Shit is about to get well pointy, son! This time around, we’ve got crazy kids, crazy pep-peps and crazy dudes with sledgehammers. You have been warned – THIS is the second half of the top 30 videos of the year, and it’s fucking GLORIOUS.
15. tUnE-yArDs – My Country
Directed by Mimi Cave
There’s always been somewhat of a childlike wonder to what Merrill Garbus – aka tUnE-yArDs – does in her music. So why not bring in an army of tykes to visualise the opening track from her brilliant W H O K I L L record? As a matter of fact, you might not even notice when Merrill herself appears in the video – she blends in with their excitement and awe perfectly. Not only does this look like it was an insane amount of fun to make, but because there’s so many super-cute/super-awesome kids, you can probably pick out a favourite or two. I’m gonna go with old mate on the drums, the bald kid that’s REALLY getting into it. The popping-and-locking breakdance girl is a winner, too. Life-affirming awesomeness cometh in the form of tUnE-yArDs. The kids are alright.
Read my original post on My Country here.
14. Taylor Swift – We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together
Directed by Declan Whitebloom
A lot of questions got raised in the wake of this video’s release. Does T-Sweezy really need those glasses? Why are her bandmates all dressed up like woodland creatures? Is there a plot to this thing at all? You can probably answer all of them with a quick whack ’round the side of the head and an exclamation of “DUDE! It’s a pop video!” Of course it’s completely ridiculous and plotless. That’s half the fucking point! I’m like a fly going towards the zapper when it comes to Taylor’s videos, but I love this one the most for its knowing humour and its willingness to be just a little adventurous – the single camera format in particular is fantastic, and I wish more pop videos used it. A pleasure that was guilty as charged.
Read my original post on We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together here.
13. Dinosaur Jr. – Watch the Corners
Directed by The Director Brothers
For all his sour demeanour and his perceived lack of humour, I still think that J. Macsis is a funny dude. Doing a video like Over It, a parody of nineties skate videos, was solid enough evidence. But bringing in a guy like Tim Heidecker (of Tim & Eric and The Comedy fame) sealed the deal for me. Watch the Corners isn’t quite a “funny” video, per se; in the same way that Heidecker’s The Comedy wasn’t quite funny. That said, it’s a blackly comic affair about young love, over-protective parents and crossing over into the rebellious teen phase. It fits the song perfectly, and given Heidecker has less than 10 seconds of dialogue all up, his actions speak far louder than words in this context. Watch out for the pool and watch out for the final revenge on his daughter’s ex.
Read my original post on Watch the Corners here.
12. DZ Deathrays – No Sleep
Directed by Vonne Patiag
The DZ boys know how to make a lot out of a little – hell, prior to this clip, their best-known clip was a one-take for The Mess Up which was just the band doing as many shots as possible. And so, with a small pink backdrop and a comedy superstar, DZ manage to deliver a hilarious twist on a classic video, that being Paul Simon‘s clip for You Can Call Me Al. With Arj Barker taking the place of Chevy Chase, he takes the ball and runs with it, throwing in some ridiculous guitar shredding and bongo solos for extra measure. What you see is what you get with this one – and what you get is awesome lip-syncing, sledgehammers and PUPPIES! Don’t worry, the last two aren’t related.
Read my original post on No Sleep here.
11. Explosions in the Sky – Postcard From 1952
Directed by Peter Simonite and Annie Gunn
Photography and video have gone hand-in-hand forever. There’s been countless music videos that have been made up entirely of photographs, and it’s a really cool and interesting idea when done properly. What’s so fascinating about Postcard From 1952 however, is that it’s a video documentation of the moments that lead up to – as well as the moments that follow after – a photo being taken. It takes the concept of the song’s title and runs with it. The scenery, the costumes, the locations… it’s absolutely breathtaking. It goes to show just how much can go into a solitary moment, a flickering second in time that’s captured. Absolutely wonderful stuff. A true video experience.
Next week… the top 10! It’s all over, dude!
Business time! We’re in the top 20 now and there is NO turning back. Let’s go!
20. Aimee Mann – Charmer
Directed by Tom Scharpling
Oh, Aimee. While most musos your age are meticulously tinkering away on bullshit, you emerge out of nowhere with a delight like this one. The title track to her album is all about the way people perceive you, and in turn how they can be deceived quite easily by such things. Bringing this to life might sound like a bit of a bummer, but Aimee manages to do it with an unshakable smirk and some very entertaining surreal art. After not wanting to go on tour, Mann hires a robot version of herself. All kinds of craziness ensues, as one would expect. But hey, if you can’t laugh at yourself…
Read my original post on Charmer here.
19. Bob Dylan – Duquesne Whistle
Directed by Nash Edgerton
After essentially – and somewhat accidentally – pioneering the conceptual music video all those years ago with Subterranean Homesick Blues, it’s interesting that the only part that Dylan hmself plays in this video is simply strolling the streets with what can only be described as an oddball posse. I wouldn’t even say it’s a sub-plot. He just happens to be there. The true story of Duquesne Whistle is far darker, far more sinister and far more sour than its opening minutes would have you believe. A love story turns into some happy accidents, but those accidents have serious consequences. Is it all about the anguish of true love? Who knows? All you can say is that it’s one of the best videos Zimmerman has ever done.
