Bicep – Glue
Directed by Joe Wilson
The video for Bicep’s ‘Glue’ is a homage to the rave culture of the Summer Of Love. Expertly synced with the dynamic swells of the music, this video for one of 2017’s best tracks revisits the scenes of those massive early raves in the modern day.
Clu – Mirrors
Directed by Kevin Freeney
The two mediums in ‘Mirrors’ complement each other, working coherently together to transcend a typical visual tacked on to music setup. The video directed by Clu visual artist Freeney serves as a chassis for a potent mix of music (an amalgamation of bass/garage / post-dubstep), visual (cinematic sumptuous imagery), interpretive dancing and colour that makes for an impressive display of art in total.
Enya – Orinoco Flow
The slightly jarring colour scheme and green screen effects on the video for Enya’s classic track ‘Orinoco Flow’ may not have aged terribly well, but the song and the video were beyond iconic at the time. Everybody knows that chorus and the song’s watercolour effect is indellibly printed in the mind of anyone who hears this.
Biggles Flys Again – Chambers
Directed by Colm Russell
A powerful examination of the heartbreak which follows the deterioration of a romantic relationship, the video for Biggles Flys Again’s ‘Chambers’ will be heartbreakingly familiar to most. The choice to opt for faceless protagonists, distinguished only by their colour scheme, makes the relatability factor tenfold too. Channelling Wes Anderson doesn’t hurt either.
Hozier – Take me To Church
Directed by Feel Good Lost
The video for Hozier’s breakthrough single ‘Take Me To Church’ came in the years where support of same-sex marriage equality was gaining traction and would eventually just over a years on from this point be legislated into law in Ireland. The video is largely inspired by contemporary hate crimes committed toward homosexuals in Russia, many of which continue to this day. For many Irish viewers, this video was a stark reminder that though homophobia took a blow here at home, the worldwide fight for civil rights and liberties continues to this day. The video really struck a chord though and was a genuinely viral video that helped Hozier get a fanbase and a label. It even lead to David LaChapelle to make his own video for the song.
Shit Robot – Take ‘Em Up
Directed by Eoghan Kidney
Featuring DFA’s Nancy Wang, who also provides vocals on the track, the video for ‘Take ‘Em Up’ is a futurist-infused stroll through city streets. With some fantastic post-production work, the graphics in this video suit the song perfectly. Kidney’s video is a mix of analogue video effects with digital technology. Kidney was able to get the rotoscoping done thanks to Twitter which helped him form a team of people in Ireland, Canada, Brazil, Japan, Australia and Germany to get it to the finish line on time.
Phil Lynott – Old Town
As a Dubliner, what could be more iconic than Phil Lynott singing the blues on the Ha’Penny Bridge The Long Hall? The video for ‘Old Town’ shows one of the city’s finest all time troubadours at his very best. According to the RTE archive, “In the days before music videos were commonplace, the video for ‘Old Town’ was produced by Dave Heffernan for RTÉ programme ‘Anything Goes’. It was first broadcast on 30 October 1982.”
U2 – Where The Streets Have No Name
Directed by Meiert Avis
Released at a time when U2 fan mania in the US reached a fever pitch, the music video for ‘Where The Streets Have No Name’ shows the group take a leaf from The Beatles book, performing atop a roof on a public street. It captures the most popular Irish group of all time during a stage when they were conquering the world. The background footage featuring the logistics to putting on the performance only add to the song and video’s weight.
Girl Band – Paul
Directed by Bob Gallagher
Bob Gallagher and Girl Band are a match made in music video heaven (they’ve made three videos together to date). The surrealistic commentary on jealousy and individuality in the video for ‘Paul’ absolutely blew up when it was released to the public in 2015. Both video and song were a much-needed injection of adrenaline into a music scene which had largely begun to stagnate. A total work of art.
Burnt Out – Dear James
Burnt Out was a band that only had a couple of songs and videos but the project’s claustrophobic guitar rock vein intentionally conjured up the lost boys of inner city Dublin and the desolation and dirt surrounding their lives and a fractured, dreamless community. Sadly, the band’s singer and a poet Paul Curran passed away earlier this year. Alas, music couldn’t save him.
For what little Burnt Out gave us, the project encapsulated grim realities through cathartic music.
As the video unfolds on working class estates and in buildings of urban decay, subtle but brilliant effects lift the mundane. Young men depicted in the sky, hanging from a balcony, and defying gravity in a tunnel dot the video. Blink and you’ll miss them. Those moments suggest escape, release and possibility, but the rope swinging from a tree points to the sometimes inescapable reality. In his honour, a Burnt Out album will see the light of day.
Sinead O’Connor – Nothing Compares 2 U
Directed by John Maybury
Coming in at the very top of our list is the iconic video for Sinead O’Connor’s cover of the Prince’s ‘Nothing Compares To You’. This one takes the gold for its honest depiction of the vulnerabilities of one of the country’s finest artists. It’s a demonstration of how a simple concept can lift a brilliant song. It’s one of those music videos you think of whenever you hear the song, a visual so perfectly in tandem with the song that the two have become intrinsically linked forever more. It is creative, simple, stirring and evocative. Itshows that with a goo