Hey gang! So, we’re not particularly denominational here at Y,WGAV!, but it’s still a place where any holiday is celebrated. Whatever you got, we’ll gladly take the day off to celebrate it. In this instance, we’ve got the Easter long weekend to look forward to – a spiritual time for some, but for most just another excuse to send ourselves into a confectionery-induced coma. To celebrate, here are five videos that will annihilate your sweet tooth. Chocolate, ice cream, lollies… it’s too good to be true!
5. New Young Pony Club – Ice Cream
Within the first 20 seconds, there’s a glorious spinning shot of sticky sweetness in a conglomerate of gooey candy – bullets, licorice, teeth, jellybeans etc. It’s a low-budget delight for the senses, really – and that’s not even mentioning knockout lead singer Tahita Bulmer. Simple pleasures are always the greatest.
4. Craig David – What’s Your Flava?
Here’s a blast from the past – suffering from Second Album Syndrome, Craig David tried to rustle up some interest in his new gear with this dorky homage to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. As lame as it is, credit where credit’s due: he actually runs a fairly solid parody that runs with the plotline of the original story. Oh, and he travels down a chocolate river. There’s no earthly way of knoooowiiiing…
3. Rainbow Chan – Sweet Tooth
Here’s one a bit out of the ordinary , to say the least. One of my favourite Sydney artists, Rainbow Chan (yes, that IS her real name!), a few months ago took the initiative of having multi-coloured ice-cream melted and dripped onto her from above. It sounds a bit weird – and by god, it is. What can’t be denied, however, is just how watchable it is. There’s something strangely beautiful about a woman eating a snake lolly while being completely covered in rainbow ice-cream. And I never thought I’d say that.
2. Shanks & Bigfoot – Sweet Like Chocolate
Perhapsthe definition of a one-hit wonder. No-one had heard of Shanks & Bigfoot prior to the late nineties, and no-one has heard from them since. With their sole hit single, however, S&B inspired a whole generation of chocolate lovers. I loved this adorable fantasy chocolate world as a child, and it still brings out the child in me to this day.
1. Katy Perry feat. Snoop Dogg – California Gurls
Yeah, sorry Shanks – but not even your land of chocolate can compete withKaty Perry shooting cream out of her glorious tits.
Happy Easter, kids, hope you enjoy your holidays. We’ll be back on Monday, bellies full and eyes square from watching so many videos. Good times!
You guys! This is it!
I’ve teased you for long enough, dragged this fucker out as far as I could possibly stretch it. Now, at the end of the month, you all finally get to experience the ten best music videos released before December 31st, 2011 and after December 31st, 2010. Here, boys and girls, are Yes, We’ve Got a Video!‘s top ten for 2011!
10. Bon Iver – Holocene
Directed by Nabil Elderkin
I’ve often said that the best music videos can create a perfect atmosphere for the song that is its soundtrack. Many fine examples of this are scattered throughout the top 30, but I feel like very few came as close to this than the effort for Bon Iver‘s second single from the strangely-titled Bon Iver, Bon Iver. Shot in the breathtakingly gorgeous surrounds of Iceland, a little boy wordlessly explores parts of this glorious country. It almost feels as though time is slowing down when you watch this video, taking in the excitement and the awe and the utter wonder that comes with this little boy. It’s a video in which you can’t just watch while you’re doing other things, checking emails or poking the person you like on Facebook or whatever else have you. It’s a full involvement – and this alone should serve as proof that the art of the music video is not dead. Videos like Holocene matter – and if you didn’t know that already, perhaps now is the time.
Read my original blog on Holocene here.
9. SebastiAn – Embody
Directed by So Me
Here’s a left-field smash from a couple of eccentric Parisians – director So Me and electronica producer SebastiAn. The latter is certainly not one to shy away from confronting and confusing imagery – you only have to take one glimpse at his album cover for Total, in which he is making out with himself, to know that. Teaming up with So Me seemed to be the perfect match, then, as the robotic electronica track is turned into the soundtrack for a peculiar tale of dancing, imagination and being lost in the music. The entire time, the viewer is left to wonder how much of this is “real” – or, at least, as “real” as something can get in a music video context. The ending won’t help, either way. It’s all still up in the air. What does this young man represent as he dances throughout the town and in a variety of situations? I say it all depends on how much you invest in Embody, and how you respond on an emotional basis to this seemingly surreal montage. There are dozens of end results, subsequently, and that’s part of what makes this such an excellent video. Nothing quite like it came out in 2011.
