“But if I was to say I regret it, would it change a thing?”
Sometimes, you just gotta break the rules. I’m usually pretty stringent on not including “performance” videos unless it’s an extreme circumstance. Yesterday, this video came out. I’d consider it pretty fucking extreme circumstances – Haim, the sisters doing it for themselves, have delivered one of the coolest looking pop videos in a damn long time. Like, the thing looks spectacular. And all eyes, naturally, are on them.
Yes, there are some simple performance shots, but that’s not what you’re watching for. Check out when the three are stripped of their instruments and deliver the song with some truly slick choreography as provided by one Fatima Robinson. That name may not seem all that familiar, but perhaps the videos for As Long as You Love Me by the Backstreet Boys and Try Again by the late, great Aaliyah do? That’s Fatima’s work. She brings a vintage style to the clip, all rhythm and popping limbs; while director Warren Fu (Daft Punk, The Killers, The Strokes) adds a sheen and a few well-tapped filters; as well as some sharp camera cuts. The best thing about If I Could Change Your Mind, overall, is the fact it’s a glossy pop video that looks fantastic and doesn’t include a single product placement. We’re kicking it old school here, and that’s exactly what fits.
I’ll decide in a moment’s time, to turn away, leave it all behind…”
The contrast between the last two videos released from Moby‘s new album Innocents could not be greater. The Perfect Life, a collaboration between the big M and Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips, was as extravagant as you’d expect – all rooftop parties and mariachi outfits. This time around, however, we’re dealing with a much more lush and blissed-out song, featuring the dreamy vocals of Damien Jurado. It only fits that we’re dealing with a much more subdued and simple clip – but that doesn’t mean it’s not a wonderful thing in its own right.
Almost Home follows the adventures of a stuffed rabbit and his travels across the country. It’s filmed on super-8, Moby himself cameos as a limo driver and the whole thing apparently had a budget of roughly 10 bucks. It’s a very basic clip, interspersed with footage of Jurado busting it out somewhere completely unrelated to the story. I am simply warmed by its utter charm – Moby doesn’t do videos like this one very often. They serve as a strong reminder of not only how goddamn underrated Moby is, but how sometimes a little rabbit and some steady handheld work is all you need to win the heart of a music video blogger.
What’s up, friends? Thanks for coming back yet again and checking out our little dealio here, as we look back at the best visual counterparts to the songs of 2013. If you missed part one, you can check up on that here. If not, let’s get right back to it!
25. Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Swim and Sleep (Like a Shark)
Directed by Becky and Joe
This groovy tune from the part-Kiwi, part-Portlandian’s second album was certainly one of the more talked-about clips in the indie world this year. It’s safe to say that there was nothing out there quite like it – the imaginative team of Becky Sloan and Joe James (with the clever moniker of Becky and Joe) lured us into the life of a perverted puppet whose life manages to get weirder and weirder by the second. His surrounds and the people in it tend to raise more questions than get answered, but perhaps that’s why it’s such a strangely alluring clip.
24. iwrestledabearonce – Boat Paddle
Directed by Justin Beasley
It’s morphin’ time! In order to save the universe from a giant butt-faced monster – and that’s quite literally what it is, by the way – the guys and girl of IWABO suit up and use the almighty powers of rock & roll. You may have guessed that we’ve gotten to a silly section of the countdown, and you’d be absolutely right. Everything here is as cheesy and hammed-up as you’d expect; very much a reflection on how rare it is that the gang actually take things seriously. They’re just an outrageously fun band – if anyone deserves to be saving the world, it’s gotta be them.
Read my original post on Boat Paddle here.
23. Batpiss – Loose Screws
Directed by Chris Matthews
We all know how this one goes: Boy gets job, boy gets abused at job, boy decides to go on bloody massacre rampage. It’s the oldest trick in the book! Melbourne trio Batpiss pricked up eyebrows across the country with their cartoonishly graphic video, complete with a nod to one of the best videos of 2012 and a finale that no-one could have possibly seen coming. Major kudos to the make-up department, as well as the slab of extras whose campish overacting sell the video even more than it was already being sold. Yet another world-class video from Australia’s relatively-underground scene.
22. Cloud Control – Dojo Rising
Directed by Ian Pons Jewell
A truly international affair if ever there was one: Australian band based in the U.K. enlist London director for a video shot in Bolivia. Yeah, that just about checks out. While we’re at it, why don’t we throw in a dodgy, down-on-his-luck clown and a seemingly-sweet little girl who seeks revenge on said clown ruining her birthday party? Hell, why not? In for a penny, in for a pound. Gorgeously shot and splendidly strange, Dojo Rising proved to be one of the year’s biggest curveballs from a video perspective. It wasn’t what anyone was expecting, but it was sure as hell what we got.
