Man, videos, the internet, they are the future right? Maybe. I don’t know. But I watch a ton of them now, so that sounds correct to me. Here are some personal favorites, from the last twelve months.
1) "A Glorious Dawn" - Carl Sagan and Friends - The amount of times I watched these videos is unreal. Though I actually prefer "We Are All Connected" this is a much better example of this freakish autotune/science VHS tape mash-up. It’s weird but strangely addictive, making it a keeper for 2009.
2) "Pon De Floor" - Major Lazer - Words cannot describe. Eric Wareheim, you silly genius man baby you.
3) "We Were Once A Fairytale" - Kanye West - Short film? Artistic statement? Totally fun? All of the above? Sure, it runs a little long and gets super self-indulgent but if even a third of today’s popular musicians took pages out of the Kanye West music video playbook the world might be a better place. It would certainly look cooler.
6) "Kids" - MGMT - Ahhhhhhh! What the fuck Management? You have three or four really catchy songs and a bunch of other so-so ones and you want to start some kind of shitty electro-hippy thing and that qualifies you to make nightmare videos?
7) "There Will Be Tears" - Mr. Hudson - also directed by NABIL, who made this clip shiny was the video for “Welcome To Heartbreak”. I like them both, but this video feels much less forced. But seriously, 2009 is over, why don’t we let this whole “found” footage/VHS FX trend stagger and die already.
8) Autotune the News - These dudes deserve to be on here. Part of me doesn’t want to do it, part of me thinks they should be the first (however many entries in this series their are now) spots on this list. I tried to hate it. I did. But they got me. The schtick well won’t pump out hits like this forever, but I would love to watch them try. Thanks for making the office at work more enjoyable ATN guys.
9) "This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)" - Miles Fisher (Talking Heads cover) - Who is Miles Fisher? Is it the look alike Christian Bale in this video? I don’t know. I don’t care, at all. This cover doesn’t exactly have me rushing to find out more about him. I’m just a huge American Psycho fan, and this video nails it so hard. So good job Miles Fisher, whoever you are, I guess.
10) “ecstasy” - jj - It pains me how much I tried to really like jj and the xx this year. was it the double consonant sounds that did me in? Who knows. In my mind, jj has a slight edge anyways, if only for the ways in which they command cover versions. This isn’t quite a cover, but instead a vast improvement on both the original song and the original video.
11) "BRKLN CLLNG" - Joy Orbison - Maybe it’s the holidays that make me enjoy this all the much more. Who knows? The song is decent, though I disapprove of the name (seriously, Roy O is totally un-fuckwithable).
12) "Mykonos" - Fleet Foxes - Has the papercut animation thing been done to death already? Cool. Just asking. No need to get mad. This is a rad song with a great video to boot. Just lighten up, OK?
13) "No Hope Kids" - Wavves - Ahhhh, one of my favorite tracks of ‘09 partnered with horrific fake retro PSA violence. What more could you ask for in a video, I ask? I don’t think this is the actual video, but maybe it should be the actual video?
14) "When I Grow Up" - Fever Ray - Moody music videos were a stalwart of glorious musicians of days gone by, and nobody else today makes moody music videos like Fever Ray.
15) "Bad Romance" - Lady Gaga - What the hell? This sneaky bitch has made it on to every list I’ve made so far. How, what?!?? The video for “Pokerface” was a little too Peaches rip-off/Billy Idol/80’s club vomit stains/trying to hard for my taste, but this video raises the bar for people. People like say, Ciara. Or the Pussycat Dolls. Or Britney, or etc etc etc. They need to be challenged every once in a while.
16) "Zero" - Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Hey, you guys didn’t forget that Karen O was cute did you? OK, just checking. This video is good, this album is decent, but neither is as good as “Maps” or “Y Control”. I know bands aren’t supposed to do this, but please make more songs like that, OK YYYs? Or just let KO do her own thing and score more kids movies.
17) "Fed Up" - DJ Khaled - Khaled has made awful cameo-laden music video spectacles into a high art form. This is his latest endeavor. It’s fantastic. I don’t know who keeps giving him money to do these, but I know they will never go bankrupt. SPOILER ALERT: I like that it’s all really just a big commercial for his new headphones.
