It’s a medium we disregard far too often in the digital age: the music video. Artists are doing all they can to grab our attention with beautiful cinematography, intricate storytelling, and ambitious innovation. Below are the best of the best, according to yours truly.
Young Thug – “Wyclef Jean”
A hilarious effort at crafting a cohesive video after the main act, Young Thug himself, failed to show up for the shoot. It went on to win the MTV Video Music Award for Best Editing.
Charlotte Gainsbourg – “Deadly Valentine”
A simple but sweet love story, following a couple dancing from childhood to old age. The chemistry between Gainsbourg and Dev Hynes (Blood Orange) is magical. This video successfully achieves artfulness without being pretentious, matching Gainsbourg’s latest album perfectly.
Jay-Z – “The Story of O.J.”
This video is a bit like marmite, but the message is strong and (in my opinion) important. An interesting companion to the music video is this Elders React video.
Portugal. The Man – “Rich Friends”
The interactive version of this video does not add too much, but is a fun step in a smart direction. The story being told by the pop-ups that at times smartly overlap to create grim images, is something I’ve now seen before. How did no one think of this?
Charlie XCX – “Boys”
Completely innocent and just plain lovely. There is something for everyone (who likes boys), and the diversity in this video is not overt or a cheap marketing ploy. You can play this video on repeat for all eternity and I would never get bored. Mute the sound though, after like three times.
Kendrick Lamar – “DNA” and “Humble”
I couldn’t decide because both of these videos are so great. They’re like mini movies and one of them even has Don Cheadle rapping Kendrick’s lyrics at Kendrick!
Katy Perry ft. Migos – “Bon Appetit”
I like to think that there are two meanings to this video. One follows the lyrics: Katy saying that whoever this song is for can literally eat her like a buffet. The other is more sinister, and critiques the objectification of women by showing Katy literally being prepared for a meat market (aka a fancy club). If that’s not the case then this video is slightly disappointing, however worth the watch solely for the bread kneading scene that is very well edited.
Danny Brown – “Ain’t It Funny”
The thing I love most about this video is the constant psycho smile on Danny Brown’s face while this fake sitcom turns into a fake horror story.
Aminé – “Redmercedes”
This video is weird, uncomfortable, edgy. Aminé’s star is rising fast and he’s not afraid to make us feel awkward.
Naive New Beaters – “Words Hurt”
This has to be the best video I’ve seen all year. A Choose Your Own Adventure style video that is addictive, interactive, and insanely ambitious. This song is stuck in my head because I’ve been playing around with the video for a good half hour. And I still haven’t seen all the possible outcomes! You simply have to give this a try.