Read my original post on Dojo Rising here.
21. Psy – Gentleman
Directed by Choo Soo-hyun
If 1,877,401,067 YouTube hits can’t be wrong, can 623,110,248? That’s the billion-dollar question, and the answer was a resounding yes. Sure, following up literally the biggest music video of all time was a big ask – but the K-pop superstar took it in his stride and kept things just as outlandish, as extravagant and as hilarious. Not an instant classic, but certainly one guaranteed to raise a smile everytime you see it.
Read my original post on Gentleman here.
What do you think? Leave a comment or an email; and we’ll see you next week!
It’s about that time! We’re back, people. That’s right, YWGAV is not dead – although we were on life support for awhile. It was pretty much a matter of life getting in the way; among all the various other dealios. I’ve got some great plans for 2014, though; and if you’re reading this, I’m really glad that you’ve either come back or just started reading.
So, here’s the deal. We’re going to take a look at the 30 best videos of the year for the fourth year in a row. You can find the starts of the previous lists here, here and here. Once you’re up to speed, we’ll get straight to it! Here, friends, are the top 30 videos of 2013.
WITH APOLOGIES TO: Every other Uncluded video (spoiler alert!), every other Lonely Island video, Beach House, Drake, Haim, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Miley Cyrus, Pharrell Williams, Tyler, the Creator, Lily Allen, Janelle Monae, Yo La Tengo, Violent Soho and Nick van Breda…
30. Arctic Monkeys – Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?
Directed by Nabil
After a boozy night out with the boys, Alex Turner decides to wander over to the house of a girl he fancies. What follows is a brilliantly OTT look at the tricks that play on one’s mind when they are under the influence – or, in Alex’s case, a metric shit-tonne of influences. The direction and cinematography is sharp, the editing is brilliantly shambolic and it’s the best video they’ve made in years. Let’s just ignore the grammatical mess that is the song title and focus in on the video itself.
Read my original post on Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High? here.
29. Major Lazer feat. Peaches & Timberlee – Scare Me
Directed by Brandon Dermer
For all of his action move macho madness, it’s easy to forget sometimes that Terry Crews is the exact kind of crazy and hilarious you’d want out of someone who thrives in such a gravely serious market. For every Expendables, there’s a role in Brooklyn Nine-Nine or teaming up with Tim & Eric on Old Spice ads. So it was a perfect choice to make Crews the live-action Major Lazer as the major is brought into a wild action-packed mission with cameos from The League‘s Nick Kroll, Workaholics‘ Blake Anderson and The Game‘s Lauren London. Kind of wish that this was a TV series – as if you wouldn’t follow the Major anywhere!
28. Darwin Deez – You Can’t Be My Girl
Directed by Keith Schofield
Genuine question: Did we all just completely forget that Darwin Deez existed? I could not tell you the last time I had heard his name before this clip came out. Whatever the case, he certainly made sure we didn’t forget about this brilliant little video. Inserting yourself into footage is nothing new – take the classic Gnarls Barkley video for Smiley Faces as the best possible example of how it’s done – but it’s safe to say that it’s never been done in quite the way that Deez and director Keith Schofield (Duck Sauce, Ladyhawke, Supergrass) took it on. Delving into a myriad of stock footage, it tells the story of a sociopathic onlooker venting his frustrations to anyone that will listen – or, in this case, completely ignore him. It’s about as strange and as remarkable as you’d expect.
27. The Lonely Island – Spring Break Anthem
Directed by Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone
A Lonely Island comeback year always means one thing: Shit-loads of videos. Andy, Jorm and Kiv were no strangers to Y,WGAV! readers in 2013, from the nightclub insanity of Go Kindergarten to the strange bragging rights of Diaper Money. The pick of the lot, however, was easily the original version of Spring Break Anthem. Starting off with a smashing Between Two Ferns highlight reel between host Zach Galifianakis and his guest James Franco, the two somehow end up in the fantasy realm of a Cancun spring break party hosted by TLI. If you know what’s coming next, then… well, you know. For those that didn’t see this the first time around, however… you’re in for a hell of a time.
Read my original post on Spring Break Anthem here.
26. Bloc Party – Ratchet
Directed by Cyriak
It seems like Bloc Party always wait until after they’ve released an album to drop a complete curveball on us. We got it with Flux and One More Chance for the last two albums, and then the hip-hop-flavoured Ratchet dropped in the wake of 2012’s Four album. With the band on break, it was time to dig into the archives – animator extraordinaire Cyriak took apart the videos for Octopus, Two More Years and Helicopter and literally created a monster out of them. Perhaps the single greatest re-use of a videography ever? I would wager so.
