It’s that time when we review this past year’s worth of music videos. From a Busby Berkeley spectacular to a sci-fi story to the strikingly-impressive, this was a good year for the combination of the aural and the visual. Here, we present a meagre offering of the best music videos of 2018.
Ariana Grande, “thank u, next”
While it’s like traipsing through film choices of my adolescence, the music video also displays Ms Grande’s maturity as she sees each relationship as a helpful lesson in life. The music video may possess the pastiche of teen comedies but it’s also a heartbreak and a display of empowerment.
John Mayer, “New Light”
John Mayer’s guitar face is meme-worthy. But that’s a close second to this music video.
Former frontman of Caracal, KC Meals, had presence on stage. But the new additions (frontwoman Rachel Lu and bassist Trent Davis) proved that the band still had some of its riotous life left. The “Manicenigmatic” music video is a formal introduction to a new Caracal. One that is still able to tear down the roof.
The music video is a catchy choreography of joy. And it’s all thanks to the three ‘Bs’—Beck, Brie and Busby Berkeley.
The Carters, “Apeshit”
Mix high art with trap music, and you get a mesmerising tour through the Holy of Holies in the art world: the Louvre. With live dancers next to work by dead artists, this is one night at the museum that showcased hip-hop royalties in their element.
Janelle Monáe, “Make Me Feel”
Jack White, “Corporation”
A detective confronts a group of suspects. Who killed Jack White? Is he really dead? What does it all mean? We still don’t know but yet it doesn’t stop us from viewing it over and over again.
Anderson .Paak, “(Til It’s Over)”
Is this an Apple smartspeaker ad? A music video for Anderson .Paak’s “(Til It’s Over)”? Its categorisation is nebulous but when you discovered that director Spike Jonze’s opted for practical effects over CGI, that hardly seems to matter.
Drake, “God’s Plan”
While the Bible advocates charity to be done in secret (“thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly”), wouldn’t it be far interesting to film the process for a music video? Just ask Drake.
It might be a simple song about loneliness but the surreal music video—rife with symbols and meaning—also shows that sometimes the best time you can have with someone is with yourself.
LCD Soundsystem, “oh baby”
We’re thankful that LCD Soundsystem is still around. (You were missed during your four-year hiatus!) If not, we wouldn’t have this gem directed by Rian Johnson and starring Sissy Spacek and David Strathairn. In six minutes, we see the triumph of teleportation before a random senseless tragedy strikes. Then, as the story reaches its conclusion, James Murphy’s words, “There’s always a side door / into the dark”, have a more poignant and profound meaning to it.
Charlie Lim, “Welcome Home”
Another musician who doesn’t mind poking fun at himself. Though, given his ascent in the industry, if Charlie Lim wants to dance, let him dance, bro.
Dave Grohl, “Play”
Made for the purpose of advocating Without sheet notes (and his inability with the piano), Dave Grohl put together a 23-minute video of himself playing all seven instruments, each of them in one… long… take. Grohl may be a rock veteran but when it comes to music, he is still that ‘kid in a candy store’.
Childish Gambino, “This is America”
Visceral in its showing, “This is America” is a horrible car crash that demands your attention. By the end of it, we’ll be lauding the direction and toe-tapping to the tune but we’re left with this takeaway: Man, America is royally fucked.