8. Brendan Maclean – Cold and Happy
Directed by Peter Ireland
Top ten twice in a row? You’d better believe that Brendan Maclean and Brisbane director Peter Ireland are onto something. After the wild circus-tent madness that was Practically Wasted, the opening number from B-Mac’s White Canvas EP, the second single was a more subdued affair – initially, at least. Maclean has gone from a manic split personality of the slave and the master to a humble bingo night runner. It all seems sweet, up until a cheeky elder citizen decides to do something a little different with dessert than just eat it. You’ve probably guessed where this is headed, but it’s not the predictability that is Cold and Happy‘s selling point. It’s the utter charm of the thing – the liveliness, the sweet nature, the subtle streak of naughtiness. Cold and Happy is a joy to watch, every single time.
Read my original blog on Cold and Happy here.
7. Tyler, the Creator – Yonkers
Directed by Wolf Haley
Kanye West had no bones about straight-up calling this “the video of the year.” Not too outlandish – except, let’s remind you, that he said this back in February, when the video was released. Nearly a year on and he’s not too far from the truth. How could Yeezy – as well as Tyler, the Creator himself – have gotten it so right? After all, it’s not like Yonkers sets out to be anything inventive or fun – it’s quite intentionally an off-putting and ugly video. Shot in ghoulish black and white, Tyler raps on a chair before eating a cockroach, vomits and then hangs himself. It’s vile, it’s indulgent, it’s creepy, it’s… well, it’s utterly watchable and completely fascinating. For all of its efforts to turn Tyler into a vile creature, it becomes increasingly difficult to turn away from the video – no matter how much the envelope is pushed. Having Tyler himself as the central character with literally no-one else apart from the aforementioned cockroach in the video also engages you as a viewer in a very confronting one-on-one perspective. To me, Tyler was easily the water cooler act of the year – from this to the controversy surrounding the Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All crew, it seems that nearly every music fan was discussing this very peculiar young man. I think the greatest thing that can be said, though, is this: whether you were a fan of the group or whether they sent you into a hyperbolic “think of the children” frenzy not seen this side of when Eminem was relevant, Tyler, the Creator made music fans feel something either way. Bold and brazen, Yonkers was definitely a clip that needed to be seen to be believed.
6. Katy Perry – Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)
Directed by Marc Klasfield
I feel like there’s been a major renaissance in the top 40 pop video in the past few years. You could certainly link this to acts like Lady Gaga, who took out the top spot in last year’s countdown with flying colours thanks to the game-changing Telephone. Overall, though, I think it’s just a case of a lot of pop acts realising that there is more to a clip than just to move numbers, and for gratuitous bitches and bling. It’s an art form, and one that can be celebrated no matter what walk of musical life you come from. Sadly, aside from outstanding efforts from both Ke$ha and Britney Spears, no pop act quite managed to cause quite the frenzy that Gaga did last year – not even Gaga herself, with a slew of mostly quite disappointing videos from her batch of Born The Way singles. May it be put on the record, however, that the divine miss Katy Perry came the absolute closest.
A singles and video machine, Perry secured two positions in last year’s countdown for Firework and California Gurls, but in 2011 she managed to make a video that was greater than all of her previous ones combined. Put quite simply, Last Friday Night was the pop video event of the year. Amazing, then, that this happened without Perry herself even appearing in the video. Not even once! There was a young lady who looked remarkably like her, though – thirteen-year-old Kathy Beth Terry, a daggy teen who simply got caught up in a whole heap of craziness one Friday night. Whilst trying to study, she became distracted by the party across the road, hosted by the adorable Rebecca Black; furiously heading over there to sort out the mess. The rest, as they say, is history: Hanson rock up, Kenny G plays a sax solo, Artie from Glee falls in love and kicks arse… all in all, it’s one hell of a party.
