I've always been a big fan of music videos, and while they don't seem to be as popular nowadays, I was happy to discover plenty of great ones throughout 2011. Here are some of my favorites.
By my estimation, more than 50 videos appeared on Those Who Dig this past year and all of them did so because we dug them. When it came time to pick my top 5, I decided to break the favorites down by categories: live performance, animation, story, visuals, and concept. I snuck in a few links to honorable mentions since five just didn't seem enough. I think all of these songs are really great, too.
Most Dug Live Performance Video: The Coppertone "As I Lay My Burden Down," a moving blues tribute. Like the best performances of this sort, it's both gritty and soulful.
Honorable Mentions: Phil Cook "Ballad of A Hungry Mother" (a lovely acoustic peformance in a bathroom) and The Dead Trees "Back to LA" (rocking a house party).
Most Dug Animated Video: Tidelands "Holy Grail." Impossibly intricate and beautiful, illustrator Ami Kutata created a world to get lost in.
Honorable Mentions: Jarrod Gorbel "Miserable Without You" (a funny look at a couple's opposite perspectives on their relationship in a 2-D cartoon style) and Drew Smith "Love Teeth" (an interesting parable on dependency).
Most Dug Story / Narrative: The Future Islands "Balance." This depicts two young people in love and on a journey. It's full of cool details and sweetly observed moments.
Honorable Mentions: Lohio "Adelaide" (a powerful look at the imagination of a child) and Icarus Himself "On Your Side" (a very surprising glimpse at a couple with some Tarantino overtones).
Most Dug Visuals: Carrousel "14," a rollicking split-screen, half-forwards, half-backwards adventure.
Honorable Mentions: PAPA "The Lion King" (black & white with some splashes of color and slow motion) and San Cisco "Awkward" (a fun look at a one-sided relationship, emphasizing texting & IM graphics)
Most Dug Clever Concept / All-Around Cool: Said The Whale "Lines," which pays tribute to one of my favorite films Back to the Future and totally nails it. Heavy.
Honorable Mentions: So maybe these aren't quite clever conceptually, but I wanted to make sure to include these last two since they were really strong songs with enjoyable videos – Vandaveer "Dig Down Deep" (a rallying march to the sea) and The Middle East "Jesus Came to My Birthday Party" (a poignant look at nostalgia and aging).
Bonus Pick: I really loved this performance of "American Pie" by the City of Grand Rapids. It's fun and inspiring. I wrote more about it here.
Honorable Mention: I love this montage of NYC scenes set to James Vincent McMorrow's "We Don't Eat."
Those are my picks. What are you favorite videos from 2011? Let me know and stay tuned for my favorite songs and albums.