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The Top Music Videos of 2011

By ; December 12, 2011 at 12:00 AM 

10. Kanye West – “Monster”

[Dir. Jake Nava]

Kanye West is renowned and derided for a whole slew of things, but one of his most well-known double-edged qualities is his insistence on perfection. That dedication to putting out only the very best material is what stalled the video for “Monster,” one of the cornerstone tracks of our favorite album of 2010. And then, when the video, featuring a cameo from Rick Ross, a Men in Black-esque drop-in from Jay-Z, and a pair of Nicki Minajs — one giving a lap dance to the other — was deemed too dark by critics, it essentially isolated the content to YouTube (not that videos are all that prevalent on television these days, anyway). But in my mind, any video deemed “too dark” is a default winner. The hands creeping through cracked doors, zombie-fied models scratching at window glass, and Kanye’s manipulating of seemingly deceased women in his king-sized bed matched up against one of the hottest hip-hop songs in recent memory only serve to reinforce matters.

Andrew Bailey

09. tUnE-yArDs – “Bizness”

[Dir. Mimi Cave]

“Bizness” is one of the singles from tUnE-yArDs’ second full length WHOKILL and is accompanied by interesting but strange visuals. It’s not the only video this year that features a whole classroom full of children that suddenly start dancing and singing, as Fucked Up most notably had a classroom of children singing along in their video for “Queen of Hearts.” Although, the video for “Bizness” goes further than the classroom as Merrill Garbus goes on to be accompanied by several similarly clothed, face painted people that copy her every move, and despite this being a largely confounding video, it works with Garbus’ vibrant personality and doesn’t take itself too seriously. This colourful video is a much more exciting and fun vision of an artist’s song than those who try to convey how ‘serious’ they are in their music videos.

Aurora Mitchell

08. Wild Flag – “Romance”

[Dir. Tom Scharpling]

In this video for “Romance” female rockers Wild Flag pull a triple bluff. These women are working menial jobs, but on their lunch break they all get into a single car and place on animal masks to make you think they’re going to rob a bank. The single bluff is that they’re women and therefore the less typical gender to go do this kind of thing. This would be funny enough, but in fact they go and do very everyday things, like go to the record store, take the dog to the park, get coffee, all while still wearing the masks, making it a double bluff. But, they do still decide to cause trouble by knocking records off shelves or stealing a giant bucket of coffee, making it a triple bluff since they’ve been naughty after all. Perhaps I’ve overthought the “triple bluff” angle too much, but the fact is that this is hugely enjoyable viewing from a band who have proven that although they’re not the youngest out there, they still have a knack for rocking out and causing laughter as well as anyone else.

Rob Hakimian

07. Superchunk – “Crossed Wires”

[Dir. Whitey McConnaughy]

In director Whitey McConnaughy’s clip for Superchunk’s 2010 song “Crossed Wires,” we get a candid look of what a cat does during the day. And, it’s not pretty. From robbing Jon Wurster to doing lines in a strip club bathroom, the cat in “Crossed Wires” lives it up in a comedic video that is silly without being dumb, somewhat of a feat in the music video genre. A few favorite shots: the car arm wrestling the bartender, the decision to light someone’s hair on fire, and looking into the mirror in a moment of self-reflection. Superchunk never seem to take themselves too seriously and it’s fitting that this video follows suit, while maintaining the band’s relevance in a year when they didn’t even release a new album.

Philip Cosores

06. Is Tropical – “The Greeks”


Trust the French to come up with a video that involves kids killing each other while doing drugs and dressing up as terrorists. I can’t help but think that if this video was even approached or conceived on British soil it would be shut down faster than horny dog can get to a leg. And that’s because both the premise behind and the actual video for “The Greeks” is so very wrong. But by heck, it’s also exceptional fun and pulled with a great nostalgic and tongue in cheek humour. One kid is hounded by a a group of other kids brandishing a bazooka, while elsewhere a drug deal goes awry and turns into a stand off before blood flies everywhere. One kid even gets throat slit while a geeky looking six-year old plays with some Play-Doh C4. It’s like watching some odd combination of Call of Duty and Mortal Kombat, all soundtracked by the feisty jangling riffs of the London trio. Kids do the darnedest things, don’t they?

Ray Finlayson


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