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!
“Cow of the sea, worlds outside your window stationing…”
So, let me guess. If you’ve been paying any attention in 2013, you’d have noticed two acts keep on popping up. The first is The Lonely Island, the comedy rap kings who just dropped The Wack Album and have given us a slew of outstanding videos to go along with the whole shebang. The other is The Uncluded, who I’m sure you’re more than familiar with by now. Aesop Rock and Kimya Dawson have already proven themselves to be the most creative force in hip-hop this year in terms of music videos – and, hell, as long as they keep providing videos as awesome as Earthquake and Delicate Cycle, they’ll keep appearing here.
The latest video treatment is for the song The Aquarium, which fans will note from tours a few years back thanks to the refrain of “please don’t tap on the glass.” It’s a song that attempts to delve into the psyche of the weird and wonderful creatures that exist beyond that aforementioned aquarium glass. Naturally, the video does the same – Aesop and Kimya both play psychiatrists that visit and speak to the sea creatures. Their anxieties and fears are then given human form, which is both sweet and strikingly dark. I didn’t expect the video to quite end up like this, but I’m so very glad that it did. Hell, at this stage I would only be satisfied if we got a video for every track on Hokey Fright – and who knows, it could well happen!
“Only now are we looking forward, uninstructed by old blood and bone…”
As much as I love compiling end-of-year lists, I do love seeing what others come up with – just on the off chance that they saw or heard something that I didn’t. I first crossed paths with Melbourne’s Roadgeek in such an instance, where his outstanding video for On the Borderline came to my attention via rage‘s fan-voted countdown of the best clips of the year. I like to think of myself as a pretty ear-to-the-ground sort of guy, so the fact I’d never seen or heard anything from the prodigious Michael Shanks-fronted project was a big surprise to me. Nevertheless, it was indeed a very pleasant surprise. So, how does one go about following such a warped clip? Easy: Warp even further.
The internet has a pretty steady relationship with cats, but as Towards the Sun shows us, there’s more than meets the eye – or, rather, the creepy human eyes that have been edited on to the cats in question. In a bizarre mash-up between Blur‘s iconic Coffee and TV video and some sort of slasher horror movie, the feline friends take over their town; seemingly as an act of revenge on a creepy taxidermist. Much like the Borderline video, this one initially took me a bit by surprise. I wasn’t sure what to make of it. I’ve found myself growing to love it, though – the main cat is surely one of the greater anti-heroes of 2013 music videos. At least, that’s the way I feel it will be remembered. Anything could happen between here and end of year, but I’ve got a feeling Roadgeek has got a stack of brilliant clips to come.
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!
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!
“You’re a pretty little flower, but I’m a busy little bee…”
It’s been a long, downward, spiralling slope for The All-American Rejects. They went from cute, fun pop-punk band, to tolerable pop-rock band, to irritating pop band… to this. This, ladies and gentlemen, is AAR’s Nickelback moment. Their sell-out anthem to end all other sell-out anthems. Their destiny as a boring, soulless, pompous corporate rock band has finally been fulfilled. And haven’t they picked a great video to go along with it?
Naturally, the clip revolves around vocalist Tyson Ritter, who has been using the band as a vehicle for his messiah complex for quite some time now. It’s narcissistic to the point that the rest of the band do not appear in the video until there is less than a minute to go, and even then they’re reduced to little more than background fodder. Yep, it’s the Tyson show, as he runs around his own little obnoxious musical, presumably in his own head. For trainspotters, it’s a bit like Bjork‘s It’s Oh So Quiet video – except for the fun, the joy, the excitement and the presence of a good song. Pretty tragic, really – but that’s what I’ve come to expect from this lot since Gives You Hell. Such a shame, considering how fun their first two records were. Ah well, they’re the ones getting paper. Clearly at a higher level of artistic integrity than I, the humble blogger. Fuck this band, though, really.
“Paranoia will implore ya, classic rock radio destroyer…”
The year was 2004, and I was slowly re-immersing myself in the greatness of the art that is music videos. I’d always kind of thought they were cool, but it was in this year that I really came to meticulously study them and try and figure them out. This clip you’re about to watch, from Canadian indie-rockers By Divine Right, posed a lot of questions in my mind the very first time I watched it. Naturally, the first: Why are there so many guitars? Quickly followed by: Did they do ALL of that in one take? And, finally: What’s up with those alpacas? I have since learned that three guitars just LOOKS cool, they really did do it all in one take, and I still have no idea what’s up with the alpacas.
There’s a lot to take in here, but essentially BDR show you exactly how much wild shit can go on with a few scenery changes, a huge imagination and… yep, just one camera. One take. That’s it, that’s all. That alone was a complete mind-fuck to me. In a way, it still is. All I can really say is that this was a game-changing video for me back in the day, and sadly the years have not been kind to the band at all – their last album was in 2009, and vocalist José Miguel Contreras has had a revolving-door line-up since the band formed way back in 1989. In fact, none of the band members in this clip, aside from Contreras, are actually still in the band. Bummer – that girl guitarist was cute. Canadian indie love, people!
“I just can’t stop singing, oh how baby I love you…”
Man, I am in a great mood right now as I write this – and I can’t help but feel it’s because of what you are about to watch. Meet Set Sail, a charming three-piece pop/rock band from Sydney. You might have heard about them in the news recently due to their lead singer, Brandon Hoogenboom, after his recent deportation from Australia due to visa issues (read more over at Tone Deaf). Thankfully, the trio have taken it all in their stride, continuing to bring good vibes and positivity to their ever-expanding fanbase. Seriously, these guys must have popped up overnight – they’re at nearly 20 thousand Facebook fans!
Anyway, onto the matter at hand. Before all this mess, the band teamed up with animation collective Oh Yeah Wow to bring us this adorable clip that packs as much as it possibly can into its brief running time. The band are out at sea, having a whale of a time (forgive the pun)… that is, of course, until an evil sea monster takes off with their boombox! What a bastard! Will they get it back? Oh, of course they will – it’s all about the happy endings, after all! How they do it, however, is what makes this clip worth watching. A very impressive and super-sweet clip from a band that might be facing rough seas at the moment, but can always see the silver lining.
P.S: Don’t forget to click over here and join the campaign on Facebook to Bring Brandon Back!