What a year for music videos! And before you think we’ve just put all of Beyonce’s 14 music videos in one list, think again. We didn’t even include Pharrell’s 24 hour masterpiece (we did put in the Kanye parody though, sorry). This list is a pick of the most graceful, interesting, intricate, watchable moving image pieces that have accompanied songs this year. This’ll kill a good half an hour while you’re bored to tears at home this Christmas. Enjoy!
10 – Dirty Projectors: Impregnable Question
Who in their right mind makes a music video about boring old running? Adam Newport Berra, that’s who. Now I’m no runner, but if I lived in the bit by the mountains in HEAVEN I’d probably fall out of bed for a quick jog. This video is impeccably timed, visually outstanding, and features a man photogenic enough to rival this guy.
9 – Grizzly Bear: Gun Shy
This video is a good example of why anything to do with health, doctors, used plasters, tweezers or bins in toilets is DISGUSTING. Director Kris Moyes got the band to lay around by a sunny brook and mess about with medical equipment while he filmed them. A few very clever editing tricks later and you’ve got one of the weirdest and best videos of the year.
8 – James Franco and Seth Rogen – Bound 3 (vague)
Did you see this video? Oh, whoops, EVERYONE saw this video. And why not? It’s one of the most magnificently crafted parodies in recent history, and has made light of a “situation” that reached its apotheosis when Kanye West and Kim Kardashian writhed around on a motorbike.
7 – We Are Shining: Wheel
It’s good to have an underdog in a top ten list, and this is a very undery dog. Incredible animation and colours that make you feel like you’re in a soft play area in the Himalayas are just what a psychedelic track needs, and this has it in droves. Did we mention it’s made entirely of GIFs?
6 – Laura Marling: When Brave Bird Saved
Only Laura Marling can release an 18 minute long song and get away with it, and only filmmaking duo Fred + Nick could represent it in an appropriate, un-cringeworthy way. Their short film When Brave Bird Saved is a wonderfully dark, surrealist trip inside a hotel where everyone seems upset despite the fact that ludicrously beautiful Laura Marling is playing live in every room.
5 – The Black Keys: Lonely Boy
We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again – if you want to make a music video that almost anyone will enjoy, put dancing in it. Even better if the dancer is part-time security guard Derrick T. Tuggle whose dance moves slow-roast your heart and make you want to join in immediately. This is the best example of a spectacularly simple, one-shot music video.
4 – I Am Un Chien: Humanity
Another simple yet effective effort here from French band I am Un Chien whose video sees humans impersonating animals in the wild. Sound weak? It’s not. It’s hilarious and magnificently done. Screw you, high budget, hi-octane music promos! This is better and funnier than you’ll ever be.
3 – Bob Dylan: Like A Rolling Stone
Bit weird to have a music video made for a song that became a hit in 1965, but it doesn’t matter when it’s this bloody good. Using some of the best lip-synchers in the world, Pulse Films created a webpage that resembled an old TV. Flick the channels and watch every person on every channel of cable TV mime along to this classic song. Genius.
2 – Devendra Banhart: Für Hildegard von Bingen
What more can you expect from one of the world’s most stylish men than a black and white video that follows a nun from her dramatic escape from the nunnery, to her dancing in the woods with Dev himself, to her transformation into an exotic, 80s TV presenter. Wild, graceful and perfectly in time with one of the most tropically mellow tracks on his album, this video blew us away.
1 – Arcade Fire: Afterlife
How could we possibly let this not be number one? A live Arcade Fire music video directed by Spike Jonze starring Greta Gerwig and a truly joyous live brass band? Ummmm yep, that’s pretty much exactly what I want, with even more of what I want sprinkled on top without me even knowing I wanted it. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
- Wrap up warm with this week's Best of the Web
- This is Jane: a charming photo series that displays the empowerment of women
- Brooklyn-based illustrator Aaron Fernandez’s fluorescent editorial commissions
- London-based designer Laura Jouan’s well-considered, monochrome portfolio
- Join Jonathan Barnbrook, Maisie Willoughby, Wallace Henning, Anna Lomax and Jess Bonham at Nicer Tuesdays December
- Legs 11: artist Alfie Kungu’s comically long-trousered figures
- Wes Anderson directs H&M Christmas advert starring Adrien Brody
- The New Look: Looking back at Roundel’s 1980s identity design for British Rail’s Railfreight
- Discussing cinema with Laura Marling on her directorial debut, Soothing
- London’s first crisp restaurant, Hipchips, launches with branding by Ragged Edge
- Richard Sandler’s street photography conveys the intricacies of city life
- A "stress opus" from cartoonist Nadine Redlich