MUNA – “Winterbreak”
“Winterbreak” is already brilliant, capturing a flavor of temporal nostalgia English doesn’t have a word for yet, and MUNA‘s video does the track complete justice. Joy and discomfort go hand in hand, coming home grown and trying to fit back into the grooves of your adolescent life.
Andy Stott – “Butterflies”
New York’s status as the “city that never sleeps” is usually presented as a moniker of pride, but for the video for Andy Stott’s “Butterflies,” we see a surreal vision of New York as an insomniac fever dream. The camera takes on a voyeur’s perspective watching as Rafael Martin dances, writhes, and contorts himself on the street and in the subway. Inter-cut with Martin’s slinky movements are the other part of the New York landscape: the people and their gaze. From a bodybuilding Santa to a cigar smoking cop, these strange characters watch Martin or the camera itself; in New York everyone’s a voyeur. Bathed in colorful light, with Stott’s pulsing beat and falsetto whisper as ominous score, the city and its inhabitants are dangerous, alluring, and ultimately irresistible.
Dilly Dally – “Snakehead”
A music video about hating music videos, Dilly Dally’s video for “Snakehead” is as tongue-in-cheek as it gets. While watching the band getting ready and wasting their time in a friend’s studio might not seem like anything special, that’s the whole point – we are wasting our time too. The snarky captions along with the catchiness of the song in the first place make this a video that you’re going to want to watch a few times. I love the unique aspect ratio of the video, along with the warped images we see played back and reversed for us. It’s a not-so-subtle fuck you to the whole concept of music videos and I absolutely love it.
Kendrick Lamar’s Grammy Performance
On February 15th of this year, the Grammys were broadcasted live from California and into our living rooms. They were dull for many reasons, each performance uniformly uninspired and insipid. That is, until he showed up, which is really the only reason why most of us kept watching with each new affront to our sensibilities. Kendrick showed up with consciousness raising art in hand. He is first a prisoner, then a liberated African digging into those roots, then a tortured young man, very similar to Kendrick, maybe K Dot even, struggling in the urban jungle of Compton. There is such an audacious spirit to what he presents on the whitest of stages. He visualizes the tormented soul, the otherness of black existence, the mind’s echoed wails of despair. “As we proceed, to give you what you need, drop our bodies but can’t lock our minds” – these words cling to the air midstream.
Rihanna – Needed Me
I love Rihanna and I love Spring Breakers, so this video was a no-brainer as a pick for the best music video so far. Toting one of the best songs from one of Rihanna’s best albums — maybe THE best to be honest — means this video was already a step above the generic Vevo output. But Korine’s approach really brings it to life. The video is wrought with shots of Rihanna’s god-like, impervious-to-age body along with close-up ass shots from the strip club and a shit-ton of blunt smoke, but Korine’s post-Spring Breakers mood building works perfectly with the song’s catchy swoon. For a song that is already so sexy, so hardcore, it takes a really brilliant video to add something to the tune. And by the time Rihanna finally fires those silencer shots through a flock of dollar bills, it’s obvious that’s exactly what this is.
– Eli Fosl
Odesza – It’s Only (Ft. Zyra)
I’ll be honest, I shared this video for Odesza’s “It’s Only” Zyra on my Facebook wall as soon as it came out without watching it. And then I watched it. And then I watched it again, and again, and again. The beauty of storytelling has not died for music videos. Dan Brown wrote and directed an ancient and incredible tale that takes up back to different time periods of warriors, soldiers, and cavemen. It is a story about humanity, shot beautifully and elegantly.