Videos continued to grow in importance in 2012 thanks to the ever-growing reliance on the internet as a means of distribution. And if that sounds like a lazy way for artists to hawk their music, it’s not. Every video on this list is on a creative par with the song upon which it’s based. There’ll always be lazy tie-ins – ‘hey, we made a video so like it and buy the record please?’ – but there’ll also always be creativity. From The Shoes’ bizarro ultra-violent Gyllenhaal blood-fest to Grizzly Bear’s majestically weird (or weirdly majestic) ode to competitive ice-skating in “Yet Again”, 2012’s better videos never fell short of great.
Michael: Time to Dance – The Shoes
There were some aaaamazing videos this year. Like, ridiculously good. Imagine Dragons’ “It’s Time” was a video as epic as their sound that was stunning visually. Then there was the absolutely crazy “The Greeks” by Is Tropical. I mean you need to be 18 to view the music video (that means born in 1994 kids if you’re going to have to be a tid bit dishonest) but it is so worth the inconvenience. A french drug war acted out by children with incredibly graphic death animations. It is as absurd as it sounds. But no video was as mind blowingly as The Shoes’ “Time To Dance”. Incredibly self-referential about both the idiocy of hipster culture and the joy, it’s delightfully brutal and terrifically ironic. It’s everything a music video should be, including getting Jake Gyllenhaal to start in it. Seriously, I would watch anything with that guy in.
Henry: Yet Again – Grizzly Bear
Is it socially acceptable to like Grizzly Bear again? There seemed a time when they stood for everything that was so cool, it was uncool. They were inaccessibly indie. But that’s bewildering to me. Shields, one of 2012’s best albums, is not some bizarro mash-up of indie rock that would alienate all but the most tested hipsters. It’s just good. Like, really good. And surprisingly radio-friendly. If the xx can get radio-play on XFM (or wherever, I don’t actually listen to the radio), Grizzly Bear definitely can, and should. Anyway, that’s a long pre-amble to where this is actually going. “Yet Again” provides the backdrop to a brilliant video. It’s a little bit Black Swan, a little bit dramatic and a lot fucking weird. It matched the band’s ambitious sound on Shields. But once again, that ambition was expertly realised.
Side note: This could so, so have easily gone to Delta Spirit’s “California’ which is just brilliant. It’s so GIF-ready, sunlight-stricken and Tumblr-wet-dreamy that you’ve just got to marvel at it: