10. Thee Oh Sees “Lupine Dominus”
Thee Oh Sees threw a nice curveball with their video for “Lupine Dominus”. We get the shady scene of a strip club, and one tense moment where our young protagonist decides to assist the gentleman next to him with a spilled beverage. I’m gonna be honest, I was fully expecting a beat down when the two encounter each other in the men’s room. It’s the storytelling that gets me. I absolutely love the beginning to Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds. There’s so much tension that just builds in that opening sequence. Here, I find a similar tension rising. I can’t help but feel like the poor fool should just get up and leave. He clearly didn’t come for the naked dancing girls. If he wants to live, he should leave.
9. The Flaming Lips featuring Amanda Palmer “The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face”
Originally, this song featured vocals by Erykah Badu. When she took part in the video shoot she must have been thinking of something else. When the video was released, she was quite upset with the footage. The Flaming Lips took all responsibility and tried to remove the video from the internet. The re-recorded the song with Amanda Palmer and reshot the video. Palmer was much more comfortable with her nude role, and they even toned down some of the antics. For how talked about the situation was, it’d be a shame not to include it on the best of the year countdown.
8. The Magnetic Fields “Andrew in Drag”
One of the more charming songs to come in 2012 was by The Magnetic Fields. “Andrew in Drag” is a bit catchy and awkward. The only girl he ever loved was Andrew in Drag. The video shows us the transformation of a man into a woman, and a woman into a man. There’s not much else to it, but in terms of a video making sense with its song, this one does a great job.
7. Norah Jones “Miriam”
I’d never picture a violent side to Norah Jones. Yet, this year the Video Rewind features two videos by Norah Jones where she kills people. In “Miriam” Jones even sings about not being the killing kind. She also croons that she knows what Miriam did, so Miriam shouldn’t put up a fight. I really like the way the camera pans across the beautiful scenery until we get to the bloodied oar. There is a calmness to the whole piece indicative of how this version of Norah is at the post rage stage. The most striking aspect is the lyrics to the song. For instance, Norah sings that she’ll repeat the name Miriam until Miriam dies. The whole time she does little more than bat her eyes and sing. The video closes with us finally getting a view of Miriam. She’s in no place that I’d like to be.
6. Ane Brun featuring Jose Gonzalez “Worship”
In one way this video reminds me of something out of the film The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. We watch this macabre viewing of a man on his deathbed. They drug him. They carry him on his bed. He has some interesting hallucinations. The medals he won in younger days are ripped from off his chest. He never really sees his own end coming as he’s experiencing the euphoria of being swallowed by a flying whale. It’s hard to make total sense of it all, but it does provide an entertaining scene.
5. Jay-Z and Kanye West “Niggas in Paris”
They were kinda a big deal. When the Kanye and Jay-Z album dropped it was unreal. This song did its thing well on the radio. The video features a live performance that comes with its own warning that it may cause seizures. I’ll believe it. Kanye and Jay-Z together? People’s heads must have exploded. This is probably the first time I saw Kanye in his leather skirt. You may have missed it the first time around because there is so much going on in the video.
4. P!nk “Try”
Abusive relationships, or perhaps bad relationships in general, are never easy things to discuss. In P!nk’s video for “Try”, we see a violent relationship portrayed as a dance routine. The two get covered in paint which is indicative of two things to me. One, they have a knack for throwing things at each other. Two, they are bruised from the fighting. What we find is what you’ll hear from anyone who has been in one of these relationships. There is fighting and then there is consoling. It goes back to fighting, consoling, fighting, consoling, etc. It’s all done in this graceful portrayal of dance. I do find this to be one of the most creative videos of the year.
3. Nosaj Thing “Eclipse/Blue”
This video is a true work of art. Animation in the background with dancers in the foreground that become part of the animation bring together a mix of visual candy. It’s delightful to watch and experience. When first released I watched it several times. I wonder how many takes it took to get right as this is a video that had to be shot in one long take. Everything had to be perfect which also leads me to wonder how long rehearsals were for this video. My favorite part is when the light show literally makes one dancer dissolve into tiny balls of light and disappear. There is so much to take in from this video that you’ll find yourself coming back to this table to feast time and time again.
2. Amanda Palmer and The Grand Theft Orchestra “Want it Back”
For the second time in the countdown we have a naked Amanda Palmer. This video was very close to being my pick for the year. Over the course of three days the crew pined to get this stop motion video completed. It’s mostly the lyrics of the song maneuvering their way across Palmer’s body and out the window into the world only to return to the bedroom. I find these types of work incredible because of their labor of love and how everything must be lined up precisely or it will not look as good.
1. M.I.A. “Bad Girls”
You’re out in the desert somewhere with the Arab folk. Stereotypes say that these gentlemen can’t stand Madonna for the way she acts and dresses. The backup dancers in this video are covered head to toe. M.I.A. on the other hand does whatever the hell she wants. The dance moves, the lyrics, the way they turn a strip into a Tokyo Drift course. M.I.A. is the baddest girl of them all. This video proves it. They have guns. They don’t shoot her. She literally has just made the site of this shoot the coolest place on Earth.