Read my original post on Ratchet here.
What do you think so far? Enjoying the videos? See you next week!
“He said that beard accessories were no longer necessities…”
It’s a rough time to be a bearded traveller. For whatever reason, the collective performing visas of The Beards were recently denied by US immigration; forcing the band to cancel their run of North American dates. Heartbreaking stuff – bloody shutdown! What’s going on over there? Apparently a few other bands have had similar issues recently. Regardless, it seems as fitting a time as ever to share with you guys the most sombre tale ever told by the band – which looks to be their last little bit of promo for the Having a Beard is the New Not Having a Beard album.
The band’s fearless frontman, who also works as their keytarist and saxophonist on the side (busy guy!), Johann Beardraven, begins to tell the tale of The Beard Accessory Store in three separate places – the local pub, around the fireplace with the fellow members of the band; and (perhaps most frighteningly of all) in a child’s bedroom. Although they are fairly different circumstances for one to tell a story, he doesn’t change his intensity levels for any of them – he grabs collars, smashes randomly-placed acoustic guitars and pours Jack Daniels into his beer. It’s a pretty full-on story, so probably avoid watching this if you’re beardless or easily frightened. If you’re up for a punishing gut-wrencher of a laugh, though, have we got a surprise for you.
“But if you change your mind, you know where to find me…”
I’ve officially been caught out. Every bit of detail about a music video’s plot, special effects, audience engagement, cinematography, choreography etc. etc. etc. can officially be disregarded. Why? Because I have a new favourite video of the year, and it’s for Girls/Girls/Boys; the third single from Panic! At the Disco‘s outstanding new album, Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die!
So what was it about this video that astounded, arrested and captivated me? Was it the fast-pacing and cultural highjacking, a la my #1 video of 2010, Telephone? How about the striking contrasts and raw emotions, a la my #1 video of 2011, Somebody That I Used to Know? Maybe some deep, shocking moments and devastating plotline, ala my #1 video of 2012, Hey Jane?
Nah. Brendon Urie‘s abs.
Yep, this is a purely indulgent eye-candy fest as P!ATD’s fearless leader does a shot-for-shot remake of D’Angelo‘s classic slow-jam video for Untitled (How Does it Feel). Sexy times clearly call for sexy measures – and things get pretty sexy here, people. Watch out for those lower torso shots, the hair flick and those eyes. If Brendon wasn’t one of your major crushes circa 2005/6, then he’s sure as shit going to make up for lost time here. Let’s call it a guilty pleasure. Guilty as sin.
But wait! There’s more!
Oliver Clark – Atomic Thrust
He’s the man with the sexiest voice in comedy and suits that could make Paul F. Tompkins look like a hobo. Yes indeed, the housewives’ choice Oliver Clark is one for the ages. For the title track of his new album, he decided to put his pelvis to the test; subsequently delivering one of the flat-out funniest videos of the year.
Blood Orange – Chamakay
In which Devonte Hynes goes home. Well, in a traditional sense, anyway. Visiting Guyana for the first time ever, Dev makes his way around the beautiful area and connects with the townsfolk. Parallels can easily be drawn with frequent collaborator Solange‘s wonderful video for Losing You, but not even that can match the tender beauty of seeing Hynes meet and speak with his grandfather for the first time ever. Stunning.
They Might Be Giants – You’re on Fire
They’ve been getting weird since before you were born and they show absolutely zero signs of slowing their roll. Here, they give a spin to the opening track on their sixteenth(!) album, allowing some mince meat to take lead vocals while the gorgeous Lauren Lapkus from Orange is the New Black dances around the kitchen preparing to send it to its impending doom. Because of COURSE that’s what they would come up with.
Miley Cyrus – Wrecking Ball
A lot of people have asked me about this one. Where do I stand? What do I make of it? Now, I’ll be the first to admit it needed an editor, and maybe some restraint on the more… shall we say… ‘out there’ moments. When she’s staring straight down the barrel of the camera, though? I simply cannot deny it. It’s gripping, and it’s honest, and it’s the most real that we’ve ever seen the girl born Destiny Hope Cyrus.
Arcade Fire – Reflektor
What an exciting time to be an AF fan. As the band bravely venture into what may be their weirdest album to date, we’re treated to what may be their weirdest video to date for the album’s title track. Late-night roadtrippin’, mirror suits, giant paper-mache heads, tricked-out caskets… I mean, I’ll be damned if I know what it all means at this point. It looks pretty amazing, though; don’t you agree? What a thrilling video.