This easily set itself up as one of the most fun-loving and delightful viewing experiences of the year. The whole team really went all-out here, delivering a gorgeously glossy pop video that truly did take the meaning of the song to another level. The chunks of pop-culture-reference gold also makes this a must-see video for all pop trainspotters out there. See if you recognise who the parents of Kathy are near the end of the clip, for instance! There’s just so much to enjoy about this. Don’t act like you’re too cool for it.
Read my original blog on Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.) here.
5. Manchester Orchestra – Simple Math
Directed by Daniels
Pretty much anyone who’s heard more than a fleeting moment of Manchester Orchestra‘s music is sure to confirm that this isn’t an act that does things half-heartedly. They are an all-in, often quite heart-wrenching experience – and that’s just from listening to them. It gets all the more powerful when given an audio-visual aspect, as proven with this stunning visual companion to the title track of the band’s excellent third album. In this clip – the second appearance in the countdown from the unstoppable Daniels direction team – a series of road-related experiences are tied together in a seemingly jumbled memory. It takes awhile for the whole thing to sink in and be properly understood, but holy mother of God when this thing hits…it hits hard. Artistic beauty, and something that everyone involved should be so incredibly proud of.
Read my original blog on Simple Math here.
4. World Order – Machine Civilisation
Directed by Genki Sudo
“I am around the odd section of YouTube once again,” exclaims a user of the site, commenting on a music video. It’s a common expression amongst users, often going down “holes” (in which one clicks on a related video, then the a related video of that related video, and so on), often coming across very bizarre and crudely-made videos the further they go down said “hole.” Were such a hole to lead them to something as original, creative and downright awe-inspiring as Machine Civilization, the stunning music video from Japanese collective World Order, one would have to think that the destination was more than worth the journey.
What can be said about a video that is bound to leave you speechless? A team of seven men – including Genki Sudo, the brains behind World Order and the director of the video – begin their journey at what appears to be Tokyo airport. From there, they defy both time and physics with some out of the ordinary choreography, moving from seaside wharfs to industrial lots with their shapeshifting dances. I’m not sure if dancing is the right word for it, but whatever they are doing… man, some of it just defies belief. If this video doesn’t make you stop dead in your tracks at least half a dozen times, you’re not watching the right video.
It’s worth mentioning all of it was done in real-time, too – all that shit that looks as though it’s totally warped and slowed down is a genius optical illusion. No kidding. Machine Civilisation is a shining example of exactly what can happen when one ends up on the odd section of YouTube. A song brought to life in a way that no-one could have seen coming.
3. Kimbra – Cameo Lover
Directed by Guy Franklin
To me, the most powerful command issued in pop music all year was probably the most simple – “Open up your heart!” as sung by the stunning Kimbra Johnson. Her noble quest to get the person on the receiving end of said command is brought to life through this clip, making for some absolutely wondrous results. It’s been a fantastic year for Kimbra, dropping her debut album in Vows and selling out shows all around the place. For all those achievements, though, I can’t help but feel nothing quite compared to the outright endorphin-releasing delights of the Cameo Lover video. Can you blame me? Have you seen this thing? With its technicolour landscape, delightful costumed characters… oh, and that ENDING! Holy shit, I don’t think any video has quite responded to the glory of a key change in such gorgeous fashion. I have watched this video possibly more than I have watched any other clip this year, and it still makes me as giddy as anything when I watch it. It’s just an absolute treat for the senses. Exactly why the hell HAVEN’T you opened up your heart yet?
Read my original blog on Cameo Lover here.
2. Children Collide – Loveless
Directed by David Michôd
Sometimes, sacrifices are made in order to create a great music video. It could be doing some crazy shit with fire, some mad stunts, even learning to jump rope (as the previously-listed Bluejuice had to do). In this instance, Children Collide‘s frontman Johnny Mackay sacrificed his most defining visual aspect – his long flowing locks – in order to create this dark, confronting and shatteringly powerful video. Seemingly not a big sacrifice – surely rockstars get a slab of “get a haircut” jibes all the time. Not only is this Children Collide’s best video, it’s amongst one of the greatest works of art this country has produced in the last few years. Hyperbole? Sure, if you want to play it like that. But watch this video from start to finish, without any distractions, and just see if it doesn’t feel like the visual equivalent of being punched in the guts.
