Part two! A very tasty five clips last week, but they’re about to get even better and better! From escalators to James van der Beek and back, let’s edge just a little bit closer to the top 20…
25. Battles feat. Gary Numan – My Machines
Directed by Daniels
It was great to have the brilliant Battles make their return in 2011, proving they still had what it took despite losing vocalist/frontman Tyondai Braxton. Gloss Drop kicked all kinds of arse, and it got even better when they made their return to videos. Bringing along Gary Numan for the ride, this very simple but incredibly effective clip revolves around a single location – an escalator at a shopping mall. Not too enthralling on paper, until a father desperately attempts to grab a dropped present for his son, tumbling down the “up” side of the escalator. A gripping, exciting video that is great for both simply enjoying and for complete and utter over-analysis, which I thankfully haven’t done here but am prone to do from time to time.
Read my original blog on My Machines here.
24. Darren Hanlon – Butterfly Bones
Directed by Natalie van den Dungen
I knew I was going to love this video as soon as I heard about it. One of my favourite directors, Natalie van den Dungen, at the helm (also responsible for Darren’s great All These Things video from 2010, amongst others); as well as two of my favourite Australian actors, Jessica Tovey (Home and Away, Paper Giants) and Rhys Muldoon (The Secret Life of Us, Play School) making appearances. Sure enough, I adored this clip from the very second I saw it: Darren Hanlon is his usual adorable self, the cinematography and locations are utterly gorgeous and even cranky old writer Bob Ellis makes a great cameo with his sole line: “You bastards!” I maintain that anyone who isn’t a fan of Darren’s – especially after seeing his videos – needs a soul.
Read my original post on Butterfly Bones here.
23. Death Cab for Cutie – Home is a Fire
Directed by Shepard Fairey and Nicholas Harmer
Some delightfully clever stuff here from the Death Cab guys, who made one of the year’s most underrated records (in my humble opinion, of course) in Codes and Keys. The video is a collaboration between the band’s bassist, Nick Harmer (also responsible for The Decemberists‘ excellent Sixteen Military Wives video) and prominent stencil artist Shepard Fairey. Fairey is best known for his Andre the Giant Has a Posse and Barack Obama: Hope art, stickers and posters. Stencils featuring the lyrics of Home is a Fire were created and put up and around various city locations, with some wonderful shots of their creation as well as shots of the stencils in relation to their part of the song. It’s an ambitious proejct, but one that has worked significantly in the band’s favour – truly one of their most special videos to date.
Read my original blog on Home is a Fire here.
22. Ke$ha – Blow
Directed by Chris Marrs Piliero
OK, we should probably get the facts out of the way first. I’m not a Ke$ha fan, I don’t enjoy the majority of her music and she often has a tendency of getting on my nerves. That said, I am more than willing to put literally all of my premonitions and grudges aside if it means I get to enjoy this video. I love this fucking video. As far as mainstream top-40 pop clips went this year, few topped Ke$ha’s efforts alongside former Dawson’s Creek heart-throb James van der Beek – or, “James van der Douche,” if you believe Ke$ha’s insults. The two are at some sort of bizarre party where they are essentially the only humans – the rest are unicorns in suits. No shit. The humour is much more knowing and tacky than her previous videos, and the whole thing looks fantastic without the obvious commercial sheen. I’m not going to become her #1 fan overnight, but I’ll be damned if Ke-dollar-sign-ha hasn’t won this round.
21. TV on the Radio – Will Do
Directed by Dugan O’Neil
Been a lot of ups and downs for TV on the Radio this year, but I admire them so much for overcoming the loss of their friend and long-serving bass player Gerard Smith, whom appears briefly in the video, and continue on as a four-piece in support of the excellent Nine Types of Light. It was sudden and devastating, but they’ve risen from the ashes and ultimately triumphed, particularly with some amazing shows in November here in Oz. I’ve always loved the imagination and imagery of TVotR’s videos, but I’ve found this one to be easily the most affecting out of everything they’ve done. It’s bold and very emotional, depicting how blurred the lines can become between fantasy and reality – and, subsequently, just how frustrating that can be for some. It’s heartbreaking, but beautiful to watch – not to mention how beautiful it is to look at, especially in HD. A defintive and powerful clip that stands alone as a work of art as it does an accompaniment.
Read my original blog on Will Do here.
10 down, 20 to go. The suspense, naturally, is killing you.
Catch up on part one here.
Send me your best clips of the year here.
All sorted? Jolly good. This time next week, then.
Hello, hello, hello!
