Top-serious accusations are a-flyin’: Zach Baron of The Village Voice straight-up wants to know, “Did Kanye West Rip Off Dr. Dog For His ‘Monster’ Video?”
Just hours before New Year’s Eve, an unfinished but largely coherent cut of the video for Kanye West’s “Monster” leaked. It was…unsettling. West’s use of the severed heads of dead women as props–and their lifeless bodies as vaguely sexual marionettes–in the clip was the apotheoses of a year’s worth of model corpse photos (before now published as art for West’s various G.O.O.D. Friday singles), and will do nothing to blunt the growing chorus of critics pointing out what an asshole misogynist West was in 2010. It’s a charge to which we’re sympathetic. But never in a million years did we imagine the “Monster” video as being anything but the original product of West and director Jake Nava’s sick imagination. As it turns out, however, Kanye might not just be an extremely public model killer; he may well be a plagiarist, too. Of Philadelphia indie-rock band Dr. Dog, no less.
Baron goes on to detail the many similarities between West’s video and Dr. Dog’s video for “The Ark,” including “[d]isembodied heads,” [s]tray body parts,” a “weird fixation on bodyless hands,” and the “muted color palette”—as well as the fact that “Kanye definitely noticed the Dr. Dog video the first time around, posting stills from the clip on his blog.” Baron then got in touch with director Adam Kurland, who was behind the Dr. Dog video, to get his thoughts. (For his part, Kurland noted the “eerie similarity,” but charitably conceded that “It could have been any number of things.”)
You can read the rest of Baron’s article (including West’s NSFW video) here.