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The Top Music Videos of 2011

By ; December 12, 2011 at 12:00 AM 

05. Youth Lagoon – “Montana”

[Dir. Tyler T Williams]

When discussing Youth Lagoon’s video for “Montana,” it’s tough to say which is the best way to approach it. We could just focus on director Tyler T. Williams and the feat it was to edit down 30 hours of footage into a coherent five-minute clip that examines the relationship between father and son, and how memories affect us as we grow up. Beyond how beautifully shot the clip is though, is the editing, which in the second half of the song jumps on every beat to switch scenes between the multiple narrative spaces, making it nearly impossible to disassociate the song from the video after viewing. This all wouldn’t work without sharp source material, and the song “Montana” is already a mini-epic, deserving of such a reverent clip. Put all these elements together, and you get a profound, emotional revelation of a music video, where ambition is to thank for one of the more memorable videos of not just this year, but any year.

Philip Cosores

04. Real Estate – “It’s Real”

[Dir. Weird Days]

All of the songs from Real Estate’s sophomore album, Days, come imbued with a sense of nostalgia, but for the video for the most fun song on the record the band and director Weird Days took that nostalgia and twisted it. It might seem weird seeing four guys cohabiting in a familial way, watching home movies and reliving the good times, especially when the role of children in this family is taken up by dogs. But at the same time, why the hell not? Dogs are a man’s best friend after all, and who wouldn’t love watching a bunch of adorable canines palling around with an equally adorable set of indie slackers? You’ll laugh, you’ll get emotional, you’ll sing along. Everything you could want from a music video.

Rob Hakimian

03. Beastie Boys – Fight For Your Right Revisited (Make Some Noise)

[Dir. Adam Yauch]

What can be said about the Beastie Boys’ video for “Make Some Noise” that isn’t immediately obvious by looking at the short film’s credits? For all we know, Brad Pitt and Christina Hendricks were working the crafts services table. Seth Rogan, Danny McBride and Elijah Wood are perfect stand ins for MCA, Mike D and Ad-Rock, comedic foils for the band’s alter-egos. Did I mention they rap battle Beastie Boys from the past, played by Will Ferrell, Jack Black and John C. Reilly? Basically, the whole video is ridiculous. To the point where the two Beastie Boys groups are pissing on each other before getting hauled away by police. There’s also a hilarious Arrested Development joke, but I won’t spoil that one if you still haven’t seen this amazing short film. It’s tough trying to compare Fight For Your Right Revisited to other videos this year, because it certainly goes well beyond the means of almost every other band on the planet, but it takes an already amazing song (because unless you’ve already forgotten, this is still a music video) and turns it into one of the best comedy films of the year. Cinematically it’s both overtly ridiculous while remaining subtle in spots, and sure, maybe it’s only great because of the incredible cast list, but Fight For Your Right Revisited is, if nothing else, unparalleled.

Erik Burg

02. Tyler, the Creator – “Yonkers”

[Dir. Wolf Haley]

In 1915, Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis was first published. The novella’s main character, Gregor Samsa, awakes one morning to find that he has been transformed from a somewhat depressed travelling salesman into a repulsive insect-like ‘thing.’ Predictably, things do not end well for the man who suddenly finds himself not in control.

Whilst mentioning Kafka and Tyler Okonma in the same sentence likely amounts to sacrilege for some, the “Yonkers” video is undeniably Kafkaesque – blatantly calculated horror with an oppressive soundtrack. Tyler’s own sharp self-induced metamorphosis from semi-normalness to suicidal ‘thing’ is simultaneously unsettling and enthralling. Black and white film adds to the starkness of what is a surprisingly direct video for a song that is oft paradoxical and deliberately intertwined.

Liam Demamiel

01. Radiohead – “Lotus Flower”

[Dir. Garth Jennings]

I still remember clearly waking up on February 18th, with one more day still to go until I expected to hear the new Radiohead album, checking the internet to find that we had a new song and video coming from the band. That video was “Lotus Flower,” and in the first time I watched it I’m not sure that the song registered at all, I was just thinking “what is this!?” “This” was Radiohead leader Thom Yorke in a stylish white shirt, black trousers, bowler hat outfit, shot artistically in black and white – dancing. Granted, his dancing in the “Lotus Flower” video is slightly more coordinated than his legendary sporadic movement onstage, but it was still very strange. Mere hours after that, the band decided to give away The King of Limbs a day early, making me think we’d all move on from the “Lotus Flower” video and forget about it, but boy was I wrong. I did not see the myriad spoofs, re-dubs and jokes that were to come in the following weeks, each and every one making me laugh, and with every viewing I started to love this video more. There may have been more interesting or beautiful videos this year, but none that caused quite as much of an internet love-in as this one. Hence, it’s our number one.

Rob Hakimian


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