There is no escaping Mackay’s desperation as he sits close to the camera, spitting out the lyrics with the kind of cathartic vitriol you can only imagine was in his mind when he wrote them to begin with. He begins with a headful of hair and a face full of clown make-up, both of which are forcefully taken from him as he sits there and gets what is coming to him. As the lyrics describe the demise of a relationship, Mackay himself lets go of everything resembling him – including playing the clown, explaining the Joker-esque makeup. An obvious metaphor, maybe, but don’t like it didn’t paint you curious the second his face appeared on-screen.
While there are a lot of very broad and powerful expressions here, I found the most impact in the subtler moments of the clip. Director David Michôd, responsible for the landmark Animal Kingdom, holds down Mackay in one scene with a firm headlock – a small but startling part of proceedings. At the very end, Mackay also runs his hands through his newly shaved head and freshly clean face… only for us as the viewers to find that he has been handcuffed this entire time. It slays me every time – this tiny little twist, one that most might not even pick up the first time around; representing the trapped, helpless feelings conveyed throughout both the song and the video. And it’s moments like these that make this video what it is. Loveless is a deeply personal and often quite scathing vision – essential viewing, but it may cut much too close to the bone for some. In many ways, that’s the point.
Read my original blog on Loveless here.
1. Gotye featuring Kimbra – Somebody That I Used to Know
Directed by Natasha Pincus
Yep. You probably guessed it. Maybe I’m that obvious, or maybe you’ve found this whole list to be predictable. Or – maybe, just maybe, there was absolutely no contest as to who would take out the top spot when it came to the year’s greatest videos. Think about it for just a second. Has any video from this year generated this kind of response? This kind of movement? This kind of emotional reaction? This many bloody reposts on Facebook? This was the year that Wally de Backer – best known to you and I as Gotye – became perhaps the most unlikely popstar Australia has produced this century, aside from maybe Luke Steele. Eyes Wide Open got the ball rolling – it fell just shy of our top 10 last year, coming in at number 11 – but the song and video phenomenon of Somebody is where the tide truly changed.
With body paint, stop-motion photography and no-one except Gotye and miss Kimbra Johnson (back so soon, ma’am?) in the video, this was a shining example of a living, breathing work of art. It takes you by surprise the first time. “Were they really butt-naked? That’s how much of their body covered in paint? How are they both that good-looking?” Maybe that last one’s just me. The second time, you notice the littler things – the apathy in Wally’s eyes in the first verse, the passion of that first chorus and the way he just winces as though a band-aid has been torn off his person after Kimbra sings to him.
As for Kimbra, it’s in the way she shrugs her shoulders and glides to his side. It’s that look of utter desperation and remorse when she howls into Wally’s face, while he never makes eye contact. By the time he does, it’s too late. They stare at one another from a distance – longingly, regrettibly – before it suddenly cuts to black. It should be noticed that this is when they are simply observed. It’s in the views that come after this – and, for most, there were more than plenty – in which the smaller pieces of the puzzle truly began to be felt. For many, it hit like a truck – whether you had felt the pain of either character, whether you were in the right or in the wrong, this video resonated. It smacked you in the face. It really made you think. With all of that in mind, how many videos can you honestly say has done that to you in this, or any other year?
Somebody That I Used to Know is a unique, artistic experience. A video that will certainly grow iconic in its status. A video that notched up the bar for Australian music videos and music video makers (kudos, Natasha Pincus) and still managed to clear it.
Video of the year? Of course – it’s the obvious choice, after all.
Read my original blog on Somebody That I Used to Know here.
That’s it! Thanks so much to all of the artists, all of the directors, all of the producers, cinematographers… EVERYONE who worked on these videos! Your efforts are remarkable, and if I could have given you anything more than my highest of accolades than I would in a heartbeat!
Yes, We’ve Got a Video! resumes normal programming this time next week. Until, then, make sure you’re caught up with the following:
Don’t forget to leave a comment below; or, of course, drop me an email!
See you guys soon!