Read my original post on Duqeusne Whistle here.
18. Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra – Do It with a Rockstar
Directed by Amanda Palmer, Wayne Coyne,
George Salisbury and Michael McQuilken
Well, holy shit. If you’ve been following the first lady of punk cabaret over the years, you’ll be well aware the girl knows how to throw a party or two. But this? This? This is next fucking level entirely. This was the video party of the year, with all apologies to Bieber and his pool crew. Dude, there’s so much glitter! And pole-climbing! And watermelon smashing! Everyone is making out with everyone! It’s at the same time terrifying and exhilarating. So much fun to be had, in such a particularly manic way. Oh AFP, no-one does it better.
Read my original post on Do It with a Rockstar here.
17. The Beards – Got Me a Beard
Directed by Tom Bettany, Michael Bidstrup,
Joshua Fielder, Joel McMillan and Chris Edser
Have you ever felt exiled or alone because of your devotion to your facial hair? The Beards sure as shit have – hence their decision to create this cartoon utopia in which all kinds of beards from all across the world can come together and live in peace. Outside of this bearded heaven is a different matter entirely, of course; as you will well see from the video. But even for a moment, there is justice in a world of beards. What was I saying? Oh, yeah: BEARDS.
Read my original post on Got Me a Beard here.
16. Gotye – Easy Way Out
Directed by Darcy Prendergast
What do you do to follow up one of the most iconic videos of the past 15 years? Well, naturally, you spend nine months on a video that lasts just over two minutes; complete with animation, several different versions of yourself and a dizzying Groundhog Day-esque conceptuality. No, it hasn’t reached the levels of STIUTK either in terms of views or in terms of credit due, but it proves that no matter how big things get for Wally DeBacker, he’s always going to be an extremely creative working mind; continually exploring new ideas and innovations. God bless Wally de Backer.
Read my original post on Easy Way Out here.
And there we go! Fifteen more to go, people!
It’s time to march on, back into the finest videos 2012 had to offer us! We go from anarchic kids to eruptive booty-shaking with these five, so let’s get watching…
25. Jack White – Sixteen Saltines
Directed by AJ Rojas
As pleasant as Love Interruption was as a song, it wasn’t quite the “Oh my fuck, Jack White is back” return kick-in-the-pants that was needed. The boring performance video didn’t help, either. If there was a more drastic change between first and second singles – both musically and visually – in 2012, then I sure as shit didn’t see/hear it. To accompany the Stripes-y rock march, White and AJ Rojas enlisted a team of anarchic tweens to arrive, raise hell and leave within the song’s relatively short running time. For what it’s worth, these little brats make do with what time they have; tearing through abandoned warehouses and smashing shit up. It’s gripping and exhilarating – in other words, Sixteen Saltines was the “Oh my fuck, Jack White is back” moment that I was after.
Read my original post on Sixteen Saltines here.
24. Ben Folds Five – Do It Anyway
Directed by Philip Hodges
Does it feel weird to anyone else that we’re talking about Ben Folds Five in the present again? Not that I’m complaining, of course – after fourteen years, it was such a joy to have these guys doing what they do once again. And what better way to celebrate the return of one of my childhood icons than with another childhood icon – you bet your arse we’re talking Fraggle Rock! The gang invades a recording session of the Five, being produced by a hilarious and hapless Rob Corddry. Naturally, some very cute and very geeky gags ensue. A smile on the dial is pretty much guaranteed here, especially when the cast breaks into the Fraggle theme song at the end. Clap-clap!
Read my original post on Do It Anyway here.
23. Justin Bieber feat. Nicki Minaj – Beauty and a Beat
Directed by Justin Bieber and Jon Chu
PARTY OVER HEE-EEERE! What an awesome effort on the Bieb’s behalf here. At a time where pop videos have more or less been deemed worthless without some form of advertising or whatever, we’re treated here to a delightful romp across what looks like the most truly bitching pool party an eighteen-year-old with an endless jar of wealth to draw from could possibly throw. Angled as “leaked footage” from JB’s phone, this party is impeccably choreographed and smartly paced – like most things in his world these days. For all the flack he still manages to receive from angry neckbeards, this video alone proves that JB has won. This shit is just a victory lap.
Read my original post on Beauty and a Beat here.
22. Benjamin Gibbard – Teardrop Windows
Directed by Tom Scharpling
There’s nothing wrong with being nice – especially in the world of music, where there are simply too many dicks, fuckheads, cunts and arseholes to mention in a single post. Still, we’re eternally drawn to the bad ones, the rebels, the punks who don’t take no shit from no-one. Death Cab for Cutie frontman and eternal nice guy Ben Gibbard is all too aware of this – hence his decision to completely send himself up in this adorable clip. From his Freudian-slip tattoo to the brilliant snippet of would-be reality hit Gibbard House, there is just so much to love about this clip. Even if you’ve never thought much of Ben’s dorky demeanour, don’t worry – Teardrop Windows allows you to laugh with him, as opposed to at him.
