As we pass the halfway point of 2015, we thought we would take a look back at the best music videos we’ve come across this year and narrow it down to a simple top ten. In no particular order:
Action Bronson – Baby Blue (Feat. Chance The Rapper)
Action Bronson fancies himself to be a jack-of-all-trades; Performer, gourmet chef, food reviewer, sportsman, martial artist, ladies man, comedian, and loyal family man. His many nicknames (Bam Bam, Bronsolino, Bronsonelli, Mr. Baklava, Mr. Wonderful, to name a few) serve his many alter egos and they seem to all be on display in this hilarious video. It begins with a ‘Multiplicity’-esque prologue where several costumed Action Bronsons are discussing the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight in a barber shop and then weaves in and out of several Bronson characters who all manage to save the day.
Run The Jewels – Close Your Eyes Feat. Zach De La Rocha
The NU keeps a close watch on RTJ, so when this video came out we were pretty excited. RTJ are at the top of their game right now and invite Rage Against the Machine frontman, Zach De La Rocha, for their chorus and a verse that kicks everything up a notch. Just seeing the three rap greats walk up to the streets at the beginning of the clip is enough to give you chills. The video itself follows a street brawl between a cop (played by Boardwalk Empire’s Shea Whigam) and an african-american man who fight tirelessly until...well you'll see.
Hot Chip - Need You Now
This video was directed by the brilliant Shynola and features Alexis Taylor facing the aftermath of a breakup. Below you will see, what is usually, a completely internal battle reenacted as a physical and out of body war. 'Need You Now' is the second official single off of the english electro band's sixth studio album - Why Make Sense?
Majid Jordan – Forever
Toronto R&B duo, Majid Jordan, have made a quick rise to fame from their humble beginnings as student/musicians at UofT to recently being signed to Drakes record label, OVO Sound. The video shows a guy starting a funky break dancing sequence to ‘Forever’, and then continues to follow him as he takes his moves all over the city. If you look closely, you can even see a Hitchcockian appearance from Majid Al Maskati and Jordan Ullman behind the dancer at the 0:20 mark.
FKA twigs – Pendulum
Well known for her visceral and captivating music videos, FKA twigs took over directing duties and created a masterpiece worthy of her previous works. The clip begins similar to ‘Two Weeks’ where a long slow pan-out of a singing twigs ultimately reveals something visually stunning. In this video we find twigs tied up and swinging from a ceiling, bondage-style, in a giant braid of her own hair. The video continues to evolve just as strangely as it started, but the strangeness is always a welcomed juxtaposition with twigs' amazing voice.
Death From Above 1979 – Virgins
If we can learn anything from this video, it’s that no one parties like the Amish during rumspringa. Eva Michon directs this video for DFAs ‘Virgins’ single and depicts a bunch of normally-subdued adolescents doing their best Alice Cooper impressions. We see them do it all; lines of ash from an urn, milk shots from the udder of a goat, sacrificing poultry etc. The party could have gotten really out of hand if the cops (DFA themselves) hadn’t been there to shut things down…
Charlie XCX – Famous
Actor/comedian Eric Wareheim, best known for his work on ‘Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!’, is a pretty talented guy. Aside from his work in American television and film, he is also an accomplished music video director, having worked with Depeche Mode, MGMT, Major Lazer, and Mr. Oizo. His most recent work includes helming the Charlie XCX video for her single ‘Famous’. This glossy and bizarre clip doubles as a commentary on internet culture. As a teenaged Charlie XCX fan finds her mobile devices being drained of their battery life from her steady stream of ‘selfies’, she begins to see dark glimpses of the future. Or perhaps it is only what we cannot see without a filter…
Flying Lotus - Coronus, The Terminator
Steven Ellison is a multi-genre producer/rapper/singer from L.A who you may know as Flying Lotus. His video for ‘Coronus, The Terminator’ from his album ‘You’re Dead’ continues the death theme as we see a ghostly Ellison witness another mans final moments. The solemn and grave nature of the video results in a heartfelt piece of material rarely attempted in this golden age of technology. Director Young Replicant hits the nail on the head with this one.
Beirut – No No No
Directed by Brother Willis, the avant-garde clip begins with the guys starting a normal performance of their song, but quickly turns into a very bizarre and dreamy sequence. We see occurrences of instruments being replaced with outdoor grills and loaves of bread, a painter working on some impromptu repairs, and the band disappearing altogether. The music video will immediately recall memories of The Avalanches’ video for ‘Frontier Psychiatrist’ from 2000, which is widely considered one of the best music videos of all time, but those who have seen Brother Willis’ work before will immediately recognize his distinct vintage style. Willis had previously worked with She & Him (Zooey Deschanel’s band) for their ‘A Guide to Standards’ video in 2014 and his unique fingerprint is visible in both works.
Rich White Ladies – White Powder Perm
Bronx natives Tokyo Diiva and Scotty Rebel combine to form the hip-hip duo Rich White Ladies; a name they acquired when someone once told them they were giving off that vibe at a club. Since then, they’ve built a foundation on making songs that taunt the financial elite by putting out tracks called ‘One Percent’ and ‘Wimbledon’. The Ladies continue to follow their formula with their video for ‘White Powder Perm’ that centers on two actual rich white ladies who lip-sync the lyrics and share a blunt during tea time.