A Dozen Awesome Music Videos from the Past Couple of Years
Let's Watch Some Videos!
Like many Americans, I have long loved watching music videos. However, my access to them over the years has been... sporadic, to say the least. With my far greater emphasis on online viewing lately, however, and my not uncommon use of YouTube Mix when I just want some background music, I've gotten to see a lot more music videos lately, and several of them have made a notable impression. As such, I thought it might be fun to celebrate a few of the more interesting videos I've found, and hopefully create a diverting hour or so for my readers. The STRONG emphasis is on videos released within the last three years or so, though I will start off the list with a slightly older one. These are not in any particular order, other than having been placed in what I hope to be a pleasing arrangement. Enjoy!
1. Of Monsters and Men: "Little Talks"
I admit that I am bending my rules slightly to include this song from 2011, but I have two definite reasons for doing so. First, the song is freaking awesome! Second, the video is also freaking awesome, and is one of my inspirations for getting back into watching music videos. The group's video for "King and Lionheart" is also an incredible video, but I am limiting each artist to one appearance here. This is an incredibly original and entertaining video, for an incredibly original and entertaining song, and an awesome way to kick off a list of awesome videos.
2. Vance Joy: "Riptide"
Next up we have the endearingly cheesy video for Vance Joy's "Riptide," a strange blend of low--budget kitsch and high-falutin' pretentiousness. In other words, are we sure Wes Anderson didn't direct this video? There's a tiny bit of David Lynch here too, all in a package that reeks of nostalgia. I like the song immensely, but I love the video.
3. Walk the Moon: "Shut Up and Dance"
This video is also pleasantly cheesy: a great big slice of pure 80's cheese, that is. The lead singer is most endearingly goofy, the girl who's caught his eye is endearing in a different sense, and the overall package is enjoyable and most memorable. This video and the previous one are definitely among the strongest inspirations for this hub; it doesn't hurt that the song itself is such a wonderfully nostalgic trip.
4. Sheppard: "Geronimo"
Yet another endearingly goofy alt-rock video; I swear it's the last one for now. I couldn't leave this one out, though. First, there is the fact that the main singer looks eerily like somebody I know. Second, that blue-haired harmony singer is pretty dang cute. Third, the video is that weird blend of cheesy and epic that makes for a great little piece. Fourth, the song's pretty awesome. Anyway, as with all the groups so far (and most to follow) I'm excited to see more from this act.
5. Momoiro Clover Z vs. Kiss: "Yume no Ukiyo ni Saitemina"
And now for something... compleeeeeeeeetly different! A couple months ago, I saw a posting on Anime News Network about an interesting social media contest between Japanese girl group Momoiro Clover Z and famed 80's glam rockers KISS. If you're scratching your head in puzzlement over that sentence, you have an inkling of my initial reaction. How about this as the clincher--animation by the folks behind the anime Kill la Kill. Fortunately, a link was provided, and I was promptly able to sate my curiosity; a new favorite video was added to the mix. This is the very definition of the phrase "awesome music video." It may not be the greatest in the world, but you will be in awe that something like this exists.
6. Mumford and Sons: "Lover of the Light"
And now, a fairly serious video. I actually was really moved by this video, which appears to be a low-key meditation on grief. It is quite an impressive piece visually, and an extremely impressive song, albeit not my favorite tune by Mumford and Sons. It is probably their most impressive video to date, however, and the desire to both give the group a spot and have something a bit more substantial gave this video a nod.
7. Nickel Creek: "Hayloft"
I love Nickel Creek, and videos like this are a big part of the reason why. I actually wasn't sure at first that this was an official video--it was so odd and unlike any I've seen. However, when I found a link to this video on the band's official page I thought this was all the evidence I needed. After a seven-year hiatus, the maestros behind my favorite song reunited last fall for a new tour, and a new album; this song, a cover of a song by Mother Mother, is one of the handful I've gotten to listen to so far. With videos like this, I can hardly wait to see what the band's second wind will look and sound like.
8. Taylor Swift: "Blank Space"
I regret that I have been extremely lax in my viewing of country music videos over the past couple years; in truth, I barely count either Nickel Creek or Taylor Swift as country acts, and the videos I've selected are just about as far from country as some of the rock songs on this list. Whatever else this video may be, it is pretty awesome. Miss Swift is, not to put too fine a point on it, infamous for her various relationships; her detractors are, not to put too fine a point on it, HARSH in throwing this back at her. So, she made a video about it, openly mocking her public persona. Considering that I have a soft spot for celebrities that know how to laugh at themselves, I naturally enjoyed the video. Add in the fact that it is a good song and that they really went all out with the video, and this is one of the most awesome videos of the past couple years. And I'm not just saying that to stay off her blacklist.
9. Kanon Wakeshima: "Killy Killy JOKER"
Singer/ cellist Kanon Wakeshima made a splash in 2008 with the uber-creepy "Still Doll," the end theme to the anime Vampire Knight, and she has since had an interesting career skirting the edge of J-pop with a typically darker, classically-tinged sound. This song, the opening theme from the recent series Selector Infected WIXOSS, is a pretty good song among her other works, but the schizophrenic video is what really caught my attention. I am including this video as much to introduce Wakeshima to a wider audience as for any other reason, but in the end it is pretty awesome.
10. The Griswolds: "Beware the Dog"
An old-fashioned super-cheesy gore-fest, with an evil Red Riding Hood and her pet wolf. This video truly is awesome! That's all I have to say about that. Seriously, very few videos have caught my attention like this one, and the song's pretty great too. This is one of the best cheesy horror films out there.
11. "Weird Al" Yankovic: "Word Crimes"
Last year, master parodist "Weird Al" made headlines by using various social media platforms to release eight music videos successively over the course of as many days to promote the release of his (supposedly) final traditional album, Mandatory Fun. In typical form, several of these videos were great, notably "Tacky" (a spoof of Pharrell Williams' "Happy") and "Foil" (a spoof of Lorde's "Royals"). Easily the best, however, is "Weird Al"s highest-charting single this decade, the Robin Thicke parody "Word Crimes." In fact, the song is responsible for a REALLY WEIRD statistic: apparently, "Weird Al" joins Michael Jackson and Madonna as only the third person to have a Top 40 single in each successive decade since the 1980s. The video itself is quite original, and inspired. As an English major, I approve.
12. Cage the Elephant: "Come a Little Closer"
I will end my list of twelve with an awesome video for an awesome song. Cage the Elephant is a group with an extremely varied discography, and most of their songs are moderately interesting to me, but this song is easily a cut above the rest. And that acid trip of a video! Just give it a watch--I'm not really sure my description could be any more interesting. A word of warning, though--it gets WEIRD.
Are you not entertained?
I do hope you've enjoyed watching my selections of awesome music videos. As always, I fully welcome any suggestions for great videos I may have missed, or comments on which selections would make one doubt my sanity. As thanks, enjoy a few bonus videos. The first is not a music video, but a classic moment from the 2006 series Kage Kara Mamoru (Guardian Ninja Mamoru), a 2006 series finally getting an overdue American release. The announcement by Sentai Filmworks this week of their licensure of the series was a highlight of the week, and this video is, frankly, one of the reasons why. The second video is, well... I have no words. I just thought you might enjoy something bat%$#! insane. It is one of those things that, once you watch it, there is no un-watching it. You're welcome. Finally, I leave you with a video about everything that is awesome, from one of the high points of the 2015 Oscars telecast. Happy viewing!