Each week, Moritz Gayard rounds up the best new music videos so you don’t have to.
2013 has been a banner year for music videos. The genre seems to be unstoppable, as we proved it every single week with this Videodrome column. This year I got told to drop some sort of a best videos list—not an easy task. Anyway, let’s get to it and salute my Ten Best Music Videos of 2013. On a side note: what has happened to Patrick Daughters?
#1 Placebo – “Too Many Friends”, directed by Saman Kesh
Saman Kesh is the best director working. Placebo is not the best band working. But this is definitely one of the most interesting and unique videos I’ve seen this year. Speaking to Videostatic, Saman Kesh explains: “It was designed as a puzzle. I actually got the idea when somebody told me ‘Hey man, I love your work… I’m always not sure If my interpretation is right though, but awesome!!!’ I was kind of sad by this as I took it as ‘your shit isn’t clear motherfucker!’—haha. So, it weaseled its way into the writing as a “what do YOU think happened, viewer?” We originally had four answers, but we found it to be a bit too confusing, so we decided to compartmentalize them into A) Guys fault, B) Girl’s fault, C) We are wrong, you tell us”.
#2 Mazes – “Bodies”, directed by Austin of Vision Fortune
Simplicity is king. Directed by Austin of Vision Fortune, this video explores the connection between moving and still imagery as several couples pose for photographs. Of the video Austin says, “The idea of the video came from the idea that we as humans are inevitably attracted to both moving image and still imagery such as photography and painting. The video explores and raises questions about the parallels between these two mediums: we see the subjects sitting as still as possible for these ‘video’ portraits, subtle nuances appear on closer inspection as we the audience see eyes blinking and twitching”.
#3 Co La – “Make It Slay”, directed by Andrew Strasser
Dem thirsty. Baltimore musician and producer Co La, signed to OPN’s infamous Software imprint, has released a hell of a CGI HD video centered solely around a champagne flute. Director Andrew Strasser on the clip: “‘Make It Slay’ is the kind of jam that inspires angles. When Matt approached me about making a video based around a champagne glass, the choice to animate freed any limits. This was also another opportunity to mix the message of carbonated ‘cola’. This video is full of references to 3D animation tutorial culture, but does not glamorize cyber culture. Instead it pits feat in idyllic artificial environments—beauty is your biggest enemy.”
#4 Death Grips – “You might think he loves you for your money but I know what he really loves you for it’s your brand new leopard skin pillbox hat”, self-directed
Fucking with all the boundaries left, Death Grips are showing a.g.a.i.n. the path to free your mind.
#5 Beach House – “Wishes”, directed by Eric Wareheim
It’s happening again: Laura Palmer’s dad lip-syncs to this dreamy Beach House track while riding a horse, surrounded by cheerleaders wearing horse masks in a soccer stadium?
#6 The Civil Wars – “The One That Got Away”, directed by Tom Haines
“The One That Got Away” was the first single from Grammy nominated goth folk duo The Civil Wars—unfortunately they split up before their new album was released. Longtime directing champion Tom Haines on the video: “I wanted to create the idea of a character who was living on the edge of society, but that gave her strength,” Haines says. “She is vulnerable but adaptable, and sadly, seismic natural disasters seem to be increasingly something we may have to live with, so adaptability is crucial to survival. It somehow reflected the ideas of loss, regret and transience which echo in the song.”
#7 Scratch Massive feat. Koudlam – “Waiting for a Sign”, directed by Edouard Salier
The video is set in some post-apocalyptic Thailand with boys lost in a Lord of the Flies daze. I love it. And Koudlam is the best thing that happened in 2013.
#8 Oneohtrix Point Never – “Still Life” (Betamale), directed by Jon Rafman
Extremely disturbing and extremely NSFW.
#9 Dean Blunt – “Felony / Stalker 7”, self-directed
искусство, обращенное спиной к зрителю, но силящееся объяснить ему выражение своего лица (за счет в основном обнажения боли, которое в то же время не считывается как жалоба).
#10 Pharrell Williams – “Happy”, directed by We Are From LA
You cannot watch this video and NOT want to dance by the end of it. Promise. Cameos include Odd Future’s Tyler, the Creator, Earl Sweatshirt, and Jasper, Jimmy Kimmel, Magic Johnson, Steve Carell, Jamie Foxx, Kelly Osboune. Pharrell Williams: “The best work comes from people who are motivated by crisis—when something stops the original idea, they respond by coming up with something even better. Existence is all mathematics, he says. There’s an equation for success in every obstacle.”
For more editions of Videodrome, click here.
Published December 18, 2013. Words by moritz.schmall.