As we hit the last few days of 2012 so starts the annual round up of blog content. Today we re-visit the finest videos of 2012. This isn’t a comment on the music, but the vehicle in which they’re delivered. Ever since it’s humbled 80s birth, which saw Buggles‘ debut single, Video Killed The Radio Star, upon the new channel they called MTV, we’ve all enjoyed an ever-increasing collection of music videos year on year.
The list is in no particular order, but every entry is noted for being outstanding. They have to be to shine above the multitude of ever-increasing quality and budgets. These days music videos are mini-films, utilising advanced technology and teams of skilled people, but what really makes them stand out is not just the exceptional execution but the idea from which they initially originated. Here we celebrate the imagination as much as the budget. Enjoy, and please let us know which are your picks of 2012?
WOODKID – RUN BOY RUN
The debut album from Woodkid, The Golden Age, isn’t due out until 2013, but with videos of this much quality and of this much invention we couldn’t get much more excited. Almost as much of a high-end stage production as it is a music video, shot mostly entirely side on, in a dramatic sequence that matches the thousand drummers with every step the boy takes in his stride. We shouldn’t be surprised by it’s quality, as the musician behind Woodkid, Yoann Lemoine, is actually best known as a music video director for major label artists – see his exceptional big-budget productions for the likes of Katy Perry, Taylor Swift and Lana Del Rey. With his own short film, which takes equally from the wonderful fantasies of Where The Wild Things Are and Shadow Of The Collosus, he may just have produced a video that beats all his major label clients to the punch.
MIA – BAD GIRLS
Following Romain Gavras‘ work on MIA’s controversial Born Free video back in 2010, this director gained notoriety and some lucrative contracts involving Adidas commercials and Jay-Z/Kanye West videos. His juxtaposed work continues with this extraordinary, award-winning video for MIA’s Bad Girls. Is there any other artist better placed than her to capture an underground Middle-Eastern culture? Like all the best music videos, MIA delivers a four-minute wonder that you cannot take your eyes off. There are familiar images of burning oil fields and Hi-jabs, but there’s also bling in the gold chains and loosely-executed dance routines, although almost everything else is entirely and brilliantly unfamiliar. Cars are joy-ridden around the dusty landscape, racing BMWs on two wheels in a repeatedly impressive stunt, exacerbated by MIA leaning out the window filing her nails. Bad girls exist everywhere it seems. This video fucks with stereotypes as if its a microcosm of MIA’s image. It’s dangerous, it’s adrenaline-fuelled, it’s slick and it’s a shit-load of fun, something all young people desire, no matter where they’re from.
CLOCK OPERA – LESSON No.7
Almost any of Clock Opera’s videos from 2012 could have been selected, but as we strive to separate the music from the visual art form we have only selected one. Although Lesson No.7 is indeed a powerful song, Aloife McArdle‘s video nails Guy Connelly’s underdog appeal to perfection. Her ability to create fictional British narratives that are all too familiar, showing us the gritty underbelly of our sink estates in a manner not seen since her last wonderful video for the track Isles by Little Comets (which made our previous Recommender video lists in previous years), or indeed since Shane Meadows’ film This Is England, which seems a clear inspiration. If you’re looking for the tone of the music and of the video to match, then you won’t get many that marry it up better than this.
MIKHAEL PASKALEV – I SPY
Slow motion seems a reoccurring feature of modern music videos, to the point of it becoming a little cliche. Slow something down to a silly number of frames per second and it will always look interesting, right? Wrong. The real trick is in how you utilise it. Here we have a video that plays with the slower frame rate in a masterful direction that mixes up the wonderful slow motion with something as simple as fucking about in your house. As Mikhael prances about in his underwear we get understated flashes of slow motion that you don’t expect. This gets an entry onto our list for it’s invention alone.
IAMAMIWHOAMI – KILL
They seem to have had an entry upon every year of our annual video round-up, having been teasing us for over two years with a long viral Youtube campaign. It eventually led to the eventual release of their debut album, Kin, which finally arrived this year. The trail of videos they left in the over-long run up were all a wonder to the eye, seeming to challenge the mind as much as their budget with grand ideas and cinematic productions. Although this isn’t the very final video of theirs, we think it’s one of the best to arrive in 2012 as their campaign drew to it’s conclusion. This is where the weird met the wonderful.
SEBASTIEN TELLIER – COCHON VILLE
This eclectic French producer has provided one of the most NSFW videos of all time. With naked people, sexual acts all over the place and Ku Klux Klan iconography, this isn’t just not safe for work, this isn’t safe for anywhere. It gets onto our list for it’s shock value, for being full of bat-shit-bonkers ideas, and for it’s decent production. Only Sebastien Tellier could come up with this and only Sebastien Tellier could get away with this.