10. James Blake – ‘Overgrown’
Video by: Nabil
A dark, haunting and brooding beautiful music video with magic hour landscapes and dancing ringwraiths.
9. Jay-Z – ‘Picasso Baby’
Video by: Mark Romanek
Billed as a “performance art film,” this video takes a standard music video idea and films it in front of a live crowd at an art gallery for six hours straight with a host of celebrity and artist cameos. The fun comes from the energy between crowd and performer. It’s also the only notable thing to come out of Magna Carta Holy Grail.
18. Chris Hadfield – ‘Space Oddity’
Video by: Chris Hadfield
Hadfield did more for astronauts in his time in space than anyone but making a music video of his own cover to David Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’ is pretty awesome. Plus, it offsets any of the nervous palpitations most recently caused by Gravity. He has a particular kinship with Ireland, due to his daughter being here to study so he’s kind of ours now, OK?
7. Omar Souleyman – ‘Warni Warni’
Video by: Cali Thornhill DeWitt
Not only is Omar Souleyman’s music the sound of a different culture but the video for ‘Warni Warni’ also features a number of standard Middle Eastern video effects that seem weird to us – internet meme-friendly juxtaposed graphics or Omar speeding down an American highway like some upright Superman, for example. It looks overblown to us Westerners but it’s pretty common where he’s from. Also, Omar is a badass in this clip, walking around New York blowing smoke and not giving a fuck like a boss.
6. Phoenix – ‘Trying to Be Cool’
Video by: CANADA
The one-take choreographed multi-shot music video idea is still great when someone pulls it off and it still manages to look fun rather than hard work take 178 as this is. Even the performance bit at the end is unique from others.
5. Daft Punk – ‘Get Lucky’
Video by: Jonathan Turner
One of the songs of the year didn’t even bother making a full video because the impact was already made via their ultra-hyped marketing campaign. Instead, the 30 seconds debuted via a SNL ad and at Coachella featuring Nile Rodgers, Pharrell and Daft Punk in their chrome sleek wonderworld heightened the song’s sumptuousness and made it one of the song’s that defined the year.
4. Beach House – ‘Wishes’
Video by: Eric Wareheim
Bat-shit craziness as expected from one half of Tim & Eric. Leland Palmer of Twin Peaks features as does twerking, fireworks, backflips, horses and large swords. Just like all my nightly dreams really.
3. The Knife – ‘Tooth For An Eye’
Video by: Roxy Farhat & Kakan Hermansson
The video for single most digestible track from Shaking The Habitual subverts gender roles typical of these types of dance videos, a concept which fits in thematically to the album.
2. Pharrell – ‘Happy’
Video by: We Are From L.A.
Yes, there’s a 24-hour version made for writers of digital publications to write pieces about their 24-hour watching experience but the simple idea of a bunch of people dancing to a great pop song is at the core of ‘Happy’ and is about as uplifting as you can get in music video terms.
1. FKA Twigs – ‘Papa Pacify’ / ‘Water Me’
Video by: Jesse Kanda / FKA twigs and Tom Beard
There’s an otherworldly brutality to Tahliah Barnett’s art. Her music is amorphous, hypnotic and modern R&B. The music videos augment that weird tapestry but remain simple in execution. They are provocative by nature not for the sake of it. ‘Papi Pacify’ is explicit in its directness, the act of the man putting his fingers in her mouth is either ambiguously violent or caring. ‘Water Me’ enlarges Twigs’ eyes til she’s larger than life, extra-terrestrial, not of this world, just like her music. The music and the visuals are inseparable and uncompromising.