Favorite Music Videos of 2013

My Best of 2013 coverage continues with a look at my ten favorite music videos of the year.

The following ten videos are my favorites that were shared on Those Who Dig at some point this past year. I also am including links to some videos by bigger artists I liked that were never on the site. And before we get to that, I want to give shouts to a few  friends of the Dig that released cool videos this year:

Ok, onto my top ten, presented in alphabetical order:
Caveman “In the City” – A song liked and a video that surprised me. I will warn you it is quite unsettling, but it does work for the mood and atmosphere. Nice to see Julia Stiles, too.

Cold Blood Club “Goodbye to All That” – A romantic look at New York City and friendship. It’s more celebratory in the video than the song – as befits the Joan Didion reference – but all of it is deeply felt.

Golden Suits “Swimming in ’99” – I’m clearly a fan of videos with a strong sense of place. This one covers a lot of ground in NYC, though the shallow depth of field is occasionally disappointing. The ever-shifting watches are a fun touch.

Isle of Rhodes “Islands” – This is probably my favorite video of the year. I love the handmade quality of the animation. I love the music and the message, and I especially love that the video is a very clever and effective interpretation of the latter.

Polly Scattergood “Wanderlust” – As a medium, music videos lend themselves well to executing interesting highly conceptual visual storytelling. This is a great example, where a simple looping routine gains more nuance and complexity each time it occurs.

Shake the Baron “Ghost Hits” – More of a short film, this is a fascinating look at a couple fighting in real life and on a deeper metaphorical (yet even more physical) level. It’s visceral and all the more powerful for not pulling punches – literally.

Stone Cold Fox “Seventeen” – If Shake the Baron’s video showed us a couple possibly collapsing, this one is all about the aftermath of a breakup. I like the friends’ commitment to getting their buddy back on track. Overall it’s hilarious and exuberant.

Wild Cub “Blacktide” – Makers of one of the best videos of 2012, Wild Cub returned with another strong video this year. It’s very cinematic, a mysterious and perhaps a little disturbing look at a cult, but really it’s about friendship.
Yellowbirds “The Ceiling” – This is the best use of found footage (at least I assume it is), with additional animated and graphical touches. The languid yet rhythmic vibe of the song works well with the gliding nature of the life aquatic. It was a good year for undersea videos.

The Zolas “Strange Girl” – A beautiful but heartbreaking story, which involves former lovers reconnecting many years later at a reunion, with glimpses at their past. Heavy with the feelings of “what might have been.”

That covers the best music videos on TWD. Here are a few by bigger artists we didn’t cover that I really dug:

  • Duke Dumont “Need U (100%)” – ingenious concept here involving a man with an uncontrollable internal music player.
  • Justin Timberlake “Mirrors” – an even more aching, beautiful, ambitious, and visually powerful look at the arc of a relationship than The Zolas. One of the year’s biggest surprises for me, both song & video.
  • Kvelertak “Bruane Brenn” – hilarious and well done. It’s a metal version of Notorious BIG’s “Sky is the Limit” aka a video starring all children.
  • Phoenix “Trying to Be Cool” – I don’t really know how to explain this other than it feels like a classic alternative rock music video, which is always a good thing in my book. I love stuff with long takes and intricate choreography.
  • Volcano Choir “Byegone” – not much to this, but the lights in the tree synced to the track – which I really like – makes for a neat video aesthetically.
  • Yeah Yeah Yeahs “Sacrilege” – you will want to watch this one more than once. Unfolding backwards, it keeps you guessing and ends up raising many more questions than answers. Very engrossing narrative, all in four minutes.
  • Finally, I thought the Bob Dylan “Like a Rolling Stone” interactive video was quite cool. Comprised of 16 different channels of TV shows that are either real or spoofs, each one involves a performance of the track. The innovation is you can flip between however you choose. If you haven’t spent a few minutes…or hours… playing around with it, you should.

What were your favorite videos of the year? Let me know. And I’ll be sharing my favorite songs and albums of 2013 shortly.