Will anyone ever forget the year 2016?
2016 has been a strange year. Starting off with the death of David Bowie (pictured below) and ending with nobody in the world quite sure what is going it has been a constant journey of ups and downs.
David Bowie seen in the moving video for Lazarus
But still, there has been some excellent music videos created to match this state of confusion; from Bowie to Anohni, there has always been a constant source of inspiration available in the ever-changing climate. Here we do a recap of our favourite videos of the year, good luck 2017 in trying to match some of these...
Radiohead - Burn The Witch
Perhaps the video which best represents 2016 is Radiohead's comeback single 'Burn The Witch'. Resembling the innocence of classic 60s British children's animation 'Trumpton' (not a coincidence in name) it highlights the paranoia of Europe and the US in the wake of elections and protests against the growing radicalisation of the new right and coming just months before Brexit and Trump's election it has become all the more prominent.
OKGo - The One Moment
What is there even left to say about Ok Go videos anymore? Filmed in 4.2 seconds, the video accurately encaptures a singular moment as hundreds of individual events occur in an instant, from 23 paint buckets exploding to 128 golden water balloons popping, the video is a superb visual spectacle which adds to the ever growing ambition of OK Go's videos.
Frank Ocean - Nikes
It finally happened, Frank Ocean FINALLY made his follow-up to the superb 'Channel Orange' with 'Blonde' and lead single 'Nikes'. The video is a striking affair that, as you would expect given the title, constantly nods to fashion - with Jenny Holzer and Bianca Chaldron being worn and references to Giuseppe Zanotti throughout. The cinematography is breathtaking as the bouncing glitter and contrasts of colours add to the poignancy of the song to create a fitting video to one of the best pieces of music of the year.
Stylo G and Jacob Plant - Bike Engine
On Keith Schofield's latest directorial effort he inserts himself onto the screen in a wonderfully self-aware video. Beginning with a group of men drooling over a pair of woman's legs strutting down the street, the video takes an odd turn when it is then revealed that that is all she is - a pair of legs (fun fact: the woman is the same person who portrayed Amber Rose in Kanye West's 'Famous' this year). The men then follow her, only to be revealed they are without legs (it's all very strange). The later events get posted to YouTube and get condemned which is when the video turns meta as the camera is pointed at Schofield, who we see return to his flat and cry himself to sleep. It's strange in its self-condemnation, but brilliant all the same.
Anohni - Drone Bomb Me
A somewhat darker tone here in the Naomi Campbell starring 'Drone Bomb Me'. Four minutes of savage beauty as Campbell plays the role of a tearful child who wants to die following their families death at the hands of a drone bomb. The single came two days after Obama administrative killed 50 Somalians in a drone attack, here a tearful, yet powerful, Campbell gives the anonymous victims a face in an all too uncomfortable manner.
Jamie XX - Gosh
Some videos are brilliant for their imagery alone and in 'Gosh' director Romain Gavras achieves just that. Lead actor Hassan Kone does a superb job in tying together the cacophony of madness that surrounds as hundreds of Asian boys dance in harmony in what looks like a parallel universe. Filmed without CGI or visual effects the video is outstanding in its visuals as some 300 Chinese schoolchildren are filmed running around Tianducheng(a Chinese town which is a replica of Paris) doing who really knows what? The video may be without meaning, but to say it isn't great would be a huge lie.
Mitski - Your Best American Girl
Relatable to outsiders across the world, Mitski Miyawaki's triumphant video for 'Your Best American Girl' tells a great story. The tongue-in-cheek video shows Mitski passionately kiss her hand in response to the young and beautiful couple sat opposite her in a statement aimed at those who have never been able to fit in or develop relationships (Mitski herself got the idea for the song after ending a relationship with someone too intertwined with all things American, after she spent much of her childhood travelling from country to country). The video is empowering as guitars crash and the couple becomes a parody for a forgetful youth culture. Simple yet striking, 'Your Best American Girl' is an ironic piece of brilliance.
Aphex Twin - CIRKLON3
Proving that he is still as enigmatic as ever in 2016 was Richard D. James with 'his' video for CIRKLON3. Directed by 12-year-old Ryan Were, from County Dublin, James found Wyer via his YouTube Gaming Channel where he has been making unofficial videos of Aphex's work for two years. The video features the Wyer family and his preteen friends dancing in various parts of the local area in somewhat grainy footage (of course still donning the famous Aphex Twin grin). CIRKLON3 is as charming as it is creepy and fits the character perfectly. How he found out about Aphex Twin we will never know, but in CIRKLON3 Wyer was a part of the best story behind a music video in 2016.
Jenny Hval - Conceptual Romance
Does anyone understand what this video is trying to represent? Coming with the message from director Zia Anger to "unchain ourselves from our Instagram, our carefully curated images and self-accommodation", 'Conceptual Romance' is a series of abstract images from woman spewing blood, to bouncing on balls or to lying together on a plastic sheet whilst in naked body suits. It's disconcerting, it's strange, but my goodness if it isn't captivating from start to finish!
David Bowie - Lazarus
The best video of 2016 also goes to one of the saddest. Beautiful and bleak, the video serves as one last goodbye from the megastar as he foreshadows his own death; images of Bowie wrapped in bandages in a hospital bed as he floats up towards an unknown future, it is harrowing to say the least. The video's parting image is one of Bowie entering a wardrobe, an image wonderfully fitting for someone so influential on style and culture.
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