Things get a little weird on today’s countdown, but in a good way. (At least for me, anyways. The rest of you weirdos better get on board.)
6. Allie X – Bitch
I’m always impressed by someone who can do a lot with basically no budget. Using a VHS camera and other cheap optical effects this video for Allie X’s “Bitch” gives a simple trip around a supermarket an apocalyptic, end of the world, Repo Man-esq quality that’s absolutely mesmerizing. Think about what this video would look like shot in HD. It would probably look ridiculous. And yet with the right filters and clever editing this is one of the most compellingly watchable videos of the year. And the song itself is far and away one of my very favorites from 2014. The moody atmosphere and epic anthem blasting chorus of “Boom Boom!” sends shivers up my spine every time.
5. Jack Ladder and the Dreamlanders – Come On Back This Way (feat. Sharon Van Etten)
“Come On Back This Way” just happens to be the perfect companion piece to “Bitch” and I love it for a lot of the same reasons. From almost the instant this video first started I was hooked, much like our slide guitar playing friend above. The video is weird, which I realize is probably going to put some of you off, but you’ve really got to give it a chance because that weirdness is what makes it so special. It has this hypnotic, Twin Peaks quality that sucks you in and transports you someplace else. Make sure you listen to the lyrics too. The song tells a pretty crazy story that I’d love to see filmed in this style.
If you haven’t seen this video before words cannot adequately express what it is that you’re about to get yourself into with “Tongues”. I will warn you before you start watching that there is quite a bit of (tasteful, non-gratuitous) nudity in this, so it’s probably best to not watch this at work or around the easily offended, but aside from that I’m not going to spoil things by saying any more. It’s too good to ruin the surprise. Trust me, it’s worth it. I only just watched this video for the first time a couple days ago and in that short amount of time it already shot its way to my fourth favorite video from 2014.
Enjoy the ride, and I’ll see you again tomorrow for our final 3 videos of 2014.
This is the one where you start to question whether or not I know how to count to 15.
9. DyE – She’s Bad (feat. Egyptian Lover)
Visually “She’s Bad” is probably the most creative video on this list. Not for the faint of heart, this very NSFW video superimposes wildlife footage over the more urbane mating ritual that is two people going out on a date. It starts off innocently enough, but the title of this song should give you some indication of what to expect from the twist ending. If you’re squeamish you might want to turn away from the screen at the end and practice your popping and locking instead. 80’s legend Egyptian Lover gives this song some well deserved electro funk street cred that’ll get you up and dancing in no time.
8. Kindness – Who Do You Love (feat. Robyn)
The thing that I love most about Kindness is how their music and lyrics have such a pure and raw emotional quality to them. It takes real honest-to-god talent to tell a story beautifully and eloquently with such simplicity and economy of language and purpose, much like what you hear in “Who Do You Love”. Each note, each pause, each instrument seems essential and mandatory, like nothing else could have done the job any better, and Robyn’s always amazing voice more than rises to the task Kindness had at hand for her.
The video is also very spartan. No one is this video is a paid actor–everyone is either a friend or relation to Robyn or Adam Bainbridge of Kindness–and as the story goes they were sat in front of a camera, talked to, and just asked to respond honestly and appropriately. The video is just a sequential series of human faces, but as simple and no-frills as this video is it’s really hard not to have an emotional reaction while watching it, it’s so beautifully done. Each dart of the eyes or twitch of a facial muscle perfectly matches the story being told in the song. “A picture tells a thousand words…”
7. Haim – If I Could Change Your Mind / My Song 5 [tie]
I think I actually sat down and attempted to write a post for “If I Could Change Your Mind” at least two/three times this year. I mean, it got so bad that the screen grab from the video that you see above was actually pulled from a rough draft I’d started to put together months and months ago. It then seems only fitting that I should finally give this video its due in my year end list. I’m a sucker for a well-choreographed and cleverly staged dance video and “If I Could Change Your Mind” checks all of those boxes, from the clapping routine to the quick swapping of color pallet from black and white to deep maroon. It’s a lot of fun.
