2012 was a really interesting year for music videos. A lot of great videos came out from independent and international artists that became far more popular than anything put out by the major labels in the US. Many times, these were low budget affairs with excellent execution. Other times, they were elaborate collaborations with animation studios and large casts. And then there's a Korean rapper dancing like a pony to mock a certain cultural stereotype in his country. These are the Best Music Videos of 2012. Six honorable mentions followed by a ranked top six. You can also click on over to the fourth page for a YouTube playlist of all the videos.
- Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra, "Want It Back"
- Ben Folds Five, "Do It Anyway"
- The Guild, "I'm the One That's Cool"
- Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, "Fashion Monster"
- Le1f, "Wut"
- Manlia Luzon & Latrice Royale, "The Chop"
6: Scissor Sisters, "Let's Have a KiKi"
There's something to be said for simplicity in a music video. The Scissor Sisters nail this with their breakout club anthem "Let's Have a KiKi." Shot on a single set with one lighting change, the video puts the focus on having a great time and dancing your cares away. Really pay attention to how choreographed Ana Matronic's movements are at the beginning with the Metrocard and umbrella. It only gets more detailed from there.
5: Lindsey Stirling, "Crystallize"
If nothing else, Lindsey Stirling acts as one of the great advocates for appreciating the beauty of the American landscape. Her videos take advantage of some of the most beautiful and diverse environments in North America and makes them painfully beautiful. Never is this more apparent than in the icy landscape of her debut dubstep track "Crystallize." With simple lighting and a central focus on her perfectly time choreography, Lindsey Stirling makes a big splash as a composer, rather than pop/orchestra arranger.
4: Psy, "Gangnam Style"
Yes, it went viral because the video is ridiculous. But it's ridiculous to a point. Psy is mocking the ridiculous lengths men will go to in order to attract a young lady and the commitment to that gag is amazing. It's a social statement that just happens to include people dancing like they're riding horses.
3: Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra, "The Killing Type"
Equal parts graphic and beautiful, "The Killing Type" puts the focus squarely on the song. The band, dressed all in white in front of white backgrounds, slowly becomes covered in crimson blood as Amanda Palmer fights against her animalistic instincts to take brutal revenge on someone. The song comes alive through Amanda Palmer's performance, an artist who time and again proves why her fan's devotion is warranted on talent alone.
2: M.I.A., "Bad Girls"
Is there any great music video this year that isn't making some kind of subversive statement (except for Lindsey Stirling)? M.I.A. tackles shariah law head on with a high action music video inspired by real life protests where women took to the streets and drove cars against the laws of their country. The song praises the brave women for putting their lives at risk to prove their equality as human beings. The video
1: Willam Belli featuring Detox and Vicky Vox, "Chow Down (at Chick-fil-A)"
Crude, over the top, and deeply satirical, this trio of California drag entertainers take a controversial news story and turn it into a hilarious anthem for tolerance. The parody of Wilson Phillips "Hold On" (with a little TLC thrown in for good measure) tackles the Chick-fil-A CEO's double-down defense of discrimination against LGBT customers. The brilliance comes from the subversive nature of the song and video, where the drag queens indulge in the food and even film at real Chick-fil-A locations to drive the message home. And as Willam says in the YouTube description of the video, "If drag queens endorse Christian-right owned Chick-fil-A, is it still an endorsement? NOPE."
Those are what I consider the best music videos of 2012. What do you think? Sound off with your picks below.