Fall Out Boy feat. Big Sean – The Mighty Fall
The saga continues. This year, Fall Out Boy have been releasing music videos for every song from their Save Rock & Roll LP; following a conceptual story about the four members and a secret briefcase which has contents only they (and the villains of the series) know about. There’s been aspects of Stockholm syndrome and Clockwork Orange-esque ultra-violence thus far, and the madness continues here with some all-new characters. Kudos for keeping them guessing, boys.
The Polyphonic Spree – Let Them Be
Following on from the parallel universe of the You Don’t Know Me video, the Spree get animated on the second video from their excellent Yes, It’s True. album. Director Ben Rowe takes the song into a lush dreamscape, enlisting the help of dozens of creepy-crawlies, frogs, aliens and what appears to be an avocado. No, really, it’ll all make sense once you’ve seen it. Well, okay, I won’t make any promises…
Moby feat. Wayne Coyne – The Perfect Life
Oh, come on! It’s Moby and Wayne Coyne in mariachi suits. What joy! What pure, unadulterated awesome have we found ourselves with? If you don’t get a smile out of this one, your heart is dead as dead can be. That’s all that can be said!
Hiya, folks! So, you may have notice we’ve been a little lax on the updates. I’ve been ridiculously busy with other projects that I’ve barely had time for Y,WGAV! Don’t worry, honey, it’s not you – it’s me! Thankfully, we’re back as of tomorrow. But, before we tell you THOSE stories, we have to tell you THESE stories. Here are some of the best videos that have dropped in our absence. And there might be a few more yet to come!
Major Lazer feat. Peaches & Timberlee – Scare Me
Awaken the Major! Following on from their fantastic Eric Wareheim-helmed video for Bubble Butt, the futurista warriors bring their mascot to life in potentially the most awesome way possible – that’s right, kids, this is not a drill. That’s Terry Crews as the Major himself! Hell yeah! Throw in the wonderful Blake Anderson and Nick Kroll to round out an already-awesome cast; matching the high-speed romp to an already-bounding track.
Anika – In the City
Okay, so I know absolutely nothing about this band; where they’ve come from, what they’re doing or even if this is from an album or an EP. Truth be told, I can’t even remember how I was linked to this. All I know is that this is one of the most ridiculously watchable videos of the year. Couldn’t tell you what was going on for the life of me – essentially, I’m like Donkey after watching the DuLoc tourism puppet show in the first Shrek movie. “Wow… let’s do that again!”
Just Blaze and Baauer feat. Jay-Z – Higher
Here’s one out of left-field – an absolute banger from the power trio of Just Blaze, Jay-Z and the one-shake wonder himself, Baauer; set to one of the year’s darkest and most confronting videos. Described as a “short film,” we’re taken into the jungle and into a dangerous, sinister underbelly in which children begin playing with fire; not realising how burnt they will soon become. Pristine cinematography and some genuinely chilling moments. Stellar.
Josh Pyke – Warm in Winter
The reliably-lovely Pykey has given us some very sweet videos over the years, particularly from his second studio album Chimney’s Afire which sported the distant dreaming of The Summer and the motherfuckin’ guitar boat of Make You Happy. Here, JP soundtracks a blossoming friendship between a homeless girl and a homeless… wolfman? It’s got a human body and a cartoon wolf head. You do the maths on that one. They don’t say a word between them, but the way it plays out says it all.
Avril Lavigne – Rock & Roll
Damn you to Hell, Chris Marrs Piliero! This guys has to be the best pop video director around – he’s managed to not only elevate average songs into flat-out awesome ones with his clips (see: Britney Spears‘ I Wanna Go); but he also manages to make clips that make allies out of former Y,WGAV! enemies (see: Ke$ha‘s brilliant video for Blow). This time around, he’s giving the treatment to longtime frenemy of the blog Avril Lavigne, throwing her into a Tank Girl-esque action parody that borrows from MCR, GnR and plenty of other three-letter acronyms. Like RnR! Heh? See what I did there?
TV on the Radio – Million Miles
Here’s a blissful and serene clip from one of my all-time favourite bands, getting back to nature in the most endorphin-releasing sort of way. A gardening show filming goes awry, leaving one of the hosts to go Kanye on the whole thing as they go off-script and head to the soapbox. When the host is removed, she decides to bring the entire crew along with her for the ride. Weird and wonderful, the exact kind of concoction that has made this band one of my most beloved over the past few years or so.
Crayon Pop – Bar Bar Bar
This. Shit. RULES.
More later today!