Of course “If I Could Change Your Mind” wasn’t the only great video Haim put out this year, and I was torn trying to pick between it and “My Song 5”. Featuring a guest verse from A$AP Ferg and guest appearances in the video from SNL’s Vanessa Bayer, Kesha and Grimes (!), “My Song 5” features the sisters as guests on a crazy lost 90’s daytime talk show. While “If I Could Change Your Mind” feels like it could have been ripped right out of the 70’s with its funky guitar riffs and playful handclaps, “My Song 5” is decidedly modern with its jerky, subwoofer destroying beat. I also really love that harmonizing part that starts around 2:17. It’s killer. That’s the moment where you know this song is capital Bad. Ass.
Today’s theme is videos I totally–like, seriously you guys–meant to post earlier but, well, didn’t. Oops.
12. Blood Orange – You’re Not Good Enough
You could be forgiven for thinking that this video, directed by Gia Coppola (man, those Coppola kids are everywhere) feels like it was a forgotten music video made for the soundtrack of a lost Eddie Murphy movie from the late 80’s/early 90’s. Everything about the video, from soft-focus lighting to the fashion to the choreography and of course the music, completely captures that lost-in-time feeling of something from that era perfectly. You could see Michael Jackson or Lionel Richie making this video, easy.
Blood Orange also made last year’s Best Of list with “Chamakay”, which is featured on his album Cupid Deluxe along with “You’re Not Good Enough”.
11. DJ Oguretz – I Want To Sex You
What’s the world coming to when a guy can’t pick up a girl by thrusting his pelvis uninvited into her face? Following his now classic “Let The Music Fuck You” video from last year, Russian DJ Oguretz created yet another memorable video for this acid house banger. The video follows a clueless loser looking for love in all the wrong places until finally, perhaps, he finds his soul-mate. It’s delightfully tongue-in-cheek and serves as a great counterpoint to this otherwise sexy club track.
10. Beverly – Honey Do
Why do I love this video for “Honey Do”? It’s hard to put my finger on it. The best I can come up with is that it perfectly captures the essence of what it felt like to grow up as a teenager in the 90’s. The black and white photography might as well read “Yearbook photo” that taps into extreme waves of nostalgia, only exasperated by chunky alt-guitar chords flung straight out of some flannel-wearer’s garage. These kids could be me, you, all your high school friends hanging out on summer break with nothing to do, back when hanging out really meant just hanging out and doing nothing, because you didn’t have anywhere to go or much, if any money, to do anything anyway. Need proof that this video is made for me and wasn’t meant for the kids of today? They go CD shopping in this video, for crissakes! Who does that anymore? Hopefully while they were there they bought Beverly’s superb debut album, Careers.
2014 managed to simultaneously be one of the best and worst years for C’est Non Un Blog. On plus side this year I did my first ever interviews for the blog with David Dean Burkhart and Simon Mills (very exciting!); I put out my biggest mixtape yet, The Superhero Summer Mixtape (100 songs!); and the quality of each and every one of my individual posts is probably at the best that they’ve ever been since I started doing this.
Unfortunately all that extra work created some unforeseen problems, mainly that while everything’s been getting bigger and better this year, there’s also been a whole lot less of it to enjoy. There’s been fewer posts this year than any year I can remember since I started doing this more than ten years ago. Yeah, my bad. Take the fact that it now takes me four times longer on average to write a post than it used to, combine that with my perfectionist instinct to not want to put out something half-assed now, and multiply that by my natural predication towards procrastination and laziness and well, after all that gets jumbled together not much got done. Blame it on me trying to take on too much and not pace myself properly, but what you the reader got is this year’s meager batch of posts.
Anyone who’s read one of my year’s end lists before knows that I draw from all of my previous posts to pick my top…whatever the hell number of videos I feel like doing that year, but if I followed the pattern and did that this year I’d pathetically just be reposting everything I’ve already done, so this year we’re going to be doing things a little bit different. Mixed in with the usual favorite videos that I’ve already talked about this year will be my favorite videos that I was totally going to post, but well, you know… as well as the best videos I just found while trolling other people’s Best Of lists while trying to come up with something to throw together last second. With that said, all and all I think I put together a pretty solid representation of what this year had to offer us.
