I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with music videos. Sometimes they feel like a relic of the MTV days that we cling to because everyone else is doing them. Other times however, you find such a well conceived and brilliantly executed video that reminds you how they sometimes still have the power to make a band or artist a household name. There’s been a fair few great videos in 2017, and here’s a run-down of some of the best:
10. The Eskies – All Good Men
Sometimes a simple idea done well is all you need. This raucous gypsy folk number from The Eskies certainly fills you with the kind of zest and fire that makes you feel like you could tear the room apart, so why not have the band have a crack at a random wall with whatever tools they can lay their hands on. It’s great fun, and a great fit for the song to boot.
9. The Killers – The Man
Making a great comeback with disco tinged single ‘The Man’, the many facets of The Killers frontman Brandon Flowers show various tales of life in the fast lane, recalling the reputation of their hometown Las Vegas. As success quickly fades into failure however, it gives us a look at the darker side lurking beneath the surface.
8. Algiers – The Underside Of Power
With the Trump era in full swing, a dark and oppressive reign that only seems to get worse, the need for resistance cannot be understated. For the anthemic title track of their latest album, the incomparable Algiers do not fuck around. In these dark crumbling corridors we see frontman Franklin James Fisher dancing around antifa meetings offering a potent brew of anger and hopefulness.
7. Father John Misty – Total Entertainment Forever
In a paper mache parallel universe run by a tyrannical version of McDonalds, we find Kurt Cobain (played by Macaulay Culkin) being whipped and crucified. Also, FJM himself has hooks for hands and Ronald McDonald bursts out of his chest Alien style. If you’re not already sold, the reference to the glorious moment alt-right oxygen thief Richard Spencer got what he deserves is sure to seal the deal.
6. Arcade Fire – Everything Now
It’s clear that since their last record Arcade Fire have graduated with distinction from the Slash school of standing in the middle of the desert and looking dramatic. This is one of the instances on this list where less is more. Framing a seemingly endless desert wasteland in such a beautiful way, combined with the band’s most uplifting track, just somehow speaks volumes, like the whole world is at your fingertips.
5. Steven Wilson – Permanating
It’s good to see artists you love grow and explore new horizons. ‘Permanating’ is pretty far removed from his usual somber output, and its accompanying video adds to it even more. The Bollywood dancers add such vibrancy and joy, and an infectious positive energy that you would never normally associate with his music. It’s had plenty of views from me this year.
4. First Aid Kit – It’s A Shame
For the first single from their forthcoming album Ruins, First Aid Kit have matched it with an endearing and well thought out video. Side by side we see the sisters treading the same path, albeit with very different experiences, as Klara falls victim to constant bad luck while fortune always falls in Johanna’s favour. It’s one that needs several rewatches, if nothing else to get both sides of the story.
3. Liam Gallagher – Wall Of Glass
Who would’ve thought that Liam would grow up and become the sensible Gallagher brother? Who would’ve guessed that he’d release a decent solo record, with a killer first single and a bloody brilliant video? Not me… and yet, here we are! Playing around with reflections and perspectives and other visually arresting bells and whistles, ‘Wall Of Glass’ is slick, memorable and thoroughly badass.
2. Royal Blood – How Did We Get So Dark?
Man, what I’d give to be a fly on the wall when this one was conceived. “Picture this okay: a bloodthirsty assassin kills people for their pet rabbits so he can decorate his car, and then we rock up in an equally rabbitted muscle car and chase him down and exchange a few bullets.” Absurdity aside, this is about as good as it gets when it comes to style and ingenuity, making this a very close second.
1. OK Go – Obsession
These guys just don’t give anyone else a chance do they? Even when they haven’t released an album in years, they’re still out here making impossibly intricate and inventive music videos the likes of which the world has never seen. Their latest endeavour features a wall of printers all working in perfect harmony to create incredible patterns. I’ve said it before, and I will no doubt say it again, these guys are in a whole other league when it comes to music videos and I doubt they will ever be matched.