Well, for the past week or so I have been racking my brains. And let me tell you, the brain-racking process is not one to be envied. That said, I’m very glad to finally present this week my first major project for Y,WGAV! – bringing you the thirty best videos of the year just passed. There’s a lot of kerrazy shit that went down in 2010, and I’m going to be very interested to see how it continues on in the new year. For now, though, let’s kick back and have a scroll through the year that was, presenting the finest visual specimen set to some of the year’s best tracks.
30. Big Boi feat. Cutty – Shutterbugg
Outkast were always reliable for some outstanding videos – Ms. Jackson and Hey Ya! amongst the best – but here was a chance for Big Boi, long percieved to be the weaker half of the duo, to prove himself. Impressively, dude hit it out of the fucking park – not only was Shutterbugg easily one of the best songs of the year, it had a crazy good video to back itself up. The shiny, sleek and slightly freaky video saw BB jamming with a puppet band, decapitating himself, rolling in a psychedelic car that changed colours and just generally being a dude – mostly in a tuxedo, naturally. Effortlessly cool. See my original post on the video here.
29. Clare Bowditch and the New Slang – Modern Day Addiction
Clare had an amazing 2010. She released her best album, put together her best backing band and had some killer shows to back it up – I followed the tour for two nights and it was really something quite special; and not just because I was head over heels in love with the backing vocalists (The Lady Garden, as they were known)! Additionally, this happened: a bold, concise and memorable music video, serving up visuals for the song’s extensive metaphor. It might not make sense at first, but give it a chance. This is one that sticks in the memory. See my original post on the video here.
28. Brandon Flowers – Crossfire
B-Flo – it’s his rap name, deal with it – didn’t have a great start to the year. After the passing of his mother, The Killers cancelled most of their Australian tour and announced a hiatus. Things didn’t get much better – his solo album, Flamingo, fizzled due to slow sales, no huge single and generally being a bit of an average affair. One great thing to come out of all of this, however, was the Springsteen-aping single Crossfire and its kickarse video. In a sick little role reversal, it’s Brandon who’s the damsel in distress and Charlize Motherfucking Theron who is the action hero, saving his arse after he inexplicably gets captured by both terrorists and ninjas. Plotless and stupid? Shit yeah. When has that ever stopped something from being awesome? See my original post on the video here.
27. Darren Hanlon – All These Things
Few people in this world make me as happy as Darren Hanlon. For the past half-decade or so, Daz has continually made music and videos that just warm my heart. 2010 was no exception, releasing the wonderful I Will Love You At All and putting out this adorable video. Complete with kitschy dance routines, weird dudes in balaclavas (sp?) and plenty of odd visual gags, it’s a video that consistently entertains and brings warmth and even more loveliness to the song itself – never thought that could be possible! See my original post on the video here – and, if you’re feeling adventurous, listen to my acoustic cover here!
26. Kings of Leon – Pyro
The Kings have always been a bit hit and miss with their videos – they’ve gone from rocking out in the woods to wanky Bon Jovi-esque montage videos. For the first time in awhile, however, they went a bit conceptual to soundtrack what is arguably the best song from Come Around Sundown. The scene could be any dive bar in America, the characters could come from any unfortunate background…but it’s this ambiguity that lures you in, and subsequently keeps you watching until the inexplicable but strangely brilliant conclusion. It’s one for repeated viewings for all the times you don’t get it, but for what it’s worth this could be the band’s best music video yet.
“I swore everything I say is true, on a first-edition copy of Peter Pan…”
Just throwing this one out there – Darren Hanlon has to be one of the nicest, most approachable and genuinely lovely people in Australian music. He’s wonderfully polite and charming in person, he makes consistently good records – this year’s I Will Love You At All very much included – and always manages to put on a wonderful live show to accompany them. He’s also got a slew of adorable videos in his body of work, too, with the latest being this little stretch of the imagination bringing to life one of the many highlights of Darren’s latest album.
In what looks like a high school auditorium, Darren and his female counterpart – played by the lovely Heidi Barrett – move in perfect choreography as they turn the song’s call-and-response into a conversation. It’s a wonderfull low-budget affair, as the two transition from place to place with the use of nothing but simple props and painted backdrops. Though the whole thing will make you want to give both of them the biggest possible hug, my personal favourite scene in the video comes when the two make their way into a closet and come out in a winter wonderland, complete with earmuffs and scarves. And they slide across the hardwood floor as if they’re skating. Oh, the things this did to my heart. Heidi’s smile is infectious, as is Darren’s geeky enthusiasm for the dances. It’s just an insanely hard to dislike video – they’re just so darn lovely! Check this, and then the new album. Go go go.