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.
Witness the similarities between the “Monster” video and Dr. Dog’s 2008 clip for “The Ark.” Disembodied heads:
Stray body parts:
And a weird fixation on bodyless hands:
Conclusive proof? Absolutely not. But suspicious similarities? Sure–down to the muted color palette, even. And oh yeah–though it’s since been deleted, Kanye definitely noticed the Dr. Dog video the first time around, posting stills from the clip on his blog:
West even highlighted the parts most similar to what ended up in the “Monster” video. Curious, we spoke with director Adam Kurland, the director of the original Dr. Dog video. Does he think West had ripped him off? “It could have been any number of things,” he told us, noting the clip’s “eerie similarity.”
“It’s at least a very odd coincidence,” Kurland said. “It’s great that Kanye looks to independent music and artists. His blog has had some amazing content over the years and if in fact Kanye did use this video as some form of inspiration, I’m flattered. But next time he should just reach out. I would love to work with him on something.”