YOU GOTTA SEE THIS: Top 10 Videos of 2011

December 30. 2011 | By Katie

The end of the year means one thing for music bloggers: “best” lists. Best albums, best songs, best live shows. For me, the resident Video Owl (not my official title; humor me), that means I’ve spent the past month or so thinking of the truly wonderful and truly terrible music videos that have graced the internet in 2011. There are a lot of great films out there, but these ten are the wackiest, coolest, and most thought-provoking videos I’ve seen while manning the YOU GOTTA SEE THIS feature. (I’d be remiss in not mentioning Radiohead‘s “Lotus Flower”–we didn’t post it, but it gets an automatic honorable mention.)

So without further ado…

10. San Cisco, “Awkward”

San Cisco – “Awkward” from Cluster 1 on Vimeo.

“Awkward” by San Cisco snuck into my ‘best’ list—the video only came out a few weeks ago—but absolutely earns a slot for its charming portrayal of young love. Though the song recounts a thoroughly modern dating experience, it still captures the timeless angst and confusion we know too well. Text messages, awkward dinner conversations, and emoticon puppies all feature, as well as a truly stellar deadpan from drummer Scarlett Stevens. That girl has some ‘tude. (In a good way.)

9. Apparat, “Song of Los”

This list is full of quirky videos, but “Song of Los” by Apparat still stands out. It has an unusual premise, but it’s more than odd for oddity’s sake: it’s emotional. It’s endearing. It’s thought-provoking. The story may be told through the eyes (or camera, as the case may be) of a robot, but it has much more to do with the complexities of human relationships.

8. Tom Vek, “Aroused”

I’m just going to say it: “Aroused” by Tom Vek is pretty hot. I’m not a fan of cigarettes, but I am a fan of the way the film seems to unravel; its pent-up energy gets released like a slow exhale. The video’s concept comes from smoking in art and fashion, but they’ve created an art piece all its own.

7. Vincent Minor, “Late Night Show”

I’ve seen a lot of music videos in my day, but I’ve never seen one quite like Vincent Minor‘s “Late Night Show.” Not only is it a fascinating bit of artistry (moving from line drawings to claymation to live action and back again), it’s an analyst’s dream. There are enough symbols and themes here to keep someone entertained for hours. It’s also just fun to watch.

6. Parenthetical Girls, “The Pornographer” (NSFW)

For the record, I’m not the one calling this NSFW; I’d just call “The Pornographer” by Parenthetical Girls mesmerizing. The video was directed by the band’s frontman, Zac Pennington, and features only his upper body for the full three minutes and twenty five seconds. I’m not going to tell you what’s happening—his facial expressions make it pretty clear.

5. Beirut, “Santa Fe”

Not many (good) music videos can make you laugh and cry, but Beirut‘s “Santa Fe” accomplished the feat. Without giving away details, I’ll say this: it’s a beautiful and poignant story, with a cute dog. You can’t lose.

4. YACHT, “Utopia”/”Dystopia (The Earth Is On Fire)”

YACHT Utopia / Dystopia (The Earth Is On Fire) (Explicit) from DFA Records on Vimeo.

There have been a few apocalyptic space videos this year, but none of them were done with quite as much gusto as YACHT‘s double film “Utopia”/”Dystopia (The Earth Is On Fire).” It has every manner of weird thing thrown in, from baton twirlers to intergalactic treadmills to camels to floating toddlers. The geodesic landscape isn’t exactly my idea of Utopia, but it offers a nutty viewing experience. And, frankly, I bought the whole album right after watching.

3. Toro Y Moi, “How I Know”

This is a ghost story, but it’s not scary—it’s awesome. Besides featuring Daniel Franzese (Damian from Mean Girls), “How I Know” by Toro Y Moi also uses some of the most innovative murder methods I’ve ever seen. The whole video is original and fantastic, but the last 45 seconds alone would probably earn it a spot.

2. Cut Copy, “Blink and You’ll Miss a Revolution”

After extensive research and reflection, I’ve concluded that it’s impossible to dislike Cut Copy. If the music alone doesn’t suck you in, this seriously epic video for “Blink and You’ll Miss a Revolution” probably will. It’s like if Planet of the Apes met…well….a Cut Copy concert. I’d like to call this video #1b rather than #2, because it’s tied with my first choice for sheer awesomeness.

1. The City and Horses, “We Will Never Be Discovered”

This is, quite simply, the weirdest video I’ve ever seen. I love The City and Horses‘ “We Will Never Be Discovered” on its own, but add these two orange-clad French people and I am transfixed. I promise that you’ll never see another video quite like this—and that’s why it tops my list. It’s not about big budgets, or fancy artwork, but about ingenuity. Mad props to the band and to performance artists le contremaître et sa contremaîtresse. I hope for more wonderful weirdness in 2012.

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