A great song without a music video will most likely still work. You can’t say that for the other way around since a good video isn’t automatically a masterpiece on its own. But maybe we can all agree on the fact that it gets really great once these two elements are both of very good quality. Mixing them together in the best possible way to create a memorable music video is quite a challenge. But if band and director succeed the result is even more watchable.
Once again 2014 proved to be a good year for music video. Especially when you take a look far away off the mainstream. You don’t need big budgets and in times of HD-filming smartphones even a big camera is not necessarily a must-have anymore. All you need is a great song, a great idea and the guts to do it. These are 14 music videos of the past twelve months we think are part of the highlights from this year when it comes to the perfect realization of that formula.
Movement – ‘Ivory’
Garden City Movement – ‘Move On’
Tel Aviv dreamweavers GARDEN CITY MOVEMENT team up with Israeli directors Michael Moshonov and Lael Utnik in displaying forbidden love and heartbreak in today’s seemingly progressive society.
Metronomy – ‘Love Letters’
You can’t do wrong with Michel Gondry as music video director. Just ask BJÖRK, MASSIVE ATTACK and pretty much everybody from the past 25 years. For METRONOMY he directed his first music video in three years and it became a feel-good one-shot miracle
Jamie xx – ‘Sleep Sound’
You would have to see it to believe it. London artist/poet Sofia Mattioli was commissioned to create visuals for Sleep Sound, and inspiration came to her on the train when a hearing impaired girl told her that she could feel the music by Sofia’s movement.
OK GO – ‘I Won’t Let You Down’
If their previous slew of ‘one take’ videos have blown your mind, OK GO’s newest offering is set to take you to another level of wonderment as they come together with 2,328 dancers, Honda unicycles and a drone.
How To Dress Well – ‘Repeat Pleasure’
The first in an alluring trilogy of films by creative director Luke Gilford and directed by Johannes Greve Muskat, it centers on a young couple dealing with love and loss. It’s actually quite wise to watch the other two parts here and here as well.
Warpaint – ‘Disco/Very / Keep It Healthy’
It really looks like the four ladies from WARPAINT are the coolest girl gang alive. At least if you go by that video-clash of two tracks from this year’s self-titled second album. At least we aren’t brave enough to mess with these women.
FKA Twigs – ‘FKA x Inc.’
Remember when FKA TWIGS wasn’t all over your face, dating Robert Pattinson and being loved by pretty much everybody? It was a way more magical time and one of its final testaments is this haunting black-and-white music video.
Prides – Messiah
Only PRIDES could make murder look good. The Scottish synthpop trio ironically sang this at the closing ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in August.
Kindness – ‘This Is Not About Us’
To stand out amongst the clutter, sometimes a music video just needs simple choreography – and Adam Bainbridge, aka KINDNESS, nails it in a throwback early 1980s style.
The Decemberists – ‘Make You Better’
The level of awesomeness in this video is defined by multiple things. First of it… great new tune by Colin Meloy and his band. Second, it is set in a fictive German talk show of the 70s and third, but most of it, Nick Offerman nails his role in a way only Nick Offerman can.
Mr. Oizo – ‘Ham’
Degenerated obese people fighting over the last remaining ‘Flat Eric’ puppet in a super market. MR. OIZO really can’t run away from the infamous creature that gave him his breakthrough fifteen years ago. In the case of this bizarre video it’s not the worst decision.
Arcade Fire – ‘We Exist’
Coming of age stories in music videos seem to be a hit amongst viewers nowadays – however ARCADE FIRE bested most of them by featuring Andrew Garfield as a young man coming to terms with his homosexuality in an inspirational and psychedelic manner.
Johnny Cash – ‘She Used To Love Me A Lot’
Last but definitely not least. The legendary man in black. He surely is America’s missed voice, even eleven years after his passing. This video for She Used To Love Me A Lot, a song from this year’s re-release of the forgotten 1981 record Out Among the Stars is a haunting reminder of his talent and a touching tribute by director John Hillcoat.