IT’S BEEN SEVERAL MINUTES…
…since the last time you’ve read a top 10 list online, so clearly, it’s time for another! Let me slice off your ears and soak them in
ten sixteen (because I cheat) of the best genre-friendly music videos of 2012!
10. Hot Chip – Night and Day / The
Phenomenal Handclap Band – The Right One
I’m unlikely to sign up for any cults in the near future, unless they’re either headed by Terence Stamp in an effort to unite two spaceships for egg fertilization, or they have the mesmerizing grooviness of the mirror-heavy, sitar-backed Phenomenal Band that has nothing to do with vampire children.
9. Phantogram – Don’t Move
A mesmerizing, dream-like little story about a young woman and a box, immersed in neon reds and blues and backed by an equally hypnotic tune.
8. David Lynch – Crazy Clown Time
Was there any doubt that a music video from David Lynch would be batshit nuts? It’s aggressively irritating, and yet I can’t get enough of his NSFW take on an “adult party” through the eyes of a child.
7. Off! – Borrow and Bomb
Off!’s classically-styled punk track gets a retro treatment, but it works thanks to the performance by Dave Foley as an awkward morning show host who introduces his audience to the work of “punk rock.” It’s based on a real thing, but like the best music video homages, you don’t need to be aware of the source material to enjoy it. (See also Dum Dum Girls’ “Coming Down,” a take on Yoko Ono’s “Cut.”)
6. Krispy Kreme – Halloween
I guess Krispy Kreme, who now goes by “Froggy Fresh” for legal reasons, could be considered a current era outsider artist. His rap music isn’t what you’d call traditionally “good,” but it’s so weirdly compelling and odd that you can’t help but like the guy, and his output has a purity to it that comes off as innocent and enthusiastic. His popularity on the internet is an odd phenomenon, as it seems like most of his audience is mocking him, but isn’t being fascinated enough by his work to mock him enough?
Also, he cracks my shit up.
5. Bobby Womack – Whatever Happened
to the Times
Despite the fact that there seem to have been hundreds of music videos this year using a nostalgic “look,” in an attempt to replicate the feel of watching the band perform on a third-generation VHS tape, this is one of the few that really warrant it. Womack’s an amazing performer with the body of work that actually deserves retrospect, and his moody, beautiful song that manages to feel both vintage and brand new is accentuated by a video that resembles a ’70s educational film about science. It’s not just nostalgia for nostalgia’s sake.
4. Shyboy – Marion Crane /
Crystal Castles – Plague /
Scissor Sisters – Let’s Have a a Kiki
Three different videos made use of great psychotronic classics this year, each in different ways. David Kittredge’s video for “Marion Crane” artfully edits together pieces of PSYCHO to blend perfectly with the song, the use of footage from Andrzej Zulawski’s POSSESSION worked so perfectly for Crystal Castles’ “Plague” that they used it as their official video, and the Videodrome group at a Boston nightclub put together a veritable who’s who of campy snippets from the likes of CAN’T STOP THE MUSIC, MYRA BRECKINRIDGE, PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE, THE APPLE, LISZTOMANIA and the Ryan O’Neal vehicle SO FINE(!) to back the Scissor Sisters’ least interesting song (seriously, I love the band, but this Kiki is far from marvelous) to put together a genuinely entertaining (if unofficial) video.
3. Nekrogoblikon – No One Survives
It is about a goblin who dreams to the days of yore, backed by the metal sounds of Nekrogoblikon.
2. Primus – Lee Van Cleef /
Caravan Palace – Rock It For Me
This was a great year for animated videos, but two very different ones came to mind when it came to genre flick fans. Primus’s gory, gleefully twisted story of a Lee Van Cleef zombie was a natural entry (and it’s great!) but the video for the Caravan Palace track echoes the likes of METROPOLIS and EARTH VS. THE FLYING SAUCERS in a lively, catchy tale of a giant robot with a musical brain built to fight an alien invasion.
1. M83 – Midnight City / Reunion / Wait
It’s a bit of a cheat, as the video for “Midnight City” was released late 2011, but these three work best as a trilogy, so I couldn’t leave it be. M83’s low-key electronic sound is the perfect backing for Fleur & Manu’s increasingly large tale hat begins with a group of telekinetic children and ends up in 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY territory. If this was a full-length feature, it could do midnight showings for years.
Be back when the jukebox has been restocked,
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