18) "Watching The Planets" - The Flaming Lips - Completely NSFW nude Portland bikers meet recently birthed equally nude Wayne Coyne? Now with hairy vagina metaphor ball!
19) "Lessons Learned" - Matt & Kim - I can’t really say why this video is on here. Probably because I watched it twenty times to see if it was real or not, and where the cuts and edits might be (because I am too lazy to Google it). I don’t really dig any songs on this album except “Daylight” (but who doesn’t?). If you hate this band, see them live, then either hate them a little less or accept that you will probably always hate them. Sidenote: could Kim look any more like a dude than she does in this video?
20) "Let Love Rule (Justice remix) - Lenny Kravitz - This is a joke, because Lenny Kravitz shouldn’t be allowed to make music anymore, and he should fire his web-savvy marketing team that (hopefully?) paid an arm and two legs for this so-so Justice remix. It seems only fitting that this salute to closing credits wraps up this list of music-related videos, amirite?
I really hate “bands to watch” or “hot lists”. But this year, I am making one because there’s a new decade coming up/for once I am really pumped about next year’s musical line up. I felt like this was a bit of a tide over year in many ways, so we’ll see what 2010 means. Feel free to dig this list up on Christmas Eve 2010 and mock away.
1) Toro Y Moi - If you had internet this year, you heard about this band. I kind of dismissed them for a while, but "Blessa" is easily one of my favorite songs of recent months. I have enough hope in everything I’ve heard that this band will continue to thrill in ‘10. Maybe not. But they still deserve that #1 spot!
2) Emmy the Great - Do you not know about Emmy the Great? educate yourself. this is one of my favorites by her. I know she’s been a big deal across the pond for a while, but she still doesn’t really seem like she’s reached her full potential. Florence blew up this year, why can’t Emmy? She might be a little high up on this list, but that’s only because I’m really pulling for her. You can do it Emmy, I know you can.
3) Jay Electronica - As a child born in ‘88, who came into his musical own around ‘02/’03, I have come to be extremely critical of these “saviors” of hip hop. At this point, I’d settle for a slight change of course away from radio mainstays, which is why I am eagerly watching JE. Just Blaze could make just about anyone sound like a grand master, but in listening to "Exhibit C" I become genuinely excited for whatever this guy gets up to in 2010.
4) Lightspeed Champion - OK, OK, OK, I know, I talk about this dude all the time but it’s only because he’s one of my favorites. Everyone kind of skipped over his last album, and in 2010 Test Icicles won’t even be a footnote, but there was (is!) so much there. Fantastic music all around. I dare you to watch this trailer for his upcoming single “Marlene” and try to act like your appetite hasn’t been sufficiently whetted.
5) T.I. - Because, you guys, T.I. just got out of jail! Not quite fully out, but sort of out, and eventually (in 2010) he will be totally out of jail. WHAT WILL HE DO? Probably not go totally wild, but hopefully not syrupy and reformed either. I would settle for a mix of both (Paper Trail pt. 2?). He doesn’t even have any albums in the pipeline for 2010 (as far as I know) which should be a clear indicator of how thirsty my head is for halfway decent hip hop. It’s because crap like “Rebirth” is fucking joke Wayne!
6) Smith Westerns - They put out a decent album this year, but I couldn’t really get into it. Is that weird? I liked it, didn’t hate it, but the direction/emoting on the album got me. I love the kind of simmering melting pot of weird teenage feelings vibe this band exudes. Is that just me? Maybe it’s just me. Anyways, I hope they keep doing what they do next year. Here is their myspace.
7) Banjo or Freakout - These kids today, they continue to surprise me. Here I am thinking we have plumbed the depths of basement recording and BOJ convinces me otherwise. Sounding altogether familiar and haunting and other great solitary adjectives, you can check it out here.
8) Fucked Up - I never really liked early Fucked Up, which is probably why I like “Chemistry of Common Life”. Now I can feel “edgy” and “metal”, but also “indie”. I don’t always get why I receive the amount of shit that I do for liking this band in their current state, but I will continue to like them despite it. Also, that charity cover of "Do They Know It’s Christmas?" was decent and has Andrew W.K. on it and helps women in Canada, which is great.
