Top 10 Music Videos Of 2016
Mon, 26 Dec 2016 13:58:41
Many will remember 2016 for what was lost, but it is important remember in those times what we have, and what we are so lucky to receive. Music videos might not be the high point of musical culture that they were a decade or two back, but it still one of the most interesting places for artists to express themselves without the limit of needed audience. In return, artists are able to deliver unique pieces that put more on the line.
2016 saw a number of artists produce videos that pushed concepts to new heights, not to mention the number of astounding visual albums we saw, Beyoncé's Lemonade and Frank Ocean's Endless, to name two. Nonetheless, the landscape of music videos was impressive as we've seen.
Here are our favorites:
10. The Last Shadow Puppets — "Everything You've Come To Expect"
Arctic Monkey Alex Turner and his longtime friend, Miles Kane, had a pretty decent year. 2016 saw the release of their second album Everything You've Come To Expect. The Last Shadow Puppets, a side project for Turner, is fast becoming a vehicle with it's own gears and increasing momentum. A string of eye-catching videos were released by the duo this year, not least their cover of Leonard Cohen's "Is This What You Wanted" — which articulated, perfectly Turner and Kane's onstage rock 'n' roll chemistry. However, it was the title-track to their album that produced one of the most memorable video moments of the year. A concept piece that spread between this track and "Aviation" — this video had a little of everything that informs the duo's style.
9. Britney Spears Ft. G Eazy — "Make Me"
Back in August, Britney Spears joined forces with G. Eazy to produce a track that many considered her strongest in years. The accompanying video showed Spears in full pop mode — sexy, charismatic, and a performance that reminded fans why she's always a serious contender for keeping the pop game on lock down.
8. The White Stripes — "City Lights"
Everytime MIchel Gondry joins The White Stripes for a music video there is something special that comes from the collaboration. This time, Gondry took on "City Lights" with the simple tools of a shower and a finger. Steam rises as simple finger painting tells the story of the song.
7. Mac Miller — "Dang" [ft. Anderson .Paak]
Anderson .Paak may be one of the fastest growing artists on the scene, but it was his collaboration with Mac Miller that left us the most surprised. Miller's 2016 release, The Divine Feminine, was moving and beautiful in a way few thought it would be. The track's resulting music video is filled with color and flowers, where direct Rex Arrow exposes Miller's softer-than-expected palette before the song's first line even drops.
6. Rostam — "Gravity Don't Pull Me"
Rostam Batmanglij stepped away from Vampire Weekend this year and into his own. He worked on a variety of projects and collaboration throughout the year, but the simple video for "Gravity Don't Pull Me" left audiences begging for more. With just Rostam and two male dancers in a warehouse, the video stays away from spectacle, instead opting to express emotion through movement.
5. Frightened Rabbit — "Get Out"
Taking place in the snow-dappled concrete of Kiev, Ukraine, Frightened Rabbit's video for "Get Out" displays the dance occurring between two young lovers. At times harsh and jarring, but still remaining soft and supple, it's beauty is in the juxtaposition of movement and space.
4. Calvin Harris — "This Is What You Came For" [ft. Rihanna]
The last time we saw Calvin Harris and RIhanna pairing up it was for one of the biggest songs of 2011, "We Found Love". Things haven't changed much since then as the duo's collaboration "This Is What You Came For" end it up with similar results. The video ended up as one of the most played on YouTube and Vevo.
3. The Weeknd — "Starboy" ft. Daft Punk
Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, The Weeknd, was joined by EDM legends Daft Punk on one of the most-anticipated albums of the year. The track that brought them all together, "Starboy" was the title track of that album, which was noted as a tribute to David Bowie. The accompanying video ends with Tesfaye cruising the nocturnal highways of life in the sleekest of all sports cars, with a goddamned puma in the passenger seat. If there was anything cooler in a video this year we hadn't seen it. We can only assume that Bowie would have approved of such a shiny production.
2. The Chemical Brothers — "Wide Open" ft. Beck
Back at the start of the year, Beck joined Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons to lend vocals to their track "Wide Open", for fans of all artists this release represented a highpoint of their output. Beck's vocal performance carries a certain gravity that only he can bring, and the video — a kind of Ex Machina dance break was mesmerising. Definitely one of the strongest visuals, and best fits to the track it represented, of the year.
1. Beyonce — "Formation"
Beyonce essentially owned 2016. Her performance at Super Bowl 50 stole the show out from beneath Chris Martin's feet, and stirred up a storm on Twitter that celebrated, or were shocked at the visual elements of her show. Well, nothing would prepare those audiences for what the artist had planned for the rest of the year. Each track of her album, "Lemonade" was accompanied by a stand-alone video that was surprise released in April. Personal, revelatory, revolutionary and universal — the accomplishment of each video was that they retained continuity whilst representing an artist that knows how to produce stand-alone hits. "Formation" one of the most striking pieces of video work in recent years spoke volumes of Beyonce's perspective, and to the Black experience in contemporary America. Vivid, vital and the best of the year.
—The ARTISTdirect Staff