There’s something about watching a great music video that just makes a song seem so much better. Here are 10 videos that kept our eyes glued to the screen, our heads bobbing, and our feet tapping this year.
Grimes: “Flesh Without Blood/Life in the Vivid Dream”
Grimes’ Art Angles is racking up the year-end awards, but it was the trippy, psycho-thriller video for “Flesh Without Blood/Life in the Vivid Dream” that got the Internet buzzing. From the flamboyant outfits to the blood-soaked Grimes drifting in a pool, the video left people simultaneously wanting more and wondering WTF?
Sufjan Stevens: “No Shade in the Shadow of the Cross”
The album’s most haunting and devastating track required only a single shot. Filmed from a perch on a cliff’s edge, Stevens’ gentle voice and guitar arpeggios drift into your ears as clouds and waves slowly shift across the landscape. The stillness of the scene forces listeners to focus on Stevens and allow themselves to be swept away by the song.
Sia, “Elastic Heart”
Sia has a knack for delivering visual experiences that match her upbeat and hypnotic power pop tracks. “Elastic Heart” is no exception featuring Internet favs Shia LaBeouf and Maddie Ziegler engaging in a choreographed dance routine that veers from primal to the absurd. With more than 460 million views, it was one of the most-watched music videos of the year.
*FKA twigs, “M3LL155X” *
FKA Twigs is one of the most engaging artists, challenging genre norms and visual aesthetics. The industrial and heavy sonic landscape of “M3LL155X” is matched visually with intense camera effects, changes in speed, and shifts in focus that keep up with FKA twigs’ cutting-edge output.
*Courtney Barnett, “Pedestrian at Best” *
Courtney Barnett’s Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit is one of the most refreshing, powerful and well-constructed albums of the year. The music video for the lead single “Pedestrian at Best” features Barnett parading around a circus, dressed as a clown who is failing to impress hordes of bratty attendees. Perhaps she’s giving a clue into how it feels to be under the pressure from the blogosphere and press where every song, lyric, and performance of hers is under scrutiny. But Barnett shouldn’t be afraid as her contributions to music in 2015 were some of the most welcomed and lauded.
Dawes, “All Your Favorite Bands”
A DIY production, featuring a montage of friends and musicians lip-syncing and culminating with a chorus of elementary school-age kids backing frontman Taylor Goldsmith on the final chorus, Dawes’ “All Your Favorite Bands” is a feel-good goodbye to a lost love that can only make you smile.
*Tame Impala, “Let It Happen” *
Kevin Parker is the creative force behind Tame Impala and declarations that the band’s 2015 album Currents would elevate the group to global stardom are on point. The video for “Let It Happen” features a frenetic, strung-out business man, chugging from airport terminal to hotel room and back in what could be seen as a nod to how Parker and his bandmates feel as appointed world-beaters and the new sound of rock. But as the song title suggests, we hope Parker will “Let It Happen” and simply ride this wave out in euphoric bliss and keep on releasing some of the best music out there.
*Rihanna, “BBHMM” *
Rihanna didn’t break the Internet with this video, but she certainly came close. The 18+ video featured Rihanna hell-bent on settling scores and taking no prisoners as the songs chorus vibrates through a series of vengeful acts and concludes with Rihanna getting what’s hers — and no one is left standing in her way.
*Marriage, “Boy M” *
“Boy M” is the second in a series of nine music videos produced for Marriage’s debut release OK to Disconnect. The experimental electro project created dedicated visual experiences for each song. String them all together or enjoy them as bite-sized singles.
*Toro Y Moi, “Empty Nesters” *
Chaz Bundick has been releasing music under the Toro Y Moi moniker since 2010 and his fourth full-length What For? finds him tinkering with new sounds. “Empty Nesters” is one of the album’s highlights, and this self-directed video features Bundick racing through greenhouses and strumming his guitar around fountains and on hill tops. It’s fun loving, fresh and solely unique, just like the music.