Autre Ne Veut's new video for "World War Pt. 2" may make for an unsettling experience, but only in the most artful of ways.
Ian King: At least for the first couple of listens, "World War Pt. 2" can be skeletal and jarring, whereas "World War" -- from Autre Ne Veut's 2013 album, Anxiety -- was warmer, downbeat but soothing. Does the sequel really pick up where the first left off? Maybe. Is the accompanying video, directed by Allie Avital, at least a little bit NSFW? Quite possibly. Does the whole piece make for an unsettling experience? Probably. But in a compelling, artful way that draws you in? Definitely. [8/10]
Jordan Blum: This latest track from Autre Ne Veut (real name: Arthur Ashin) is an interesting blend of R&B, electronica, and pop. His impassioned voice easily evokes that of Stevie Wonder, while the multilayered production is consistently interesting (even if the opening chromatic ascension, which repeats throughout, sounds like an annoying hyperactive squirrel). It’s not the most original sound out there, but Veut deserves some credit for blending these styles so well. Even if it’s not wholly listenable, “World War Pt. 2” is still quite creative. [6/10]
Paul Duffus: The video (a naked hairless woman with shredded nails hangs in suffocating fashion on to an equally hairless and naked Ashin and won't let go) captures the nausea and darkness which seep through the pores of Autre Ne Veut's best work. "World War Pt.2" is R&B with chronic heartburn, soulful yet quite distressing. [8/10]
Brice Ezell: Oh boy. With a video like this, it doesn't really matter what the music is, does it? "World War Pt. 2", perhaps a sequel to the closing track on Autre Ne Veut's dazzling 2013 LP Anxiety, does in some sense follow the path laid down by its predecessor. Like "World War", "Pt. 2" has a slow jam vibe to it, although it takes on a minimalist aesthetic that the emotive coda to part one eschews with its impassioned cries of "Never gonna be my baby". "Pt. 2"'s verses are unfussy, with a simple beat and spare electronics forming a bare space atop which Arthur Ashin to sing in his ever-appealing neo-R&B fashion. Although "Pt. 2" lacks the avant-pop brilliance that makes Anxiety such a stunning record, it nonetheless shows that Autre Ne Veut is continuing to do interesting things musically...
...and then there's the music video. I could take the time to describe the, let's say "abstract" visual approach to the music, but suffice it to say that "World War Pt. 2" has to be seen to be believed. Like an obtuse New York City modern art installation, this music video is one of those things that defies description, that will nonetheless send viewers into a tizzy trying to figure out what it really means. (The video's YouTube comment section is responsible for many uproarious gems, including this highlight: "can someone explain since when smeeghel is gay?") Me, I'll just stick with the music, and will probably refrain from physical contact with anyone for awhile. [6/10]
Steve Horowitz: Love may be a battlefield, but the metaphor works here because the music is so over the top. The song just builds and builds, then goes back to start and does it all over again. A world war is not enough, just like the face of one’s lover -- who knows what that even begins to mean, but the raw emotion of being caught in something simultaneously pleasurable and sickening comes through. The song unfortunately fizzles out when it should explode or end suddenly. The video suggests the pretentious ramblings of the lyrics should be taken seriously, which is a mistake. However, the images work as spectacle, which does fit the music. [7/10]