Thom Yorke.  New Video.  Choreographed.  Dance off.  I think that’s about all you need to know.

Directed by Garth Jennings & featuring Fukiko Takase


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Each year, music videos seem to be inching closer to extinction. Without the support of major labels, it’s become harder and harder to find the finances to invest in what is essentially a dying art form. That being said, there are still a solid amount of talented visual artists working and finding beautiful ways of marrying sound and vision. There may not be an outlet like MTV, and long gone are the days of the multi-million dollar music video (good riddance), but if you look, you can still find some intelligent, thought-provoking, and moving examples of what a great video can achieve. These are my choices for my favorite videos of the years. Click the title for links to the videos. 

  • “Oostende” by Keep Shelly in Athens (Dir. Brendan Canty & Conal Thomson) // One of my favorite songs of the year married with an excellent visual that follows a couple scrambling to reconnect as the world around them starts to spin out of control. A gorgeously lensed story of love lost and trying to be found at the end of the world. 
  • “Afterlife” by Arcade Fire (Dir. Emily Kai Bock) // Emily Kai Bock is quietly becoming one of the best in the medium. After a couple of wonderful collaborations with the Creator’s Project (Grizzly Bear, Grimes), she’s back with her finest achievement yet. In the heartbreaking short film that accompanies “Afterlife”, we see the varying effects of a mother’s death on her surviving family - as explored through their dreams. It’s powerful stuff that is handled with a loving eye for detail. I am excited to see Emily Kai Bock make the leap to features. She’s definitely an artist to watch. 
  • “Wishes” by Beach House (Dir. Eric Wareheim) // Comedian and filmmaker, Eric Wareheim manages to take a supremely weird concept and create something of hypnotic beauty.
  • “Ingenue” by Atoms for Peace (Dir. Garth Jennings) // Surely, seeing Thom Yorke and Fukiko Takase’s expressive modern dance moves in Garth Jennings’ video for “Ingenue”, was one of the more surprising and enjoyable moments in 2013’s music videos. Plus, the song is pretty damn incredible.
  • “Lilies” by Bat for Lashes (Dir. Peter Sluszka) // Natasha Khan is an artist who always works with great directors to achieve something special. This time around, on “Lilies” (from last year’s brilliant album, “The Haunted Man”), she shares the screen with menacing, yet oddly lovable puppets, as a psychedelic dream world pours out of her mind. It also features an excellence performance from the artist herself as she spins, dips, and sings throughout the strange creations. 
  • “Manhattan” by Cat Power (Dir. Greg Hunt & Chan Marshall) // Chan Marshall’s smoky, world weary voice has a way of taking me nostalgic for times and places when I first experienced whatever song is at play. Here, in her video for “Manhattan”, she makes me nostalgic for a city that I once called home. Her most recent album was not one of my favorites of hers, but this track always stood out, and seeing her having an absolute blast traversing those familiar streets, makes me enjoy it even more. Her exuberance makes the memory of three thousand dollar rent bills momentarily disappear.
  • “Atlantis” by Postiljonen (Dir. Ty Olson) // Sure, at quick glance, the luxurious setting and the beautiful people make you almost feel like you’re watching a car commercial, but potent closing offers a nice reprieve from that sort of glorification. In the video, a young man looking for an out from his false surroundings, ditches his place and makes his way to a gorgeous new place where money isn’t the reason for the living. Plus, that killer sax solo.
  • “The Next Day” by David Bowie (Dir. Floria Sigismondi) // Marion Cotillard, Gary Oldman, and Bowie himself star in this bloody clip which is loaded with religious iconography. Star power aside, the video is wildly entertaining and it’s not too often that you get Bowie churning out his brand of awesomely strange videos, so this is one to savor. 
  • “The Beauty Surrounds” by Houses (Dir. Dan Monick) // Another tale of love lost at the end of the world. This time following a couple who are seemingly no longer together as we flash back over their attempts at building a life in the desert. It’s gorgeous and somber, much like the song. Definitely a strong collaboration that links both sound and vision perfectly.
  • “All I Know” by Washed Out (Dir. Daniel Kragh-Jacobsen) // This collaboration with Urban Outfitters resulted in a surprisingly effective story about two friends (one heartbroken from a recent break up, and one hell bent on helping him forget) on a road trip to escape pain. The video captures that era of youth magnificently when heartache can feel terminal one minute and the next you can find yourself blazing down the highway in search of new adventure. Everything is heightened and here, under the score of Washed Out’s shimmering “All I Know”, everything is alive with youth and energy. 

There you have it. My ten favorite music videos of 2013. In no particular order. Each video was elevated by the sounds within, and each song was brought new life by the visuals presented. 

The list of favorite albums of the year is up next, followed by songs of the year, and then a long form year in review. Stay tuned and thanks for listening!


Thom Yorke demonstrates that, when your suit fits perfectly, you should be able to perform modern dance in it with comfort and ease.


Atoms for Peace: Ingenue

Everything Fukiko Takase does in this video is graceful & gorgeous.