It’s final four time, my top four favorite music videos of 2012. Each video that I’ve chosen below contains something unique that makes it so much more than just another great music video. In the future when I think back on this year, this is what I hope I remember about it. With that said, let’s not waste any more time with my pointless drivel. Let’s get to the videos!
4. Futurecop! – The Only Way (feat. Keenhouse)
If you don’t understand why I love this video so much, then I guess you really don’t know me all that well. “The Only Way” is the perfect mixture of 80’s movie nostalgia, cute girls, dorkier dancing and a whole lot of weirdness. Plus unicorns! Not sure what I like more about this tribute to 1987’s Mannequin, the lead actress’ laughably awkward dancing or the song’s unbelievably catchy chorus. No matter where I am or what it is I’m doing, once I hear “Because you know, know, know up is the only way / The only way, the only way out” I’m singing along. Hell, for most of the song I’m usually singing along. Everything about this is catchy and infectious, and this video is definitely a strong contender for the video I watched the most times overall in 2012.
3. Kindness – House
“House” is one of the most unorthodox videos I’ve ever seen and it’s also this year’s video most likely to put a smile on your face and make you feel better about life in general. This is a pretty amazing feat for a single music video, but then again this is one very special music video. The actual song is only played during the final two minutes of its six minute, forty-five second playing time; the other almost five minutes consists of a PBS-like program where Adam teaches a little boy (and thus by extension, us) the components that make up his song. The first minute of the video has Adam speaking directly to us, giving us his treatise on Pop music. It felt exactly like he plucked those words directly out of my brain, it resonated with me so much. A while back I had a friend once say that he thought my general sensibilities towards music were Pop. Since barely any of the music I was listening to at that point would technically fit into the genre called “Pop”, I at first thought he was really off base. But then when I thought about it more what he was saying was actually pretty accurate. While I don’t listen to boy bands or much else you might classically consider pop, pop music is actually much bigger than that. It’s something catchy and indescribable in music that makes us happy, makes us want to dance, hits us in some primitive, primeval pit of our insides that we can’t fully explain. This video doesn’t just play us a fantastic pop song, it shows us how that song is made, through the eyes of a child nonetheless. It’s like a masters class on music appreciation that anyone can enjoy and understand and, I dare say, love.
2. Grimes – Oblivion
One of the big things that the year will be known for is that 2012 was the year Grimes blew up big. Last year she was buzzing around but barely anyone but the most hipsterific bloggers paid much attention. Something happened in 2012 though. As parts of her debut album ‘Visions’ leaked onto the net suddenly everyone started to realize that this shy girl from Canada was making some truly amazing music. I almost immediately fell in love with her sound, as proved by the fact that I was blogging about her almost constantly and I managed to see her not once, but twice this year in concert. While “Genesis” was the defining Grimes song of the year, the moment that really started the snowball down the mountain was the release at the beginning of the year of this video for “Oblivion”. There’s just so much going on in this video and it really benefits from the fact that the vast majority of it is unscripted. Grimes went to a real football game and motocross event and filmed herself singing the lyrics to her song as real life happened all around her. Some of the resulting moments are really magical and memorable, and this video signaled the start of her meteoric rise to stardom. This video is one of my most favorite videos ever, and only reason it isn’t number one on this list was because it was trumped this year by an event that proved to be even more epic than anything I could have anticipated…
1. iamamiwhoami – kin
I know it’s kind of a cop-out to have a 9 way tie between 9 separate videos to be your favorite music video of the year, but then iamamiwhoami is someone who regularly breaks all the rules, usually in spectacular fashion. kin started out as just another random music video for a song called “sever”, which featured a odd, Chewbacca-like man I nicknamed the “Mop Monster”. There was no indication that this would be just a part of a larger whole, and as video after video started to roll out week after week with no announcement and no warning it became apparent that we were suddenly becoming part of something really magnificent. The mystery grew and grew. How many videos was this going to stretch into? Are all the videos suppose to be linked? If so, what does it all mean? I don’t think I’ve ever spent so much time before or since watching and re-watching videos, dissecting them for hidden meanings, pouring over lyrics looking for common themes. My enthusiasm for what became her debut album named ‘kin’ grew into almost an obsession where I couldn’t wait until the next week to see if there was going to be another video.
The reason why I’m calling all 9 videos the video of the year is because they really are meant to be seen as a whole. Each video carries extra meaning when watched with all the others, creating a fully realized experience truly unlike much else out there. My favorite video of the bunch is probably “play”, the most upbeat and magnetic song of the group. It’s got this sleazy, sexy beat that goes perfectly with the images of her dancing with the mop monsters in her own mop fur coat. While “play” is energetic and fun, my second favorite “kill” is the most polar opposite of the series in terms of tone and sound. It’s such a sad and tragic song (especially when you figure out what all the songs are about) and it has more than once put a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye from it’s powerful imagery. But above and beyond all of that, it’s just a magnificent song, perfect in design and execution.
Words can’t really explain how much these songs mean to me, and how much the videos represent together as a piece of art. I don’t want to write much more about the songs that comprise ‘kin’ since I’ve already spent so much time in the past writing about them in great detail. I’ve included “play” and “kill” below for you to watch again and enjoy and I’ve put the “mop monster” tag below so you can go back and watch all the videos in the series back to back, just like they were meant to be enjoyed.