9) Vampire Weekend - This is really just my way of saying that I think the new Vampire Weekend CD is going to be good, even though everyone seems to think it will be really bad. I too thought it would be bad, because I had a crappy live version of this this song, but the shiny new version that’s floating around out there, paired with the other two singles, seals it for me. This will be good, maybe even great. Has this leaked yet? This hasn’t leaked yet has it? Not-thinking-too-much-feel-good-three-beer-buzz-indie-pop-for-next-year-ahoy!
10) Lady Gaga - Before you doubt, let’s take a second to acknowledge that this is the current face of American pop music. That’s great! I’m all for it! Even if it isn’t really all that edgy, if it makes some kids stand up and challenge themselves, I say go for it. I’m throwing the Gaganator on this list because I hope that 2010 is the year Lady Gaga completely drops out. Like shine on you crazy diamond, 100% checked out, off the rails crazy. Because everyone loves her, and in a year, she could be dead and it could be art! Or doing something else that is extremely wacky! And even if it isn’t being wacky, maybe it will make Rihanna and Beyonce and whoever else try to out-wack her, and that could also get very entertaining.
Honorary Mention/”#11 Spot” for 2010 - Weird Al Yankovic - I can’t actually find any shred of proof beyond internet whispers, so I have to put Al in a spot outside of the ten listed here. His label put an “Essential” collection out last year, which may have sparked desire for another album? I know his internet EPs did OK. Anyways, a new Weird Al album means good/bad things for the entire world! So here is hoping this actually pans out, and he makes lots of awesome videos for it.
for me, 2009 was a whole lot of “meh”, both personally and professionally. but I never stopped jamming! these were a few of my favorites. looking over the list I see a lot of stuff I didn’t think I would ever have really enjoyed, and I can’t help but think it’s because of the crappy year I had. who knows, I will probably hate most of this in ten years, but right now I’m all about it! I had to expand from ten to fifteen, so that says something for quality, right?
1) "Here We Go Magic" - Here We Go Magic from start to finish, way better than most and easily the best all year. I have never really been into anything else Luke Temple has worked on, but this takes the cake for me.
3) "Lungs" - Florence + the Machine this album could have been a lot of things it wasn’t, and I could do without some of the things it is. I like it a ton, but in a perfect world it would have been my #1 this year.
4) "Embryonic" - the Flaming Lips speaking as one that mostly hated the last album, this one is a fuzzy, super long delight to listen to. “Worm Mountain” is one of the best songs I’ve heard in a while.
5) "Two Suns" - Bat for Lashes to my mind the first B4L album was a little bit too much the sum of its influences, but this one seems to fit just right.
6) "Guns Don’t Kill People Lazers Do" - Major Lazer I think of Diplo as one of those dudes that can do just about anything right if he sets his mind to it. this album is a great example of him not doing anything at all, just resting his laurels and having fun. there are a few stinkers in here, but mostly just a fun ear candy record. the Eric directed videos don’t hurt either.
7) "Love vs. Money" - the Dream in a year when the man himself, R. Kelly, comes down from high, how does the new kid snake the best r&b album in years? I wanted to hate this so bad, but it just made me love it more.
10) "Hazards of Love" - the Decemberists truthfully, I didn’t care much for this at all until I saw it played live. completely blew me away, and repeated listens have convinced me of its genius. thanks Colin Meloy.
11) "Wavves" - Wavves this album is just so loud, I love the noise. without sounding overcompressed or processed it just screams at my every time I throw it on.
12) "The Fame Monster" - Lady GaGa blah blah blah blah I don’t care fuck you this is great (except for “Videophone”, but can you excuse it because on paper it should have been grand?).
13) "Tentacles" - Crystal Antlers another great show I missed this year. fuck. just sounds totally boss. check it out. I don’t know what else to say about this band, except that they will crush you to dust with organ sounds.
15) "So Far Gone EP" - Drake I will reserve full judgement on how jealous I am that Aubrey Graham got to be a part of Degrassi and Young Money Entertainment until the full album comes out next year. “Best I Ever Had” video, greatest basketball themed musical accompaniment ever?