21. Diplo feat. Nicky Da B – Express Yourself
Directed by Shomi Patwary
Can a video be judged on the basis of an internet movement? Of course, it depends – but, in this instance, I certainly think it can. Dancehall king Diplo took dance crazes beyond mere horse-riding novelty and took that shit to Twitter. To this day, hundreds of #expressyourself photos are appearing online, doing the infamous booty-bouncing and gravity-defying video from the clip in a variety of scenarios and locations. Of course, none of this would have been possible were it not for the excellence of Express Yourself as a clip to begin with. One of the great things about Diplo has been the way he’s able to expose unique layers of dance culture that don’t always expand beyond their niche; turning them into global phenomena. This is potentially the best example of him doing just that to date. Work it.
Read my original post on Express Yourself here.
Catch up on part 1 here, and we shall see you with even more good times and brilliant clips from the year just past next week! Oh, isn’t it exciting!!
For its third consecutive year, we are back with the best videos of the year! 2010 was a big year for pop, with Lady Gaga taking the top spot. 2011 was an obvious winner, with Gotye and Kimbra facepainting their way to number one. What of this year? Well, it’s an incredibly mixed bag. I had a lot of fun watching and putting this list together, so I do hope very much indeed that you at least find a couple of clips that tickle your fancy. And really, with the amount of different styles and videos on display here, it would take quite a stern reader to not find any enjoyment in this countdown, if I do say so myself!
Alright, let’s begin!
With apologies to: Tom Waits, Childish Gambino, Killer Mike, The Black Keys, Gorillaz, OFF!, Hilltop Hoods, Kimya Dawson, Matt & Kim, Pet Shop Boys, Macklemore and Grizzly Bear.
30. King Parrot – Shit on the Liver
Directed by Dan Farmer
Here was a late-runner in proceedings, but one that scaled the ranks quite quickly – probably as fast as the blast-beats heard throughout the song itself. At a time when a lot of Australian metal dudes are just humourless black-clad fucks stroking their goatees, Melbourne’s King Parrot like to fuck with things just a little. They’re already out their enough as it is with their grindcore-influenced take on metal, but they push the envelope just a little further with this manic video. A limited-budget, once again, proves to have zero correlation with limited imagination. The best Australian metal video in years.
Read my original post on Shit on the Liver here.
29. Liars – Brats
Directed by Ian Cheng
There was always something about Liars that never quite sat right with me. I don’t know whether it was just an air of we’re-so-clever that ticked me off, or their drony monotone vocals that plagued their earlier material. Whatever the case, they have started to impress me more and more lately – and I can’t think of a better example of just how they have done this than with the truly demented video for Brats. At first, it feels like someone on acid playing around with a pre-internet animation computer program. Delving further makes it feel like… well, still like someone on acid doing something. But that’s almost the point. Using incredible motion capture work and a healthy dose of glitching weirdness, Liars are officially out of my bad books. Well played, boys.
28. Solange – Losing You
Directed by Melina Matsoukas
Her moment has arrived. Her time in the shadow of that sibling is officially over. Ladies and gentlemen, Solange Knowles has officially taken to the limelight after several false starts and poor career moves. She did it using this remarkable video as a platform – a technicolour pop dream, full of bright colours, big hair and culture shock. With her most dapper friends in tow, Solange takes to the streets of South Africa and brings her eighties-town beats and sharp fashion with her. This more or less completely encapsulated every thing that is wonderful about Solange – and, better still, what more is to come.
Read my original post on Losing You here.
27. Fiona Apple – Every Single Night
Directed by Joseph Cahill
Many would choose an array of whistles and bells to signal their return after several years in exile. Then again, Fiona Apple always has – and probably always will be – unlike those that would fall into the “many” category. How does she begin her first video in over half a decade? With a make-up artist carefully placing an octopus on her head. Because of course she did. Every Single Night sees FiFi quite literally getting back to nature – burying herself in snails, feeding a crocodile, heaving against an aquarium wall and snuggling up to some kind of centaur. It’s an intensely watchable experience, really; and one that really drives home everything that is fervently creative and wholly unique regarding Ms. Apple. About damn time, too.
Read my original post on Every Single Night here.
26. David Byrne and St. Vincent – Who
Directed by Martin de Thurah
From his shoulder-pad shrugging to continuously slapping himself in the face, David Byrne essentially pioneered the weird-arse dance for music videos throughout the 80s. Now in his early sixties, the man has still got the moves – and here, it’s essentially a case of him passing the torch. On the receiving end is Annie Clark, who we all know and adore as St. Vincent. After Byrne discovers her lying in the middle of the road, it’s time that he teaches her to dance. It’s not long after this that they get other people in on the jig – figuratively and literally. Really, this couldn’t have come from any other duo – it’s jolty and absurdist film-making, bringing out a true sense of oddity that sees two generations of weirdos meld minds and shake hips.
Read my original post on Who here.
Part two up next Monday!