I LOVE music videos. I enjoy when two senses can combine to create something new: better than the two parts. I prefer videos that have music in them. I’m tired of Stop-Motion. I want to understand them without needing sixteen mixtures of illegal substances. I’d like them to be less than 10 minutes. I’d like them to be about one song, preferably one that doesn’t make my ears bleed. And thusly,
The 10 Best Music Videos of 2010:
10. She & Him – “In The Sun”
(Directed by Peyton Reed)
Zoey Deschannel is beautiful. M. Ward is a badass. The song is wonderful. This video negates everything Britney Spears has ever done.
9. Shit Robot – “Take ‘Em Up” (ft. Nancy Whang)
(Directed by Eoghan Kidney)
This is example of a video with great visual concepts, as simple as they may be, done well. Born in color, it features Nancy Whang of LCD Soundsystem walking, and then running a bit. But the shadows she leaves behind can either represent her past, her thoughts, or nothing at all. It’s a gorgeous video that my eyes never got tired of seeing.
8. Fang Island – “Life Coach”
(Directed by Carlos Perez)
I am a simple man. Samurai Asian Elvis slaughtering Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood Of Make-Believe (capitalized for respect) on suburban streets in faux slow-mo is all I want. The thing is, it fits “Life Coach” most perfectly. I had always pictured a ridiculously colorful scene bursting with absurdness whenever I listened to the track, and director Carlos Perez seemed to understand exactly what was needed, and heeded. I’d like to think a castle could take a Samurai in a fight, but this clip proves otherwise.
7. FM Belfast – “Underwear”
(Directed by Daniel Scheinert & Dan Kwan)
The song from the Icelandic group is basically about people in underwear, but the visual companion provides amazing depth(?) to the idea. What if people in cave lighting were having apparent seizures in their favorite places…while disrobing? Using mounted camera techniques and combining video from multiple camera placements, the scenes wobble, spin, split and then rehash themselves into distortion. It leaves you with a disoriented feeling, one akin to spinning in circles for a few minutes. Trivia fact: the directors are actually IN the video (a slight no-no, but forgivable). Daniel is Mr. Beard, and Dan is Mr. shooting boxers out of his crotch. Well done boys.
6. Nobody Beats The Drum – “Grindin’”
(Directed by Rogier van der Zwaag)
Technically this is stop-motion. I guess I meant I was tired of people seemingly skipping from one place to another doing mundane things. There is nothing mundane about this video. 4085 pictures were taken of assembled models that follow every second of “Grindin’” to minute visual detail. God knows how long it took. Probably lasted through van der Zwaag’s (also a member of Nobody Beats The Drum) formative years. You can watch the mockumentary “making of” here.
(Side question: You ARE enlarging these right? You should be.)
5. Scissor Sisters – “Invisible Light” –NSFW
(Directed by Nicolas Mendez)
Scissor Sisters aren’t normally my band of choice, but they hit pretty close to home on their video for the “Invisible Light” single. Shot in a 1970 sensual escapade style, it makes fun of you and your petty logic. Your fear, your paranoia, your urges and your faith might all be tested by the images spliced together here. I interpret them as a schizophrenic visual recording of the effects an unseen force (Invisible Light?) is having on one woman’s life. My favorite part is when the leaves reveal green grass. It’s pretty. Oh, and watch out for the hypnotist.
4. Tame Impala – “Expectation”
(Directed by Clemens Habicht)
I love Fall. I love Fall in the woods. I love Fall in the Parisian woods. I love Fall in the Parisian woods with Tame Impala playing a great song in Kaleidoscope fashion. Flares, a 360 degree camera and a late day jam makes a lovely thing to see. It creates a relaxing mood that makes the world fade and the yellows/reds of the leaves jump out. It’s a serene float on the waves, and perfect on the eyes. Just wonderful.
3. Laura Gibson & Ethan Rose – “Younger”
(Directed by Ryan Jeffery)
Questions: why is she tearing out the pages? Why did she rip the picture oh so carefully? How is the lighting oh so gorgeous? Why is Ethan Rose doing all the sweeping? It must be that Laura Gibson is a revered, although isolated queen in the dilapidated kingdom the video reveals. She’s surrounding herself with words of the world, or to make sure no one else gets to see them. They are for her world ONLY. I put this video at number 3 because it’s so incredibly rare for Laura Gibson to make a video (I believe this is her 1st!). She’s an incredibly shy performer. And for her to come out and create a music video with such dear feelings intertwined and gentle caresses of ideas and thoughts is fantastic. This year should celebrate a video from Laura Gibson, and the equally great Ethan Rose.
2. !!! – Jamie, My Intentions Are Bass
(Directed by Saman Keshavarz)
With an overtly sexual innuendo where flowers and flower petals symbolize all sorts of things, !!! (pronounced Chk Chk Chk) makes a video that will rock the ages. It’s a story of a man who just wants a woman to love, but has to jump through all sorts of obstacles to get to her. The chase to claim her is what makes the highlight reel. The transportation via colored pillars is a neat concept, and they use it to full effect; throwing frontman Nick and the viewer into random scenes and situations. It’s outrageously bold and colorful, and tragically fun to watch. There’s no deep thoughts here; just pure enjoyment. Sit back with your arms crossed, and prepare to giggle.
1. Zola Jesus – “Sea Talk”
(Directed by Jacqueline Castel )
It’s impossible for this song not to affect the video. It serves it whole-heartedly. Here, in blue light and white static Zola Jesus meets her poltergeist. Simple enough. But the reflections in the mirror, the unnatural movements throughout, the wavering shadows and the loneliness in the house are the wonder of it. I don’t think I’ll be able to get the picture of 2:08 out of head ever. I don’t want to. There’s probably a more technically complicated video out there that deserves more of a mention, but for some reason, the video for Zola Jesus’s “Sea Talk” hit me the hardest, with its simple beauty. Sleepwalking to lightning is very persuasive to me.
Jacqueline Castel has directed 3 videos for Zola Jesus. Watch a “making of” “Sea Talk” here.
Stay tuned for TWJ’s final installment of the 20 Best Albums of 2010! #10-1 is coming up next!
Highlife – “Moon In My Eyes”
LCD Soundsystem – “Drunk Girls”
Olof Arnalds – “Surrender”
Mirah – “The Forest”
Cate Le Bon – “Hollow Trees, House Hounds”
Klaxons – “Twin Flames” (NSFW)
Grinderman – “Heathen Child” (NSFW)
DELS – “Shapeshift”
HEALTH – “We Are Water” (NSFW)
Phoenix Foundation – “Buffalo”
El Guincho – “Bombay” (NSFW)
Arcade Fire – “The Suburbs”
Warpaint – “Elephant”
The Naked and Famous – “Young Blood”
PS22 Chorus – “Lisztomania” (Phoenix Cover)
Chromeo – “Don’t Turn the Lights On”
Massive Attack – “Splitting The Atom”
The Hundred In Hands – “Pigeon”
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists – “Bottled In Cork”
Oh No Ono – “Swim” (NSFW…kinda)
Tapes ‘n Tapes – “Freak Out”
Lazer Sword – “Beast’s Reprise”
Figurines – “Lucky To Love”
Canyons – “My Rescue”