Ashley’s Top 15 Music Videos of 2013

24 Dec

Last year I made a list of my favorite music videos from the year and, to be honest, I kinda rushed through it.  This year, I decided that I would do my level best to follow music videos year-round and compile a list of my favorites, rather than doing it all in one night, based on other people’s lists of favorites.  The result of that journey was what you see below.  An excellent adventure that began with the return of a legend and ended this very evening with a hilarious bit of music video genius.  So here are my top 15 music videos of 2013, along with 2 honorable mentions that kinda don’t actually count, sorta…you’ll see.

Honorable Mentions:

Let’s get these out of the way first.  If this was the actual original artist of the song, it would easily take first place as best video of the year.  Unfortunately…it’s a parody and it has to be treated as such.  Ladies and gentlemen…

James Franco and Seth Rogen – Bound 3:

This gem was brought to us by some internet blog or another and it led me to a series of other equally amazing videos.  These kids have talent…I’m not really sure why this is on my honorable mentions list, I guess I just thought it was too cute to judge along with the others:

The NSJ Crew – Khaki Pants

And now, without further ado…the rest of the list

15) Moderat, “Bad Kingdom”

There are a lot of videos, commercials and other media forms that have done this style before, so I think that’s why it placed so low, but, regardless, it’s very pretty, fits well with the music and it’s easy to lose yourself in it’s blueish glow.

14) Anna Kendrick – “Cups”

This song may not be the greatest thing I’ve ever heard, but who hasn’t  gone to a party and had a game of cups initiate itself out of thin air?  I’m glad this song made the game popular all over again and the video is a treat to watch.  Professional Cups action.

13) Yo La Tengo – “I’ll Be Around”

Anyone familiar with Yo La Tengo may already be aware of how…unique…their videos can be.  This one is no exception.  When I first started watching it, I found myself thinking, “Ok…where is this going,” but by the end, I was cracking up.  It’s so simple and yet, it works so very well.

12) Shugo Tokumaru – “Katachi”

I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I did consult a few year-end lists for video ideas.  I’m glad I did.  I would never have seen this video otherwise and it’s a beauty.  Full disclosure, stop motion is one of my favorite things in the universe, so perhaps I’m a little biased.

11) Tyler, the Creator – “IFHY”

This video loses points for turning into something completely different and no where near as creative for the last minute, but the first 3.5 minutes?  Wow, wow, wow.  Alarming…creepy…and full of so much narration through visuals alone.

10) David Bowie – “The Stars Are Out Tonight”

This was one of many astounding videos to join in with the already shockingly brilliant announcement of a new David Bowie album.  When the man decides to come back after a 9-year hiatus, he does it in style.  This video shares some of the main themes of the album, as we watch Bowie and Tilda Swinton pursued by the Paparazzi…sorta.

9) Disclosure f/ AlunaGeorge – “White Noise”

I’m breaking my one song per artist rule for this because I think this is one of the sweetest and most sincerely enjoyable video experiences I’ve had all year.  What a beautiful story of one man’s pursuit of a purely joyful experience all his own and what a delightfully adorable ending as well.  Plus, this song <3.

8) Capital Cities – “Kangaroo Court”

This might be one of the most unsettling videos I’ve seen all year.  Animal masks are always a no in my book, regardless of the context surrounding them, but this video and it’s conclusion just take things to a whole new level.  Not a video I like to watch in the middle of the night.  Props on just how good the makeup is, though.

7) Spiritualized – “I Am What I Am”

I wouldn’t necessarily say this video “haunted” me through most of the year, but I will certainly say that it stuck with me.  There have been a few movies and other videos I’ve watched in the past few months that, in some small way, reminded me of the video for this song and I was immediately transported back to its haunting finale.  Not quite as good as the video for “Hey Jane”, but that would take some doing.

6) Disclosure – “When a Fire Starts to Burn”

When you write one of the most obnoxiously catchy songs to be released in quite some time, you’d better have a great video to go along with it.  And oh Lord, sweet Jesus, does this one ever.  It’s basically the most perfect music video accompaniment I’ve ever seen…basically.

5) Bob Dylan – “Like a Rolling Stone”

Interactive videos are always going to end up high on my list (hint, hint).  I love people who are willing to incorporate all that technology has to offer in the dying age of the video.  It really gives us something to look towards, plus innovation is amazing.  So, it’s fairly ironic to see that one of the better interactive videos of the year comes from a song that’s just shy of being 50 years old.  I guess it just took a long time for the tech to catch up with the song, but now that it finally has a music video, we should all bask in its glow.

You’ll have to click the link here to enjoy, but I promise it’s worth it, simply to watch Chumlee singing along.

4) Run the Jewels – “A Christmas F*cking Miracle”

Better late than never, I just saw this video for the first time this evening.  Was the catalyst for finally making this post, actually.  I’m always going to be a sucker for videos that are hilarious.  Always (hint, hint).  These two guys clearly love each other and I am so glad I had the pleasure to see that live this summer, even if only for a few songs during their set at Pitchfork Festival.  Merry Christmas, everyone.

3) Beach House – “Wishes”

Look, let’s just lay it all out here, ok?  Tim and Eric are one of my favorite things to have ever happened to television.  They have their finger right on the pulse of what is both offensive and hilarious, without too frequently crossing the line.  Additionally, Twin Peaks was also one of my favorite things to have ever happened to television.  Combine Eric and the dad from Twin Peaks into an insanely traumatizing video and you have yourselves the #3 spot on my list.

2) Cold Mailman – “My Recurring Dream”

Halfway through the year, I used a list by Stereogum to catch up with what I might have missed in videos.  I have never heard of this band and I still haven’t heard anything else by them, but this video instantly catapulted to my favorite of the year.  My favorite music video of all time is “Big Love” by Fleetwood Mac, so that might have something (everything) to do with it.  While it’s not quite as seamless as its predecessor, it’s no-less inventive.  Plus, I highly doubt this video had anything close to resembling the budget that “Big Love” did, so definite props for that.

1) Arcade Fire – “Reflektor” (Interactive)

It’s just a shame for Cold Mountain that Arcade Fire decided that “The Wilderness Downtown” wasn’t the best they could do, as far as being able to bring their audience into a video in a wildly inventive new way.  To really, really get the most out of this video, you’re going to need Chrome and you’re gonna need a smart phone.  It takes time to set  up, but unless Virtual Reality ever becomes a normal thing, I don’t think you’re likely to ever have this much of an impact on a music video again.  Unless Arcade Fire decide to up the ante once again next time out.

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