Having labelled himself and his fiancee “Un-American idols” on ‘Clique’, Kanye is furthering that image with the pair raunchily caressing aboard a motorcycle with her all-too-familiar body in all it’s glory. This comes after eagles flying atop mountains and soaring shots of the Grand Canyon that look like default Windows XP wallpapers. This anti-American imagery might not be as obvious as some of Ye’s previous stunts but it is a measured, calculated comment on the shallow pre-conceived grandeur that surrounds the American dream. It’s a dream that Kanye loves to loathe but is knowingly caught up in.
Lastly, it is important to look at this video in the context of the album. ‘Bound 2’ is a blast of over-zealous self-important flexing that comes after 9 tracks of self-subverting and disillusioned arrogance. “They order champagne but still look thirsty”, “I know you’re tired”. An exhaustion with the superficial mechanisms of Hollywood that sum up Kanye’s frustration with popular culture. This video is perfectly shallow with closeups of the man himself and more shots of Kim’s assets than even Ray-J could handle but that’s the part ‘Bound 2’ plays on ‘Yeezus’. It’s a clapped out misogyny that breeds videos that are all tits, cars and the USA but, unlike his contemporaries, Kanye is in on the joke.
Words: Duncan Harrison