Well, this is it. The final five. My five most favorite videos of the year. After 6 long days of me saying to myself, “What the hell were you thinking?” and then, “Seriously, what were you thinking?” while writing about 25 amazing music videos, we’re finally at the end, the part you’ve all been waiting for… that’s right, The Final Countdown. Take it away, Gob:
5. Laura Welsh – Cold Front
Laura Welsh’s “Cold Front” is one of the most beautiful, most visually arresting videos of the year. The deft choreography uses shadows and wind to manipulate her body, pushing and pulling her in all directions. It is breathtaking. The editing has a real palatable kinetic energy about it, helping solidify the allusion that the intangible song has taken control and started to manipulate all of her movements. While the video kind of loses me at the end when she gets covered with all of the black goo, everything before that is just perfect.
4. French Horn Rebellion – Dancing Out (feat. Jody Watley & Young Empires)
French Horn Rebellion put out a lot of amazing work this year, just check out here or here. But to my mind the best thing they released all year long was “Dancing Out”, a fantastically energetic he said/she said duet that brings to mind a sunnier version of Human League’s “Don’t You Want Me”. This is the video that made me fall in love with the band, and even after all the other great work that they put out after this, “Dancing Out” is still one of the highlights of my year. Both the song and video follow the story of a boy and girl who are both really into the other, but that attraction naturally makes them really nervous and self-conscious around each other. Unbeknownst to the other they’re both worried about acting like a fool while dancing together.But all it takes is a little magic French Horn solo action to get everyone in the mood to break out into one of the best choreographed cheesy 80’s dance routines ever put to film.
3. HAERTS – All The Days
HAERTS’ “All The Days” is not just one of my favorite songs of 2013, it’s one of my most favorite songs ever. I mean, come on; if you don’t absolutely love this song I question whether there is actual blood pumping through your veins. To call the song epic is an understatement. To do so is to imply that The Lord of The Rings is just a book about a carefree stroll through the woods amongst friends. It’s so good I’m having a hard time finding the right words to describe it. When you listen to it, it sounds like it’s the biggest, most important song that there’s ever been and ever will be. The relentless bassline drives the song forward while the echo-y reverb effect on the drums adds this whole other layer of grandiose epicness to the song. Nini Fabi’s soaring vocals just melt you into a puddle. And I love how the song does a fake-out and seems to end about two and half minutes in (even the dancers start to take a break), only to slowly build back up again and close with one hell of a powerful finish.
I love how the video uses real people of all ages for the dancers instead of the usual Hollywood model types you would typically find in most movies. It reminds me a lot of how in many movies from the 70’s and 80’s you would see normal folks sitting in a bar or roadhouse, because more often than not the film was actually shot in a small town and those extras were the actual people who lived there, unlike most films nowadays where all the extras are fake-looking wannabe actors in Hollywood hoping that their one second of screentime will magically turn into their big break. The choreography in the video feels natural and organic, as if it were the song itself compelling them to dance their asses off, and all the dancers seem to be having a genuinely great time, which adds a lot of extra weight to the video. I don’t know what else to say, really, aside from mentioning one more time that this song is one hell of a masterpiece.
2. Hypnolove – Winter In The Sun (Pilooski edit)
Pilooski’s genius edit of Hypnolove’s “Winter In The Sun” makes the original sound like a mere rough draft. That’s not to say the original is bad in any way. The original version of “Winter In The Sun” is very good and it sounds almost exactly like this version, but you can just tell that it feels like there is something missing, like they knew that they were onto something great, something that was hidden in there simmering right underneath the surface, but they just couldn’t figure how to coax it out. The original felt just a little bit too long, with just a little too many elements going on. Pilooski’s outside eyes nip and tuck the song, keeping the bright melodies and sunny Caribbean beat that makes this the perfect summer song and altering it just enough to make it perfect. It amps up the sex and tightens everything up to pop perfection.
The video is an entertaining retro Euro sex romp filled with accidental discoveries, mistaken assumptions, multi-framed tracking shots, clever juxtapositions and gorgeous cinematography. My favorite juxtaposition is of the son bouncing in the back seat of the car while the wife is bouncing on the delivery boy she spontaneously bedded after finding a condom in her husband’s jacket pocket (it’s not his) and assuming that he’s having an affair (which he actually is). The multi-paned editing builds tension, giving us information that the other parties in the video don’t have access to while heightening the anticipation about whether or not each member of the couple’s infidelities are going to be discovered. The video is almost an advertisement for condoms, the conclusion being that maybe a little carefree safe sex is good for everyone, good for the marriage and good for the soul.
Just in case you haven’t watched this one before it should be noted that the video includes copious amounts of sex and nudity, so a big NSFW tag on this one, alright? Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
I’d first like to apologize for the cloak & dagger mysterious nature of this post, but I have no idea how long this video will stay up before the internet police take it down, so I’d like to keep things as search engine unfriendly as I possibly can so you all can enjoy this video as much as I already have. Let me explain: When I first saw this video back in April I immediately fell in love with it. I probably watched it a few dozen times in those first few days, but when I went back to look for it later in the year in preparation for this Best Of list I discovered that the video had been taken down and its existence had almost completely been scrubbed from the internet. Concerned, I contacted video creator David Dean Burkhart to find out what exactly had happened:
“Yeah it got blocked worldwide like 4 days after I posted it (once it was announced that the leak of the album wasn’t legit). I plan on reposting it as soon as the song is released officially, but knowing [???], that could be awhile… sorry.”
Deeply bummed out and upset that I wasn’t going to be able to share one of my all-time favorite videos I asked Mr. Burkhart if I could have a copy of the video for my own viewing pleasure and then I asked if he would be OK with me posting it on my own for everyone else to watch, and surprisingly he said yes to both requests. Hence all the mystery and the fake name on the Vimeo account; I don’t want anyone at the label to figure out that I reposted the video, at least not until everyone’s gotten a fair chance to watch it.
David Dean Burkhart has always had an uncanny knack for finding the right source material to match the music for his videos, and this video is a perfect example of how great an editor he is. I’m not sure where he found this Bollywood video but it couldn’t be a better fit for this song if it was new footage shot specifically for this video. The quick edits and snap zooms perfectly match the frantic energy of the song, while the dancing choreography fits together so well with the music that you could be forgiven for thinking that the chiming sounds of the finger cymbals and bells were actually coming from the jangly metal pieces of her outfit.
Here’s just a few of my favorite moments from the video: I love how the quick insert shots of the unimpressed woman sitting at the table match up perfectly at 0:37 and 0:39 with the music stopping for the “uhn” / “special” parts of the song. At 1:24 she seems to be saying “yeah” with her whole body in perfect time with the song. And the quick cutting of the static color-filtered headshots from 2:13-2:23 seem to perfectly encapsulate the spaced-out break in the song. Throughout the whole video it almost seems as if the music itself is propelling her hips via some unseen guiding hand. The whole video is perfect, just perfect.
If you still can’t figure out who made this song (especially after the first 10 seconds of the video *hint* *hint*) or you would like to learn a little more about the leak that caused this video to get taken down, then go ahead and click the ??? tag at the bottom of the page to see my original blog post about this video.