“I hope you are happy, ’cause I’m about to blow up…”
Oh, Rebecca. My dear, sweet young Rebecca. My Moment? You had your moment – turn up as a novelty every now and then, maybe star in a few more Katy Perry videos if the time felt right. Your moment could have involved getting back to your normal life, before the whole Ark Music thing made you infamous. Anything, really – except this. I really didn’t want to bore it up you, but I mean…really? This? At the very fucking least, Friday was enjoyable on an ironic level. There’s nothing for this. It’s not hilariously bad, so-bad-it’s-good…hell, it’s not even catchy. And as for the video, young lady, what a mess!
This honestly looks as though the production team have thought long and hard about which of the biggest cliches of pop videos they should use, before snapping and saying “Fuck it, we’ll use them all.” Jamming with a band when there are no instruments apart from keyboards and a drum machine? Check! Dance studio? Check! Paparazzi shooting for no reason whatsoever? Check! Wind machine? Motherfucking CHECK. The whole thing feels even more contrived than Friday – if that was humanly possible to begin with. I really don’t want to stay mad at Rebecca – I follow her on Twitter, after all, and she seems like a lovely girl. This, however, is a shit sandwich. The moment’s gone.
“I think I need a ginger ale, that was such an epic fail…”
So, in the week that I was burying myself in work and gigs and writing and all that shit, a pretty big party went down. Katy Perry told me about in on Twitter – you know Katy, right? She featured pretty prominently in my top 30 videos of 2010, and she hangs out with cool people like Kanye West. What Katy neglected to tell me, however, is that she has a younger cousin – a sweet little dork by the name of Kathy Beth Terry. Kathy is 13 and likes Weenie Babies and science fairs, but apparently also has a bit of a wildside. In this eight-minute spectacular, you shall bear witness to the party of the year.
How big is this party? DUDE! Some of the guys from Glee are there! The Hanson brothers are there! Friend of the blog Rebecca Black is there! Kenny G is there! Kenny fucking G! Does it get any better than that? Ohhh, Kathy, you sure know how to party. Some of the shit that goes down in Last Friday Night is simply ridiculous – this is a video that has to be seen to be believed. The competition for the best video of the year hasn’t so much heated up as turned into a sizzling inferno, and I blame Kathy! You’ve given your cousin Katy what is potentially her best video from Teenage Dream – and that is some fucking TIGHT competition, girl. Holy cow. Anyway, chekkit if you haven’t already. Getting down on Friday will never be the same again.
“Could you be the Devil? Could you be an angel?”
Katy Perry is just getting a ridiculous kind of big this year. The media drool over every move her and Russell Brand make, she released a killer sophomore album last year which produced not one, but two of my favourite videos of 2010, and now she’s on some next level shit with the one and only Kanye West. Admittedly, E.T. wasn’t my next choice for single from Teenage – I would have probably gone either T.G.I.F. or Circle the Drain. Thankfully, the track has been kicked up a notch with some great remixing, new beats and the robo-rap genius of Yeezy.
As for the video, I believe the phrase “holy shit” was invented specifically for moments like these. Katy’s a freaking alien, ‘Ye is floating in some kind of space dimension and there’s a tonne of crazy sci-fi shenanigans for all. This is easily the most ambitious video Katy has put her name to, and it’s one that is sure to divide fans. For my two cents, however, I really love this video. It’s a bold expression to put forth – especially when she’s in a position to be easily able to play it safe. Interested to know what you think…
You’ve waited long enough – or not at all, depending on whether you’ve read this blog before or not. Regardless, this has been a really fun countdown and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it. Here are the ten best videos released within the year 2010. We’ll get back to bitching about shitty nineties videos this afternoon. As you were!
10. Janelle Monae feat. Big Boi – Tightrope
The funky was most certainly on section in the Metropolis when Janelle nailed this brilliant, shiny spectacle of a music video. Introducing the world to her bizarre, futuristic universe, Monae made this a video of several important lessons. Firstly, she is an incredible talent when it comes to…well, everything she does. Secondly, Big Boi still knows how to absolutely kill a verse, which he would later prove with his awesome solo record. Most importantly, however, it taught us how to do THE dancemove of 2010 – the motherfucking Tightrope.
Devastatingly cool, it was very easy to get caught up in the pure frenzy of this video – and perhaps the best part of it was that it didn’t get old or become tired after multiple views. You’re still there, dancing your fucking genitals off. Right on, Janelle.
