Happy New Year, everyone! Hope you’ve been having an amazing time with the new year, and that you had a fun and safe Christmas. I’ve been at Peats Ridge once again, having a blast. Have just had an amazing week of gigs, too. But no rest for the wicked – this time next week, I’ll be jetting to Melbourne for a week for my first-ever visit there! How exciting! Anyway, prior to our official full-time return in February, here are the best 30 videos from last year. There’s some fun, some sadness, some beauty and a few unexpected gems. Let’s dig in!
With apologies to: Beastie Boys, Ball Park Music, Wavves, Beyonce, R.E.M., Jebediah, Seeker Lover Keeper, Fishing, Alpine, Snakadaktal, The Black Keys, Unkle and Is Tropical.
30. The National – Conversation 16
Directed by Scott Jacobson
Deep down, don’t we all want to live in a world where Kristen freaking Schaal gets to be President? No? Just me? Anyway, this was a peculiar choice for the final single to be lifted from 2010’s excellent High Violet record – but it resulted in possibly the best video the band have ever done. An unrequited love story between Schaal and Mad Men‘s John Slattery, this is a fantastically done video which plays out more like a silent movie – the expressions on the faces, as well as the music itself, explains it all. Truly one of the best bands in the world, giving us a great way to kick off the countdown.
Read my original blog on Conversation 16 here.
29. Fireworks – Arrows
Directed by Thom Glunt
Gospel, the outstanding second record from Detroit pop-punkers Fireworks, was easily one of my favourite albums of the year. Not to sound discriminatory or anything like that, but I certainly wasn’t expecting the band to add a video of the year contender with the clip for the album’s lead track and lead single. Have I simply come to suspect that all pop-punk bands do is tour footage montages? Anyway, the band themselves are nowhere to be seen in this video – instead, they leave the dirty work to a particularly sadistic arch-villian. He’s hell-bent on eliminating a family, one by one – but not in the way you’d expect, and certainly not with the motive you would expect, either. Oh, the suspense!
Read my original blog on Arrows here.
28. Snow Patrol – Called Out in the Dark
Directed by Brett Simon
If you take a cliche and twist it slightly, what does it become? Original, or just a counter-cliche? Whatever the case, consider this old chestnut: a music video inside a music video. You’ve seen it done, from Jack Johnson to Fall Out Boy and back again. It can still be clever, but you’ll be damned if it’s not cliche. Consider this curveball, though: What if you, the creator of the music, were not allowed to star in your own video (within a video)? This is what happens to Gary Lightbody, as he attempts to weave his way back onto camera and win over the director (played by Boston Legal‘s Tara Summers). For a band that have often been dismissed as too serious or glum, this is certainly a surprising turn – and one you can be grateful they have taken, if it leads to more great videos like this. As far as counter-cliches go, this isn’t too shabby at all.
Read my original blog on Called Out in the Dark here.
27. They Might Be Giants – Can’t Keep Johnny Down (video contest winner version)
Directed by Mohit Jaswal
This one might cause a little bit of controversy. As much as I liked the concept of the official Can’t Keep Johnny Down video, which features Rip Torn doing what he does best (kick arse), I couldn’t help but be drawn to the charms of the video contest the band held to make a video for the song. Some great entries came forth, but I’m of the firm belief that not only was the winner the most deserving, but also the best video for Johnny that has been made. It begins with underpants on the ground in the forest. It ends with a frustrated man in the office. In-between, there are pools, coupons, motorbikes and a variety of other slow-motion escapades. How does it all come together? Fucking beautifully. So watch for yourself.
26. Mamas Gun – Reconnection
Directed by James Stoneley
A delightfully unexpected nugget of gold came in the form of this little winner from up-and-coming London groovers Mamas Gun, who I had never heard of before getting recommended this clip through the blog’s email address. It only took one viewing for me to completely fall for its charm, and I can only assume it will do the very same for you. The brightly-coloured adventure takes its queues mostly from Alice in Wonderland, but it’s by no means a direct rip. All things considered, it’s quite inventive – I love the multiple camera effects and the costume changes, as well as the fact that every band member plays something different. A joy to watch every single time.
Read my original blog on Reconnection here.
That’s it, gang! Thanks so much for reading, and I’ll see you for part 2 of 5 this time next week! In the meantime, feel free to submit your own favourites or comments on these in the comment section below, or over at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sound good? Great!