So sit back, put on some headphones, crank the music up and enjoy Part One of our five part look back at what I think best represents the Top 15 videos of 2014.
15. Iggy Azalea – Fancy (Feat. Charli XCX)
If you had to pick the song of 2014 Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” would probably be right up there at the top of most people’s lists. “Fancy” was everywhere this year, catapulting Iggy to top entertainers of 2014 status and finally putting the indomitable Charli XCX on the radars of anyone who was too dumb to have not paid attention to her previously. Don’t believe me? This video has been viewed more than 410 million times as of me writing this.
So why is it on the list? Aside from successfully and playfully paying homage to Clueless, ultimately you’ve got to give it up to the hooks in this song. If “Who dat, who dat? I.G.G.Y” wasn’t stuck in your head all year then it must have been because Charli XCX’s “I’m so fancy” chorus was stuck there instead. You probably don’t need any more proof than that because I’m guessing you are now singing those parts in your head before you even hit play on the video below.
14. Elliphant – One More (feat. MØ)
Next up on our countdown is another all-star female collaboration, this time between Elliphant and MØ, two of the most dynamic female voices coming out of Scandinavia right now (and that’s saying something). “One More” is a beautiful catchy ode to getting perhaps a bit too drunk and trying to convince your friends to stay for just one more drink (that’s also perhaps one too many). This bruiser of a tune’s killer refrain of “I’ve got money” is less bravado than it is a desperate plea to lure back those broke schmucks stumbling out the door at last call for another round of madness.
While singing drunk in the back of a cab isn’t exactly a unique idea for a music video (see also: Lily Allen’s “Our Time” video) what saves this video from mediocrity is their crazy drunk geisha meets club kid fashion choices, as well as the amazing harmonizing of these two unique voices. You can just tell in the video that the two of them had a lot of fun collaborating. “One More” is one of those killer earworms that only gets better and more addictive the more you listen to it.
13. Kiesza – Hideaway
Rounding out today’s countdown of this year’s most badass female performances is Kiesza’s infectiously happy dance video for “Hideaway”. The playful choreography was all shot in one-take, whose DIY simplicity seemed especially refreshing this year now that OK Go is too busy trying to absurdly one-up themselves with each new video (doubly impressive considering she’s recreated the video several times on her live television appearances). I still catch myself singing “ooo…ahh…ahh…ooo” in the shower most days. It all adds up to one memorable video, which is exactly what you need for a Best Of list.
[While it didn’t make the cut, out of respect to the other infectiously catchy girl power tracks on today’s list an honorable mention needs to go out to Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” video. Let the hater’s hate, that was a damn fun video.]
Quite possibly the song of the summer this year, The Knocks’ “Classic” overcame obvious and inevitable irony to become an instant classic. From the disco guitars to the funky dancefloor-ready beat to the fantastic soaring vocals brought to you by Powers, everything about this song is perfection. If you somehow made it through the entire summer without hearing this song at least once, A) What the hell is wrong with you? and B) Make sure you remedy that immediately by checking it out right here, right now:
I’m actually more partial to the original “Official Audio” version of the video. The Stepford Wives/Sims nature of the “Official Video” version kinda creeps me out. Sure, very quickly you begin to realize that the entire “Official Audio” version loops the same few video clips over and over again through its entirety, but I think the image selections combined with the quick editing better match the breezy, free-spirited summertime essence of the song.
Of course, as the goosebumps on your arms and the sudden layering of heavy clothes on your body probably made obvious long ago, it’s no longer summer anymore. Just recently The Knocks released a slower, more soulful “Sunset Version” of the song by Powers that’s quite possibly even better than the original version of the song, or at least better for the current weather we’re all facing outside right now. Fittingly this video features lots of footage from classic, or should be classic, movies. You can enjoy the “Sunset Version” below:
Probably one of my favorite new discoveries recently is this video for Jack Ladder and the Dreamlanders’ “Come On Back This Way”. Imagine Nick Cave putting on a public access performance directed by David Lynch and you’ve got a pretty good idea of what to expect here. Jack Ladder’s deep rumbling baritone tells an eerie, surreal story that’s haunting, but in a pleasant and soothing kind of way. The cheap airport lounge keyboard rift only adds to the ambiance, giving the song that feeling of stumbling into the wrong place, but staying for all the right reasons. Come for one of the catchiest choruses you’ll ever hear, and make sure to stick around for that slide guitar.
