Video You Need To Know: Janelle Monae, ‘Cold War’

(Credit: Jamie McCarthy/WireImage)

Janelle Monáe has already made one of our favorite videos if the year, with the tap-dance-tastic “Tightrope” clip. And now she’s back with “Cold War,” the second single off her dynamite album, ArchAndroid.

Musically, “Cold War” is not dissimilar from “Tightrope,” with its busy backing track, fantastic vocals and skittering beat. But the video, directed by Wendy Morgan, couldn’t be more different from the ecstatic choreography of “Tightrope.”

Consisting of one single, close-up shot of Monáe, “Cold War” is an incredibly intimate portrait of an artist. Monáe sings the vocal track while the camera goes in and out of focus, moving ever so slightly but mostly staying trained on Monáe and her powerful performance. Somewhat shockingly, it all ends in tears, with Monáe crying IRL tears toward the end of the clip, demonstrating the song’s obviously personal significance to her.

“Cold War” calls to mind both D’Angelo‘s “Untitled (How Does It Feel)” clip and, as Idolator astutely points out, Sinéad O’Connor‘s “Nothing Compares 2 U.” But ultimately, it’s in a class of its own.

Check out “Cold War,” as well as “Untitled” and “Nothing Compares 2 U,” all below. ArchAndroid is out now.