10. Psy – Gangnam Style
I know I’ll take some flack for this. Even though this the has reached the point of absurd overexposure (God Bless American Capitalism), and we still must question whether Western society is laughing with PSY or at him, you can’t deny the global force that this video contains. Not only does it break down cultural barriers, but it’s damn funny, and humor knows no boundaries. I have to admit, I was on this back when it had only 10 million views. This is the most popular video of all time. Marinate on that for a bit.
9. Willis Earl Beal – Evening’s Kiss
Illustrated and directed by Willis Earl Beal
I’m kinda surprised Chicago’s Willis Earl Beal didn’t get more shine this year. His lo-fi release Acousmatic Sorcery is my sleeper album pick of the year.
8. Jessie Ware – Wildest Moments
Directed By Kate Moross
It seems like the trend of videos to do more instead of less. However, Jessie Ware’s Wildest Moments bucks the trend. The video, which reminds me of Sinead O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares to You,” is a testament in simplicity.
7. Tune Yards – My Country
Directed by Mimi Cave
One of my friends described Tune-Yard’s music as “nursery rhymes for hipsters.” Okay, as a fan, I can see that. So I’m not surprised that this is the second Merril Garbus video with children. Obviously the singer has a connection and a fondness for kids, and this video comes off as too cute for school.
6. Danny Brown – Grown Up
Directed by: Greg Brunkalla
Hands down, this is the best kid impersonating a rapper video since Spike Jonze’ video for Biggie’s “Sky’s The Limit,” back in ‘97. This kid breaks down Danny’s mannerisms almost too well.
5. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis – Thrift Shop
Directed By Jon Jon Augustavo, Ryan Lewis, Ben Haggerty
The anti-rap song of the year, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ Poppin’ Tags is a cheeky, irreverent tune that speaks to the reality of our economic times. And honestly, when have you seen a rap video featuring people actually having FUN? It’s about time.
4. Joey Badass featuring Capital STEEZ – Survival Tactics
Directed by Creative Control
We’ve been fans of Creative Control for for a minute now, and they did not fail with the emergence of 17 year old Brooklyn Rapper Joey Badass. The video for “Survival Tactics” dropped during the tail end of the Occupy Wall Street Movement, and their creation of a gritty, lawless, post-apocalyptic New York creates an compliment to the hard hitting lyrics.
3. Drake – HYFR
Directed by Director X
Appearing randomly on Vimeo one day, the video had the internet goin’ nuts from the first frame. Starting off with a young Drake dancing at his Bar Mitzvah, the video continues with the theme of the Canadian rappers re-Bar Mitzvah in Miami. In this video Drizzy embraces his Jewishness and his bi-racialness openly, and who wouldn’t want Lil Wayne and Tey Songz at your religious event?
2. M.I.A. – Bad Girls
Directed by Roman Gervais
Let’s face it, MIA hasn’t been killing it lately. Her twitter tirades and lackluster album sales made her star diminish quickly. However, when this video for Bad Girls dropped, it seemed that the world stopped. Her swagged out video for Bad Girls both scared and titillated us at the same time. Her examination of the Saudi car culture is like National Geographic, with swag.
1. XXYYXX – About You
Directed by VASH
Sometimes it just takes a simple concept to blow your mind. There is really nothing to this video when you think about it. On the surface, it’s just pretty girls smoking weed. But slow it down, and add a sexy track and becomes almost a surreal experience. Austin, TX-based film student VASH really killed it with this one.