9. Mark Ronson and the Business Intl. feat. Q-Tip and MNDR – Bang Bang Bang
Well, now. Here’s one way to make an impression upon your comeback. For those who had no idea of the imminent return of Mr. Mark Ronson, this was a perfect re-introduction. No horns, no Motown, no Amy Winehouse…this one’s all about sharp suits, Tron-like graphics and a magic watch that can pretty much do anything as presented on a Japanese talk show where the host is speaking French. Confused? Good, that’s exactly what Ronson wants.
Bang Bang Bang is trippy, and maybe just a little freaked-out, when it comes to its music video. Conceptually, it’s killer – a really fun and inventive insight into Ronson’s imagination. Watch out for the awesome breakdancing kids and MNDR just generally being sexy as the particular highlights, but really, there’s plenty to be enjoyed in basically every second of this.
8. Gorillaz feat. Bobby Womack and Mos Def – Stylo
The Gorillaz team have never made a video that isn’t awesome. Simple fact of life, that one. What they’ve never tried before, however, is a video on THIS level of awesome. Here’s the skinny: It’s 2D and Murdoc in a car, being chased…by Bruce Willis. That name once again is Bruce. Fucking. Willis.
It’s all craziness to see who outruns who in this thrilling vid, which also saw the premiere of the Gorillaz’ new 3D look…well, for half of them, anyway. Noodle has apparently been turned into an android and Russell is about the size of an average whale upon diving into radioactive waters swimming towards Plastic Beach. What, you think I’m too caught up in the characters of Gorillaz? Maybe I am – but, if anything, that is a complete credit to the work of the people behind the act itself. I’ll always be at least partially obsessed with Gorillaz, and Stylo has done nothing to buck that trend.
7. Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
Another vivid display of beauty came, typically, from Arcade Fire – perhaps even more typically, in their collaboration with Spike Jonze. Dealing with some of the major themes which are found within the album, this is a twisted, haunting view of the insecurities, frustrations and fear that can come with seemingly innocent suburban life.
It probably won’t be a video that you particularly “get” or have a complete understanding of, but in a way that’s not quite the point of The Suburbs. It’s a video that’s open to interpretation and discussion, and it’s sure to have a lot of different ideas circulating around it. The way I see it, however, is that it’s an extended metaphor – it might seem safe to lock yourself in the suburbs, but when war comes knocking, the first people the suburbanites will turn against is one another. Make of that – and this video – what you will.
6. Brendan Maclean – Practically Wasted
The highest-ranking Australian video of the countdown doesn’t go to the most popular Australian artist, nor one with the biggest budget. Why Brendan Maclean made unquestionably the best Australian music video of 2010 was purely on the basis of his imagination and flair for creative, exciting ideas within the short space of three minutes.
Maclean basically went nuts with his first-ever music video, taking a bizarre split-personality concept and quite literally taking it to the circus. Whips, chains, cages and drumming midgets ahoy! This was the first video that was ever blogged about on Y,WGAV!, and I’m incredibly proud to see how it’s stood the test of time. A remarkable achievement from an artist that can only get better and better from here.
5. Katy Perry feat. Snoop Dogg – California Gurls
The biggest, brightest, boldest and cutest pop video of 2010. Almost blindingly colourful and exuberant, Perry made a huge statement with this video – first and foremost that the bitch was indeed back, but also a statement that showed there was still room for inventiveness within the mainstream pop music video.
Yes, there was plenty of T &A – as you’ll find with so many of her peers’ videos – but there was amazingly still a totaly innocence about it for the most part of this video. This is a magical candy land, there for Katy’s taking, where everything is sugary sweet – except for those jelly baby things that KP off in the first verse. It’s hard not to get lost in the alternate reality, where candy rules and jellybean pimps get buried in the sand up to their heads. Oh, also, I’m not sure if this has been mentioned but SHE SHOOTS WHIPPED CREAM FROM HER TITS. That is all.
