DiS has found a man who watches loads of music vids, so you don't have to. He knows all there is to know about the bestest music videos around, and here is his very first column...
Now that MTV is (and arguably always was) rubbish, I think music video has got a lot better. In fact, at the beginning of the year The Economist took time out of calling everybody stupid to sing the praises of the renewed format. Apparently the Adam Buxton presented BUG pulls a “keen, arty crowd” and that things are “quietly reviving”.
I’m not sure there’s anything quiet about it to be honest. With more and more artists taking the reign on their own videos, it shows that musicians take their videos seriously, knowing that anyone searching for a song on YouTube will undoubtedly see it. There’s a nice resurgence in MJ/Destiny’s Child style OTT pop videos that really speak volumes about the nature of pop music, and other genres are trying to find something that visually reflects them as an idea, rather than looking like narcissistic children trying to convince people that they can play live.
MTV removing the “music television” from their logo doesn’t say anything about music video, but more about how MTV has made its own role obsolete by forgetting about music completely. The Osbornes was the beginning of the end by taking an ageing icon, and effectively making the public laugh at him. MTV culture made the pop star a joke. I think it’s a blessing that it’s out of the picture.
Anyway, this year’s videos so far involve guitar chainsaws, eating cockroaches, businessmen doing slow-motion dancing and robots. Win win!
20) Daedelus – ‘Stampede Me’ (Brainfeeder)
Director: Chris Shen
I really like Daedelus, and I also like this video because it has a man in a scary mask being a bit weird and then burning it. There are also crazy colours that have something to do with RGB, but I don’t understand that.
19) Best Coast – ‘Crazy for You’ (Wichita)
Director: Bob Harlow
The horrible time when lovable, summery indie crashes into "I Can Has Cheezburger?" and enters the melee of cute. Cat directs video. Cat drives car. Cat makes tea. Cool for cats.
18) Joan as Policewoman - ‘The Magic’ (PIAS)
Director: Ben Reed
If you like really built, half-naked men and surrealism, then this is for you.
17) No Age – ‘Fever Dreaming’ (Sub Pop)
Director: Patrick Daughters
I have no idea how they made this video. Somehow, it suits No Age to have a video that depicts an unstoppable destructive force. Wonderfully simple, even though I’m sure it was horribly complicated.
16) Frankie and the Heartstrings – ‘Hunger’ (Wichita)
Director: Jake Sumner
This video is all the things a video for Frankie and Co should be – Nostalgic, heart-warming and a little silly.
15) The Black Keys – ‘Howlin’ for You’ (Nonesuch)
Director: Chris Marrs Piliero)
It might have well have been directed by Tarantino or Rodriguez. You can’t really hear the song, but hey.
14) Keaton Henson – ‘Charon’ (Motive Sounds)
Director: David Wilson, Keaton Henson, John Malcolm
Another one of those musician/filmmaker bods, but this one drags his friends along to make the saddest puppet you’ll ever see. Beautiful pacing and brilliant character design makes this video truly upsetting.
13) Alex Metric and Steve Angello feat Ian Brown – ‘Open Your Eyes’ (EMI)
Director: Peter Serafinowicz
Personally, I think the song is disgusting, but cult comedian Peter Serafinowicz made that brill Hot Chip video for “I Feel Better” and this one is just good. It features Serafinowicz as a Rocky type figure who has to train up to fight a giant boxing robot. Who are we to argue with that?
12) PJ Harvey – ‘The Words that Maketh Murder’ (Island)
Director: Seamus Murphy
PJ is obviously trying to make some sort of point with the new record, but I haven’t worked out what it is yet. Never mind, just enjoy how this video fluctuates from live solo performance facing camera to studio version and scenes of “normal” Britain.
11) The Phantom Band – ‘Everybody Knows it’s True’ (Chemikal Underground)
Director: Rachel Maclean
An apocalyptic colour explosion that’s like having the Scottish super-fairy vomit on your eyelids whilst you’re locked in Salvador Dali’s washing machine with Monty Python.
10) The Strange Death Of Liberal England – ‘Come on You Young Philosophers’ (Republic of Music)
Director: Ashley Dean
Ashley Dean from Broken Pixel has made some ace animations previously (check out I Like Trains’ Spencer Percival), but this time moves into the realm of treasure hunting, with the video giving you a sequence of clues that can actually lead you to things in the real world!
9) Death Cab for Cutie – ‘You are a Tourist’ (WMG)
Director: Tim Nackashi
Pretty impressive actually. Fully scripted, but filmed and streamed live to the world, Death Cab’s video is full of great shots, silly heart outfits and light shows, even if it makes the miming really obvious. Director Tim Nackashi was also at the helm of the equally impressive video for OK Go’s “This Too Shall Pass”.
8) Gil Scott – Heron and Jamie XX – ‘I’ll take Care of U’ (XL)
Director: Jamie-James Medina and AG Rojas
This is a really nice portrait piece that delicately juxtaposes the life of a professional boxer and mother, and the overlapping of both. Really caringly shot and rather quite nice and heartwarming.
7) SixToes -‘ Low Guns’ (Toe Music)
Director: H Cowling
The sheer brilliance of Cowling’s surreal time lapse footage over SixToes orchestral melancholy will have you double checking the scenes over and over. A really stunning piece of filmmaking.
6) World Order – ‘Machine Civilization’ (Crystal Navigation Inc)
Director: Genki Sudo
There’s just something so perfectly odd about this music/video combo. BEST DANCE EVER. Indeed, even better than the Cha-Cha Slide. Completely mad.
5) Darwin Deez – ‘DNA’ (Lucky Number)
Director: Miles Crawford
I’m a sucker for romance and dance routines. Linked here is the director’s cut with added scene setting.
4) Woodkid - ‘Iron’ (Green United Music)
Director: Yoann Lemoine
Directed by Woodkid himself - the marvellous Yoann Lemoine - a frantic, monochrome world is sculpted in which Agness Deyn has a bird of prey and then, with some other oddities (inc barbarian on horse), is pelted with meteorites.
3) Tyler the Creator – ‘Yonkers’ (XL)
Director: Wolf Haley
Wolf Haley (aka Tyler the Creator) is kind of scary and it’s his powerful presence that makes this a fascinating watch. CAUTION: Not Safe for Work or if you don’t like people eating cockroaches.
2) Matt and Kim – ‘Cameras’ (Different/FADER)
Director: Jonathon Del Gatto
Simply one of the best fight scenes I’ve ever seen. Lovely stuff. Also, the end makes you think that they have a really nice relationship, despite the fact she used that bass pedal on his crotch and he Judo threw her across the room.
1) Radiohead – ‘Lotus Flower’ (XL)
Director: Garth Jennings
I remember seeing Radiohead live for the first time, and being really quite shocked by Thom’s dancing. Everyone has seen this by now, or at least one of the many, many parodies, but it’s still brilliant, despite the fact that it doesn’t actually do much. Maybe that’s why it’s good. Hammer and Tongs man Garth Jennings continues his brilliant career that includes Blur’s Coffee and TV amongst others.
DiScuss: How right/rong are these choices? What would be in your top twenty videos of the year, so far?
Sam Hill is the coordinator of the BBC Music Video Festival.