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[Best of 2013]: The Year In Music Videos

We award high school superlatives to this year's class of music videos

by Zach Sokol
Dec 11 2013, 9:39pm
Lead image from Beach House's "Wishes"

It's pretty much unanimously agreed that the interactive video for Bob Dylan's "Like A Rolling Stone" is the most expansive, intense, and awe-striking video of the year (16 videos wrapped into one?! A Danny Brown cameo?! ). But what other video blew the internet's mind all over it's 13"-17" face this past year? 

There have been many amazing works, but The Creators Project has narrowed down a list of the videos we keep hitting replay on, months after they went live. 

Take a stroll (well, a scroll) back through the class of 2013, including cuts by A-Trak, Blood Orange, Mac Demarco, and Arcade Fire.

Over-Achiever/Class Perfectionist: A-Trak's "Tuna Melt" and "JUMBO" 

Directed by Ryan Staake
Directed by Jason Miller

We all remember that perfectionist, Harvard-ready classmate who had the most organized notebooks and lockers during high school. That kid who showed up early to do laps on the track.

A-Trak's videos "Tuna Melt" and "JUMBO" are the visual equivalent of that ambitious dude who made us jealous. The former  includes the most OCD-friendly Rube Goldberg set up of the year, while "JUMBO" involves the producer and Fool's Gold ringleader doing a basketball team warm-up.....by himself. 

These videos are essentially shout outs to all the hyper-motivated kids out there who will probably employ us one day.

Most Likely To Become Remain Famous: Drake - "Started From The Bottom"

 
Directed By "Director X"

Despite being October's very own, Drake had a massive year. The video for "Started From The Bottom" may have been released in February, but it's narrative strength and overall epicness has made it a continuous favorite over the 10 months its been online. Videos that play off the song title don't always work, but can you imagine a better way to encapsulate Drake's own take on the rags-to-riches trope than his going from night manager at a convenience store to dancing in a white, drop-top Bentley as the rapper gets covered in a snowstorm? He has more ice than you can ever imagine. 

Most Spirited - Beach House's "Wishes" 

Directed by by Eric Wareheim

"Wishes" perfectly captures that football game. You know, the one that townies talk about for their entire lives. But rather than the game, it's the halftime spectacle that's embedded in everyone's memory here. 

Give it up to Eric Wareheim (half the genius behind Tim And Eric: Awesome Show, Great Job!) for creating two of the most eye-gasmic videos of the year with Beach House's spirited "Wishes" and Major Lazer's psychotic "Bubble Butt." Our high school glory days may behind us, but Wareheim perfectly imagines hometown camaraderie in this empowering-yet-somewhat-surreal clip.  

Class Clown/Most Likely To Make You Smile (With Gap Teeth): Mac Demarco's "Dreamin" 

Directed By Jason Harvey

Is there a musician more whimsical (and even likeable) than Mac Demarco? He may very well be The Dude Lebowski of indie rock. The gap-toothed, chain-smoking weirdo plays to all his lovable strengths in this straight-forward video.

Demarco dons a Victorian wig and formal garb while spazzing out on his guitar and blowing smoke through his teeth (naturally, he uses a cigarette holder). Despite touring nonstop and releasing a record this year, Demarco maintains his stoner/slacker vibe perfectly in the "Dreamin" video, which ends with him getting covered in slime filled with cigarette butts. Bravo. 

Most Earnest: Blood Orange's "Chamakay" 

Directed By Adam Bainbridge

It's easy to call music videos "visually stunning," but few actually embody such a tag as strongly as Dev Hynes' (aka Blood Orange) "Chamakay." The personal diary-esque piece includes Hynes visiting his mother's hometown in Georgetown, Guyana where he meets his extended family for the first time. Everything in this clip, from the clothing, to Dev's sort of nerdy, Prince-like dance moves, to the shots of the city feel unbelievably earnest and organic. While the concept of "returning to your roots" sounds cheesy, the video is heartfelt and memorable. Even if you don't remember this video, we assume Hynes will never forget making it. 

Drama Queen - FKA Twigs' "Papi Pacify" and "Water Me" 

Directed By FKA Twigs and Tom Beard
Directed by Jesse Kanda

I am a huge Arca fanboy. The extremely left-field producer was busy this year, as he released his phenomenal &&&&& mixtape, produced several songs on Yeezus, and co-wrote and produced FKA Twigs' EP2.

Twigs' beautiful EP is flushed with melancholic vibes, lush-and-textured production, and some downtrodden lyrics like "He won't make love to me now" and "I guess I'm stuck with me." Fittingly, videos for the tracks "Papi Pacify" and "Water Me" stay consistent with the album's tone. 

The former includes black and white shots of a man sort-of-caressing-sort-of-strangling Twigs, as he both holds her and shoves his fingers down her throat. The video is cut to look like a high def GIF, making the intimacy/tension ten times more brutal. 

"Water Me," though, is colorful and exaggerated via animation. The video, made by frequent Arca/Twigs collaborator, Jesse Kanda, includes the singer's limbs and eyes stretched and manipulated, as big, diamond-like tears roll down her gorgeous (and digitally warped) face. These two videos fit perfect together: they are dramatic, a little heartbreaking, and you can't look away. 

Class Weirdo - Gesaffelstein's "Pursuit" 

Directed by Fleur and Manu

The brains behind M83's music video trilogy (produced by The Creators Project) released one of the most mind-boggling videos I've ever seen. Gesaffelstein's "Pursuit" is like a freshman film student's wet dream: surrealist imagery, solid CGI, and the craziest pull back, tracking shot this side of Wes Anderson. If the directors were embodied in a classic high school character, they would be that weirdo kid with slicked back hair who chain smoked and wrote poetry alone (but was also kind of handsome). 

Class Daydreamer - Arcade Fire's "Afterlife" 

Directed by Emily Kai Bock and produced by The Creators Project

This music video is so awe-strikingly hypnogogic that it could have only been conceived by a serious dreamer. Director Emily Kai Bock told The Creators Project that she "was having really weird dreams at the time [of writing the video] and decided to pay more attention to them. I wanted to notice how they look, I mean really look, and to get an idea about the aesthetics of representing dreams on film."

For everyone prone to staring out the window and getting lost in thought, this video hits especially hard. "Dreams do look like real life," Kai Bock said. "They aren't the cheesy, blown-out, digitally rendered things we've seen in pop culture a million times." In other words, never stop daydreaming. Videos like this wouldn't come to fruition, otherwise. 

Life of the Party - M.I.A.'s "Bring The Noize" 

Made by Noisey

The song title sums up the superlative pretty well, the video only enhances it. 


While we wanted to share the love with nods to some amazing videos, bonus nods go to the entire class of The Creators Project-produced videos, including Tanlines, Phoenix, Solange, Queens of the Stone Age, and These New Puritans.

@zachsokol