4. Hot Chip – I Feel Better
There were some wonderful, clever and hilarious videos that were scattered throughout 2010, as you’ve seen ever so clearly throughout this list. With that being said, I put it to you that there was no video in 2010 that was THIS wonderful, THIS clever and THIS hilarious in addition to being THIS friggin’ weird. Yes, Hot Chip‘s unforgettable lazer-eyed rampage against the manufactured pop treadmill was my easy pick for this year’s biggest “WTF” moment when it dropped around mid-year.
Who the fuck is that guy? Why does he have no hair? How is he levitating? Wait…what the FUCK did he just do to the shirtless guy? Was that Hot Chip in the crowd? Holy SHIT, what the hell is that thing?…you get the idea. This video is a complete mindfuck – savage in its humour and just a little goofy for good measure. You’ll be laughing for days and reeling in the corner from shock for a little bit more.
3. OKGO – This Too Shall Pass
In a double whammy, who else but the clever bastards from OKGO to get two videos for the same song tied in the top five? The marching band version was an ambitious attempt from the band, literally performing the song live in the middle of a forest in the style of a marching band – big drums, uniforms, the lot. Swamp monster jumped up to join them on wind instruments before a whole horn section took over and everyone went crazy. It’s a really fun video, and another risky one-take concept that works beautifully. If they’d just left it at that, we’d have all been happy – but no, there was even better things to come.
We were promised a new video for the studio version of the single, and there was a chance it would pass even their crowning achievement of Here It Goes Again. Now, I’m not one to get ahead of myself, but I honestly believe that they may well have made their best video ever in the form of round two of This Too Shall Pass.
The effort they went to, the cleverness of it and the fact that you could always pick up something new upon each and every view. Circulating around what’s called a Rube Goldberg machine, the camera follows through a variety of fascinating objects that you wouldn’t normally expect in such a contraption. My personal favourites include the puppet version of the band, the sneaky plug for the album (Of the Colour of the Blue Sky) and – perhaps the most symbolic of all – the smashing of several TVs that happen to be playing the Here It Goes Again video. Subliminally bitchy? Who knows? All I can say is that OKGO fucking nailed it. Again.
2. Arcade Fire – The Wilderness Downtown (We Used To Wait)
You may be wondering why there is no embedded video. It’s simple, really – this video depends entirely on you. Yes, you. To participate in this experiment, all you need to do is type in the location of the area in which you grew up. From there, you get lost in this beautiful experiment that has significantly pushed the boundaries of the music video by introducing the factor of interactivity. Literally unlike any other video of 2010. To make your own, visit www.thewildernessdowntown.com
1. Lady Gaga feat. Beyonce – Telephone
Technically, this one shouldn’t even be on the list. In the time since its release, we’ve seen Telephone evolve beyond a music video and into a complete cultural phenomenon – a milestone of pop culture by which all other music videos, genre regardless, will be compared against. Borrowing from Tarantino (literally), classic Hollywood horror, New York modern art, spaghetti westerns and vintage science fiction, Gaga created something peculiar, entrancing and, above all, big.
How big are we talking here? Let’s put it purely in the perspective of its impact – there were evening news reports on the video. The blogosphere lost its collective shit. Within hours, there were Facebook fan pages for everything from quotes (“You’ve been a very, very, very bad girl, Gaga”) to props used (“Lady Gaga’s cigarette sunglasses”) from the Telephone video. From MTV to the LA Times and back, you couldn’t have been on a single pop culture related website for at least a fortnight without major discussion of Telephone going on. Even FOX News got in on the hype, with Culture Campaign leader Sandy Rios describing the video as “poison for the minds of our kids.” Charming.
Now, to validate this frenzy – what is it that makes Telephone so remarkable? Buddy, how long have you got? There is so much going on here – from fierce commentary on sexuality and the damaging ways of the celebrity rumour mill, all the way into popcorn-horror fantasy and bitingly ironic product placement. Gaga, in collaboration with director Jonas Åkerlund, was not intending to reflect any world but her own, any imaginative vision than one of hers. In short, this ten-minute saga is completely insane. With that said, that’s exactly why it worked so well. I mean, the lesbian makeout scenes? Wrapping herself in caution tape? Dancing around with who many agree to be the sexiest woman alive in order to celebrate mass death by poison? Sepearately, none of this should work at all, but when you throw it all together it becomes this beautiful, unforgettable mess.
