Artwork by Fatti Burke.
This is a personal list of the 20 music videos that stuck with me for various reasons, some explained below, some because they are great examples and some because they lifted the song into a new realm. These are my 20 favourites as opposed to my best.
20. Biggles Flys Again – ‘Chambers’
Video by: Colm Russell
A Wes Anderson-style clip of Dublin looking beautiful soundtracks the 28 stages of a relationship breakdown.
19. Grizzly Bear – ‘Gun-Shy’
Video by: Kris Moyles
You won’t thank me for watching this one – it’s a plain weird video featuring Grizzly Bear band members getting various surgical and medical samples taken in an idyllic place to the soundtrack of their gorgeous song.
18. Earl Sweatshirt – ‘Doris’
Video by: Hiro Murai
A dark menacing beat gets a roving urban foreboding video.
17. Lizzo feat. Sophia Eris – Batches & Cookies
Video by: Ryan Kron Thompson
If a video is a designed to introduce to an artist and give you a short time frame in which to “get” them, Lizzo’s video does that all right here. The Detroit MC is just one of those great videos that gives you a snapshot of the artist’s character and does so in a three and a half minute burst of fun. It also lifts the tune which is what any great video does.
16. Fryars – ‘Cool Like Me’ (Original and Mike Skinner remix)l
Video by: Ian & Cooper / Mike Skinner
Two videos for the same song: the original and the remix. The former is the cinematic one, focusing on a cult of body-popping evangelical bell-ringers while the latter for the Mike Skinner remix and also directed by him, is a play on the title of the song, takes pleasure in putting Fryars’ Benjamin Garrett and Mike Skinner as the photobombing background focus of a host of cooler-than-thou people at London Fashion week.
15. Glasser – ‘Design’
Video by: Jonathan Turner
Cameron Mesirow’s Interiors is an album that is inspired by “architecture, a physical imposition in my life, and the fluid emotional boundaries of relationships.” This clip for ‘Design’ fits that aesthetic and the song’s arpeggiated synths and nuanced production.
Video by: Vania Heymann
The concept is simple. An interactive TV where every station is lip-synching to the Dylan classic.
13. Dizzee Rascal – ‘I Don’t Need A Reason’
Video by: Emile Sornin
Video techniques loop like animated GIFs. Brilliantly effective and suitable for the track’s minimal beat.
12. Hozier – ‘Take Me To Church’
Video by: Feel Good Lost
‘Take Me To Church’ is the most complete song from Hozier’s nascent career, a soulful high-spirited track which seeks redemption in the flesh through metaphors around church worship – “if the heaven’s ever did speak / she’s the last true mouth piece”, “i was born sick but I love it / command me to be well”. Andrew Hozier-Byrne is a perfect vessel for that sentiment: his voice also plays on that dichotomy, a gospel-fused and sensual soul instrument.
It’s a clever ploy, playing the incongruous relationship between sex and religion off each other. Fittingly, Feel Good Lost’s black and white video for the track also addresses that issue: by showing what can happen to a gay couple who, in 2013, these modern times, are not recognised by the church and subsequently by prejudiced peers at a time when homophobia is proposed as a law by the Russian authorities. The video has a powerful synergy to it.
11. Arcade Fire – ‘Afterlife’
Video by: Emily Kai Bock
Kai Bock’s ‘Afterlife’ video has a sumptuous dreamy quality that wraps itself around in the song in a cinematic haze.