The best music videos of 2016

by - Friday, December 30, 2016

currently: listening to 'Catch Me If You Can' by Walking on Cars.

2016 has served us the most interesting of years. For me, it was a year of new worldly discoveries and learning to make moments of life, rather than search for life moments. For the world - it's been a seriously messed up serving of Brexit, Trump and celebrity deaths (though to be fair, the age of television culture has probably contributed to the number, according to this article.) But if there's any better traditional salute to the year that was, it is with the best music video picks for 2016 - a range of videos that helps encompass and summarises the year we had.

David Bowie - Lazarus
[Most chilling music video]
If you don't get goosebumps watching David Bowie's last ever music video, you must have been hiding under a rock at the beginning of 2016. Released on the 7th of January, 3 days before his death, the song itself is a final farewell to Earth from the Starman. "Look up here, I'm in heaven. I've got scars that can't be seen."
But forget the meaning behind the words of his swan song - the visuals of 'Lazarus' is powerful on its own. His body floating over the hospital bed, the bandages and button eyes, the sassy swing of the arms, and the monster ready to drag him away. He may have walked quietly into a dark cold closet, but in all essence, David Bowie is Lazarus. He lived so many lives and with so many faces - only he could make a deathbed exit into something with style. And also, this is the only video that can get away with being completely square.


Wonder Girls - Why So Lonely
[Best group of mannequin beating bandits in a music video]
South Korean girl group Wonder Girls and their reggae-pop hit is a beautifully pink and blue hued 70's influenced video, featuring four lonely girls and the four-timing, cheating, empty hearted hollow plastic boyfriend. These stoned-faced beauties hide a dastardly torture plot, censored on screen with the niceties of toy guns and silly string. Never have I ever wanted pink hair as much as I wanted it after watching that video.
The best scene is the last shot of the four girls, staring emotionally conflicted at their mannequin boyfriend as they play their final drum beat. Man, if a look had a thousand words...


Jane Zhang - Dust My Shoulders Off
[Best use of paint on everything]
There's little I could tell you about Jane Zhang. A quick Wikipedia scroll can tell you she's a Chinese pop star who's now paired up with Timberland to break into the Western music scene. And while her song is something you could hear any American artist sing on the radio, her music video is a real point of difference. Parodying traditional art with a modern YOLO lyric ("I don't worry bout nothing, I dust my shoulders off"), the visual look of all the costumes keeps giving you something captivating to look at, so you're never bored. Not often can you just watch a music video, and be surprised when you reach the ending before you were prepared to.


Sia - The Greatest
[Most powerful use of children in a music video]
If you ever thought Sia's concept of the dancing child in her music videos was becoming a tired, overused concept - shut your mouth and watch this video. There's an unconfirmed theory that this video was filmed in tribute to the Orlando nightclub shootings back in June this year, but you don't need to publicise a motive for such a striking video. The 48 children with grey painted faces, dressed in grey rags and with just as elastic facials as Sia's child reincarnate Maddie Ziegler - this is definitely one of the greatest music videos in Sia's collection (no pun intended.)


Carly Rae Jepsen - Boy Problems
[Best selfie in an open casket]
Carly Rae Jepsen is one of the most over-publicised but underrated artists out there. Her E.MO.TION album is more 80's than Taylor Swift's 1989, has more genuine feelings than Swift's lyrics, and she's just way sassier that she doesn't even need a squad. And Carly's music video 'Boy Problems' is the perfect example of that. Think of it as a generic boy-whinge song? Watch the video and just see how self-involved each character in her video is and you'll realise it's way more than it meets the eye. Juxtaposed with Carly's dark gloomy room and her tiara-donned Joan Jett haircut - her lyrics will get stuck in your head and make you feel stupid for ever worrying about boy problems.


Radiohead - Burn the Witch
[Creepiest use of Postman Pat-like stop motion and puppets]
At first glance; a stop-motion music video about an innocent town. Seemingly harmless until you watch the entire thing that has you feeling unsettled for the full music video music video. And it's only heightened by the use of creepy Radiohead vocal reverb and screechy violins. If I could make a suggestion about this video - you shouldn't watch it before going to bed. Also, don't watch the crappy Nicholas Cage version of The Wicker Man. NOT THE BEES.


Gwen Stefani - Make Me Like You
[Most deceptively elaborate music video set]
The most expensive music video ever made in 2016, it was only when I heard that this video was shot completely live in one take that I realised how great of a music video it was. A clever, playful and fun video - to logistically coordinate all those dancers, cameras, sets and costume changes within four minutes is seriously outstanding.


OK Go - The One Moment
[Literally the best music video shot in just a few seconds]
I could watch this video over and over again. OK Go have proven themselves time and time again that they are the kings of music videos of this side of the millennium. And even when you assume that they can't beat their last effort - they prove you wrong time and time again. There are no words for this one. It's just not required.

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