THE MUSIC VIDEO.
A beloved art form. A visualization of emotion. A captured glimpse into an artist’s mind.
Acts that release really fantastic videos are able to elevate their songs to dizzying new heights. Other acts are like Ariana Grande.
But let’s not stir up any painful memories revolving around ‘Dangerous Woman (Visual Two)’, for this is a happy time. Here’s the very official list of the greatest music videos unleashed this year:
21. Petite Meller – ‘The Flute’
It becomes immediately obvious after the very first frame that ‘The Flute’ is another classic Petite moment. To be clear – that’s about as predictable as Meller gets. ‘The Flute’ is simultaneously everything and nothing that you’d expect it to be.
20. Brendan Maclean – ‘Free to Love’
QUALITY CHOREO? ✓
FAB LOOKS? ✓
ENJOYABLE ACCOMPANYING AUDIO? ✓ ✓ ✓
The pop world could use a few more male acts like Brendan.
19. Elohim – ‘Hallucinating’
Elohim’s ‘Pigments’ video-cum-website was one of the coolest visual experiments to happen this year, and a pretty good indication of the kind of thought and effort that goes into her work. But putting aside the wow-factor of what was admittedly a more tech-driven project, ‘Hallucinating’ proves Elohim is definitely capable of delivering more straightforward concepts as well.
18. Melanie Martinez – ‘Tag, You’re It / Milk and Cookies’
Melanie’s music tends to inspire a lot of mixed reactions from people. It shouldn’t, because Cry Baby is a brilliant album, and her steady output of content this year (one video for every track off the LP) was nothing short of impressive.
Sure, not all of them delivered – but when they did, you got something as riveting as the effort above.
17. KLOE – ‘UDSM’
Even tossing up your fish and chips can look pretty glam when you’re bathed in the glow of neon lights. KLOE proves this.
16. Birdy – ‘Wild Horses’
The ‘Wild Horses’ video feels like the type of project that was deliberately made to look low budget to let everyone know that there wasn’t a lot of money being pumped into it, and thus keep expectations low. It then capitalizes off the fact that it was actually supported by a medium budget – which of course makes it all look very impressive for something that seems so obviously low budget.
None of that really matters. Every second of this is awe-inspiring and beautiful.
15. will.i.am feat. Nicole Scherzinger – ‘Mona Lisa Smile’
When you stop and consider the song itself, the concept for this video isn’t at wild at it seems.
Actually, scratch that, it’s still pretty wild. How it came about – a full three years after the album that houses it – is anyone’s guess.
Did someone at the the Louvre stumble upon #willpower on Spotify one fine day and think, “Wow, I really feel like this is a collaboration that needs to happen”? Did it come to Nicole Scherzinger in a flash of inspiration – just as she caught her own reflection in the mirror after a facial made of gold flakes and mud from the bottom of the Yangtze River?
We may never know.
14. St. Lucia – ‘Help Me Run Away’
It takes a particularly talented director to make you root for a pair of sneakers.
13. Sia feat. Sean Paul – ‘Cheap Thrills’
The official video for ‘Cheap Thrills’ was a decent if not slightly uninteresting affair (a statement that unfortunately also sums up Sia throughout most of the year), but at least its lyric video kicked things off on a high note.
You have to have to wonder what Sean Paul thought about those captions. He probably loved them. What a guy!
12. Hayley Kiyoko – ‘Gravel to Tempo’
Does Hayley hate the popular girls at her school? Does she wish she was one of them? Or does she wish she was with one of them?
All these questions and more will run through your mind while watching ‘Gravel to Tempo’, and the answer to each of them is probably “yes”. Hayley nails the confounding dynamics of high-school life, and the daily struggle to be as unapologetically you as possible – while still hoping that’s exactly what’ll win everyone over.
11. AURORA – ‘Conqueror’
AURORA plays at a higher level than most acts, and it shows very clearly in this one.
As someone who’s completely open regarding the situations and emotions that go into her music, AURORA’s video treatment for ‘Conqueror’ acted like another invitation into her mind – and it is precisely as incredible as you’d expect.