“Omar comin’!” you might be tempted to shout while watching MGMT’s new video for “Cool Song No. 2,” off of their new, self-titled album. The video stars Michael K. Williams — of “The Wire” fame — and it’s pretty much the mini version of the crime show David Simon would have made if he had done all the drugs ingested by Bubbles and Co. over the course of the series.
Last week, Rolling Stone reported that the actor — also slated to play ODB in an upcoming biopic — would appear in the MGMT video as “The Plant Hunter — a ‘new jack’ thief who spends his days turning genetically modified plants into drugs.”
The video opens on Williams strolling down a blue-tinged hall, sporting shades, toting a bag and a knife — an ominous indication of the weirdness to come. Over the course of the video, Williams rolls in a car packed with plants of some sort that he apparently appropriates from a lush greenhouse — after beating up a man who is perhaps the proprietor — and travels to a desert location where he ends the life of yet another man, this time the owner of a swank complex.
Things only get more disturbing from there, taking the viewer to a futuristic lab — hemmed in by a heart-shaped gate — and showing us the apparent transformation of a man into a plant after being administered the drug by Williams, perhaps starting the cycle all over again.
The languid violence of the video perfectly captures the dark undertones of the song — which, despite its glib title, is filled with anxious images (Tell me how far you’d go/ Knowing your air won’t last/ Would you feel better holding the stars up?) and unlikely alchemy (Wherever scientists turn lead to birds/ Torment ignites essence, delights from the earth).
The video is just the latest in a collection of moody, cinematic oddities that the band has released around its third studio album — which dropped Tuesday (September 17) — including the cowbell-heavy “Your Life Is a Lie,” starring Henry Winkler, and an “X Files”-esque teaser for the album as a whole.