Jack Ladder and the Dreamlanders’ fourth album, Playmates, was just released in Australia and should be available in North America in 2015.
I’ll be the first to admit that it’s been entirely way too long since I’ve last updated the ol’ blog.
There’s lots of excuses. Not just the usual procrastination/laziness ones, neither. I actually (cross my heart) had a weekend full of blogging all planned out a while back. And then my computer blew a fuse and was in the shop for over two weeks. After that I got called in at work to do a bunch of overtime, which was great for my paycheck but bad for my health, causing me to get sick and not care much about blogging. And then, as we all know, once one thing snowballs into another and you get out of the habit of regularly posting, well, everything goes to shit.
I’m sorry for that, loyal readers. I’ll try to be better. And what better way to get back into the swing of things than with a fantastic fan mash-up of blog favorite Napoleon with everyone’s favorite scene from Napoleon Dynamite? I’ve seen lots of great mash-ups of various songs with the famous dance sequence from the end of Napoleon Dynamite, but this video is far superior in every way to every other one I’ve seen thus far.
The trick is that most of the other videos I’ve seen seem barely edited. People just sync the video with the sound, press play and let the magic happen on its own. Romain Bezzina has carefully edited the dance sequence with other scenes from the film, matching each shot perfectly to the theme and rhythm of the music to create one seamless music video that uses the footage so well that it feels as if it were made for this video, not the film. This video feels like a mini-movie in its own right. Couple that Napoleon’s magnificent song, “Step Off”, and you’re in for a fantastic ride. After watching this home run of perfection I knew it had to be the video to kick off my posting yet again.
Go here to pick up a free download of “Step Off”. Or better yet, go to Napoleon’s Bandcamp page, download his sixth EP of the year, A Night Voyage, on which “Step Off” was originally featured. And while you’re there download every other EP and album on the site, because as I’ve mentioned numerous times before everything on there is amazing. There’s no way you can regret that decision.
While we’re at it, if you haven’t already Like and Follow everything below. Only 2,100 Likes on Facebook? Come on, guys. We can do better. If we show Simon enough love maybe he’ll release his eagerly awaited 10th EP of the year.
For what seems like months YouTube has been bombarding me with ads for “Hideaway”, insisting that I write this video up, and gosh darn it if those ads didn’t eventually wear me down. Watch out kids, because this song is gonna getcha. It starts off quietly, innocent enough, until that House beat kicks in and those “Ooo….ahhh…ahhh….ooo’s” cause some fuse to be lit in your brain and damn it if your booty isn’t involuntarily shaking itself all around the room.
If watching her dance in this video in one continuous take wasn’t impressive enough, she’s recently recreated the video for her live television appearances on the Late Show with David Letterman and Jimmy Kimmel Live. That Jimmy one is especially impressive.
While we’re at it, why not share Kiesza’s huge House anthem “Giant In My Heart”? The video echoes the song’s theme of seizing the day and being your best possible self by telling the story of a drag queen who’s drowning pretending to blend in with the rest of the world and only really feels empowered when she’s strutting her stuff at the club.
This stellar track from New Zealand duo Broods is going to knock your socks off. “Mother & Father” has one of those choruses that gets right under your skin with the perfect mixture of defiant, exuberant joy and Morrissey-level melancholy. I could listen to this song over and over for hours.
“Mother & Father” can be found on Broods’ upcoming album, Evergreen.
Want more? Check out these videos for “Bridges” and “Never Gonna Change” from their self-titled EP.
I actually first heard this song on Wunder Wunder’s excellent Everything Infinite album and something about it just jumped right out at me. I immediately started playing “Hail The Madman” over and over and luckily just a few days after my discovery this video was released. The campy Beach Blanket Bingo vibe and never quite explained Lovecraftian horror show perfectly fits the song’s bouncy tongue-in-cheek psychedelic 60’s pop sound. A+ all around for the song and the video.