THE BEST MUSIC VIDEOS OF 2017
I expect most of our readers will agree 2017 has been tough. A horrible man was nominated president of one of the most powerful and influential countries in the world. There were terrible mass shootings. Hurricanes wreaked havoc. Men in powerful positions were exposed as sexual predators. The new Star Wars movie was even’t perfect. It was a year that tested the sanity of even the most stable of individuals. I for one, have always been deeply affected by, well, everything, and I have always looked to escapist entertainment to cope with the realities of the world. Since starting my blog, my focus on the music video format has taken over the driver’s seat, with cinema in shotgun, and television & video games riding in back. Knowing that each day, no matter how lousy the news had been, or how much my loneliness had devoured my soul, I’d have a fresh new set of fantastic new music videos to watch was literally my saving grace. Some people turn to religion. Some to substances. Some to anti-depressants. Some to food. I watch music videos.
This year, I probably watched more videos than ever. In 2017 I shared over 1000 music videos to this blog and also hit 11k music video submissions to the Internet Music Video Database.
Turns out it became a total chore to chop down the list of great videos released this year. I decided to drop all the other lists I typically compile at year end (eps, singles, etc.) and focus all my attention on my favourite musical format. This subsequently propelled me into an obsessive analysis of what I love in a music video and made it nearly impossible to devise a conclusive list. One evening, I took a deep breathe, ate a full bag of Doritos, sat back, ate a Mars bar, and listed all the qualities consistent with the videos I love most. Patterns emerged:
Videos of a Pop music persuasion. There’s no way around it. Pop has, is, and likely always will be my favourite musical genre.
Videos with colourful palettes (neons, pastels, etc.)
Videos with stylish aesthetic choices (set design, stock, lighting, visual effects, fashion.)
Videos with incredible dance choreography
Videos with powerful narratives that focus on character and plot
Videos with strong performances, either in a musical sense from the artist themselves or from actors in a more dramatic definition
Videos that capture the persona and a sense of an artist’s live performance
Videos for songs that I love (sometimes it’s impossible to separate a song from a video. Do love the video because I love the song? or is the video genuinely good. Your guess is as good as mine here.)
Thought provoking videos which explore themes of gender and sexuality
Videos with jaw dropping visual execution
Videos with highly complex concepts
Videos with extremely simple ideas
Videos that move me to emotion (yep! some of em even make me cry)
Videos relating to science fiction, fantasy, adventure, horror genres
Videos I watch over and over and over and over, for whatever reason.
Last but not least, videos that remind me of anything from the 80s!
With this little tool, I was able to finally trim down my longlist from 196 videos to the 50 you are about to see presented here. I am very excited to share this list with you and cannot wait to start the process all over again in what will hopefully be the much better year of 2018.
50. SIGRID – STRANGERS
‘Strangers’ is the first inclusion in this list which I’d say belongs to a new breed of pop stars with notably idiosyncratic personalities who prove themselves to be far detached from the idea of the generic and fabricated pop star. Sigrid is one of a kind. Her cool-via-nerdy disposition sets the tone for this fun and surreal video which would seem to depict the process of filming a motion picture. When Sigrid lets loose, we let loose too.
49. BILLIE EILISH – BELLYACHE
Another one of a kind artist whose rapid fame is testament to her unique qualities and her talent as a vocalist, songwriter, and performer. The video excels at depicting her unforgiving brattiness, a fashion style all her own, and some groovy dance moves. The video is an edgy low-key adaptation of the song about the fictional aftermath of committing criminal acts with friends. I can relate, sometimes when I’m out with friends, I don’t wear my seatbelt.
48. LORDE – GREENLIGHT
Responsible for ushering in the new music video era of Lorde, director Grant Singer captures a less timid, more confrontational, more true-to-life version of the queen of alt-pop herself. The video features a cameo from co-writer Jack Anatanoff.
47. MAGGIE ROGERS – ON + OFF
Maggie’s likable characteristics and penchant for dance are both highlighted in the nicely choreographed visual for ‘On + Off’. The moves were coordinated by Monica Mirabile. I really wish I could dance.
46. BISHOP BRIGGS – THE WAY I DO
Graphic designers make note, if you’ve ever considered working in music video, this is how to do it. With it’s kaleidoscopic animation and bold yellow colour palette, ‘The Way I Do’ was easily one of my favourite music video sleeper hits of the year.
45. IBEYI – DEATHLESS
A peculiar visual depicting Cuban sisters emerging from one another, perhaps signifying the immortality of the female gender through rebirth. Or just a creepy and surreal video.
44. ALICE GLASS – WITHOUT LOVE
The video for ‘Without Love’ captures the contrasting of darkness and beauty that is Alice Glass. If you sense both vulnerability and malice in this comeback visual, it makes sense, as the track and video directly address Alice’s experiences in a toxic personal/working relationship while a member of Crystal Castles.
43. AMA LOU – NOT ALWAYS
A thought provoking character study of gender stereotypes and self-reflection.
42. CHARLOTTE DAY WILSON – WORK
2017 was truly a monumental year for women who joined together to protest a misogynist political leader and to oust dangerous predators. Charlotte Day Wilson’s video seems especially relevant this year with it’s simple yet powerful execution depicting women of all ages and colours as they ascend an escalator. The video says so much while showing so little.
41. MATTIEL – WHITES OF THEIR EYES
X-factor abounds in this one. There’s a horse. A desert. A skeleton. And a series of nonsensical yet visually appealing colourful vignettes. I love it and that’s all that really matters.
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