“Favorite Videos of the Year”. That statement seems so antiquated nowadays. Do you remember back in the day when there was music television? You know, MTV and VH1? If you’re not familiar, they were these cable networks that used to play nothing but music videos made by artists to compliment the music they made and put out on records, cassettes, and CDs(yes, they put music out digitally, too. But by the time that happened music television was nothing more than 24-hr reality tv.) For some it was “Hey, let the music speak for itself. Don’t show me what I’m supposed to feel when I hear “Rockit”, okay?” For others it was a deeper way to enjoy the music. It was a beautiful coming together of the art of music and the art of film.
Where did I fall in the great music video debate you wonder? Well, since my parents never got cable at our house, MTV was something I longed for throughout my formative years. The best I got was Friday Night Videos on of course Friday nights on NBC. Only then could I see videos from Prince, Ratt, Twisted Sister, Quiet Riot, and Van Halen. I loved going over to friends houses that had cable, especially on Saturday nights because then I could stay up and watch Headbanger’s Ball. I never did get to enjoy 120 Minutes as that was on late Sunday nights(I did have a friend that would record videos for me and give me the tape on Monday morning at school…God that sounds pathetic.) I love(and still do) the idea of an artist turning their song into a short film. Sure, there were plenty of horrible videos made in every genre. Usually though if the video was trash the song usually was, too. I don’t know how many of my favorite videos were ideas from the artists I loved or just some pitch man. I guess it doesn’t matter, really. If it worked it worked.
Nowadays the music video networks are basically Youtube and Vevo. It is what it is. Artists are still making cool videos, so I’ll watch ’em where I can. Here’s a few I thought were worthy of multiple watches.
Oneohtrix Point Never : “Sticky Drama”
A mix of Lord of the Flies, The Toxic Avenger, and Sixteen Candles. Daniel Lopatin, I like your kind of weird.
Tame Impala : “The Less I Know The Better”
It seems that with every video Tame Impala releases, they get stranger and creepier. That really surprises me, especially with how laid back and easy going Kevin Parker is. I guess it’s true what they say, you gotta keep your eye on the quiet ones. Either way, the giant ape always gets the girl.
Built To Spill : “Never Be The Same”
What’s not to like about a video with Doug Martsch taking acting lessons from some bearded thespian? Is it weird Hairy Canary ends up naked at the end in order for Doug to have the cool threads? Not at all.
Mark Ronson : “Uptown Funk(featuring Bruno Mars)”
It’s old school, it’s fun, and it’s funky(in an uptown kind of way.) Why not?
Viet Cong : “Continental Shelf”
Here’s one of those instances where the video captures the vibe of the song really well. Grainy film, bizarre, arty shots, and eerie vibe overall. I love this band, this song, and this video.
Colleen : “I’m Kin”
A very cool, old school visual extravaganza that doesn’t get in the way of the experience of the song. It’s just what this video needs.
Panda Bear : “Boys Latin”
Watching a Disney feature tripping on LSD. Maybe that’s what this video is. I don’t know. But it’s cool.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra : “Multi-Love”
Another old school visual extravaganza. Love the trippy aspect of this video and the late 60s Pink Floyd aesthetic of the visuals.
The Soft Moon : “Wasting”
The Soft Moon are a visual band anyways, using lighting and stage set up as an integral part of their live shows, so for them to make a cool video isn’t surprising. And come on, Robert Forster. It’s a no brainer.
Courtney Barnett : “Pedestrian At Best”
I liked Courtney Barnett’s album this year. It wasn’t one I listened to a whole lot, but I dug it. But this video is great, as is the crunchy and rough-around-the-edges tune. Plus, a sad clown.
Lower Dens : “To Die In LA”
Great song from an underrated album. Has that 80s vibe all over it. One of the more cinematic videos of the year.
Of Montreal : “Bassem Sabry”
Paper mache masks, trippy visuals, and Kevin Barnes. It’s like his version of Lucifer Rising. You go, Kevin.
Deerhunter : “Breaker”
No frills. Just a beautiful video of the band. Perfect compliment to a beautiful song.
Action Bronson : “Baby Blue”
Just beginning to appreciate this guy. Killer tune and a great video.
Slayer : “Repentless”
Slayer’s old. Prison is scary. Lots of blood. And Machete. That is all.
Herbie Hancock : “Rockit”
You needn’t ask why.