Any edited version you have seen of this video is nothing short of an insult. Either take it in its unabridged glory or not at all. Whatever your experience or interpretation of Telephone, to deny its importance and its significance is nothing short of dumbfounding. Gaga has been building up to something big with her videos – including Bad Romance, which is officially the most watched music video in online history – but with Telephone, she has undoubtedly cemented her legacy. We’ll be looking back on this one in years to come as a turning point, believe you me.
25. Otouto – W. Hillier
Stunning, simple and classy, I love rewatching this video from one of the best new bands in Australia. The dance routine, similar to the music itself, is very delicately arranged, perfectly synchronized and a complete joy to watch. The best part, however, has to be watching all three band members – Hazel, Martha and Kishore – dancing along with the No Lights No Lycra team and getting the choreography perfect. Now THAT is dedication to one’s art, people! See my original post on the video here.
24. Art vs. Science – Magic Fountain
2010 saw the AvS gents take the throne as the official partystarters of Australian music – a pretty awesome title to have, if you ask me. They visualised this in their second ever music video, Magic Fountain, in which a mad scientist blast some wicked beats through a suit made entirely out of speakers, making everybody dance as soon as they get caught up in the sounds. It’s wildly imaginative and a very fun watch – it’s great to see more Australian acts thinking outside the square with their music videos; and Art vs. Science are no exception. You’ll see my blog on their new video, Finally See Our Way, soon; but for now, you can view my original post on this video here.
23. Katy Perry – Firework
I think this one is all about the context for me. On its own, it’s a visual ode to being different and standing up for oneself. Add in the fact that Perry herself dedicated it to the It Gets Better campaign and it takes on a deeper meaning. It’s not everyday that a mainstream pop star will make such bold sociopolitical statements, let alone promote the idea that being different is something to aspire to. It’s for this reason that I commend Katy’s vision in this video, creating something affecting in addition to being visually spectacular.
22. Kylie Minogue – All the Lovers
Oh, come ON! It’s Kylie, with a bunch of sexy half-naked people making out in a pile. Does this one REALLY need an explanation?
21. Hollerado – Americanarama
One of the great left-field successes of music videos in 2010, this one came from a little known indie rock band looking to do something that was, in their own words, “cheap and fun.” They put together this amazing video with a group of friends and a budget of roughly four grand, and filmed the entire thing in one take. It might seem impossible when you watch it for the first time, but all it took was a little bit of speed changing and everyone managed to get it together. Will this bring them an OKGO-esque level of video notoriety? Guess only time will tell, but this is a pretty fucking great start, don’t you agree?
“You think I’m pretty without any makeup on, you think I’m funny when I tell the punchine wrong…”
Katy Perry has gotten herself to quite the sweet position in pop culture, with numerous number ones, a fiancee almost as famous as her in Russell Brand and a likable, freewheeling personality that comes across in both her interviews and music videos – she doesn’t take herself too seriously and she doesn’t attempt to act smarter than she is. In short, I like Katy a fair deal – which is why I fear for what may happen next to her on account of this video. I predict conservative groups and “concerned” parents going on a witch hunt after they see this in the flesh – literally.
As the song itself suggests, the video is about being young, dumb and in love – it’s a California dreaming fantasy without the candyland of the California Gurls video. Gorgously shot throughout Santa Barbara (Perry’s hometown, no less), you see Perry cruising the highway, partying with friends, going to the beach at night and canoodling around with the man of her dreams, played by one Josh Kloss. The cinematography here is absolutely stunning, with a slight touch of graininess giving the entire thing a feeling of a time now long passed – that might sound a little weird, but try watching the beach and car scenes in particular and see if I’m right or not. The scene I’m most concerned about, however, probably won’t make it onto morning TV – Perry and her boytoy creep into a hotel room and get bizzay. None of this clothing shit, either – we’re talking dresses being ripped off and lots of sweaty male muscliness. Oh god yes. It’s all a part of the concept, but my main concern is parents banding together to ban Katy Perry or some shit – coz, y’know, sex in pop music is SUCH a foreign concept and they NEVER listened or saw anything like it when they grew up. FFS!
Whatever happens, this is one of the best videos Katy has done and, come what may, she’s got my support. Enjoy!