Our list season continues with one more foray into visuals before we get on to… y’know, the actual music. While 2019 has not really been a year for big spectacles, there have been plenty of great videos to tug at your heartstrings and make you think, to pour over and analyse, and some to just put a great big smile on your face. Here are the ten videos that made the biggest impression in the past twelve months.
10. Jordan Mackampa – Parachutes
A simple idea, and one that carries real weight, executed superbly. It’s unflinching look at domestic abuse, in particular its focus on male victims who generally don’t receive as much understanding or recognition, makes for a very moving watch.
9. Foals – The Runner
While it could have perhaps been have been explored to a greater extent, I love the central idea behind ‘The Runner’. The way they hop between world by stepping into paintings utilizes some great transitions and opens up some really interesting set pieces.
8. Gabrielle Aplin & JP Cooper – Losing Me
A really unique and interesting take on an increasingly common theme. Namely how we get caught in the push and pull of our hyper-connected modern society and end up longing for a more human connection. Another shining example of a simple idea done well.
7. Orla Gartland – Flatline
A wonderfully charming video, directed by one of my favourite YouTubers Jack Howard, that sees Belwood favourite Orla Gartland tackling a talent contest. It has a definite John Hughes vibe about it, and ends with a triumphant fist in the air moment as Orla returns to own the stage.
6. Billie Eilish – Bad Guy
While not quite my favourite video of the year, it’s hands down the most iconic and memorable video of 2019. Batshit crazy, heaps of fun, and a bit messed up and unnerving at the same time, it pretty accurately captures what Billie’s music is all about.
5. Hozier – Dinner & Diatribes
When it comes to unnerving videos however, ‘Dinner & Diatribes’ took the cake in 2019. Hozier and Anya Taylor-Joy’s hellish dinner party boasts great choreography and delightfully disgusting production design. Not forgetting superb use of practical effects; how many other artists are willing to be set on fire for a video?
4. Seafret – Fall
Depicting WWI in a music video was a bold choice, but these lads pulled it off. Its incredibly ambitious, with top notch cinematography that captures the wider action and horror of war, as well as the more intimate and human moments of fear and loss. It does more in three minutes than many big budget productions I’ve seen.
3. The Killers – Land of the Free
I was shocked and in awe of The Killers for releasing the most politically charged track of the year. ‘Land of the Free’ is such a powerful and daring take on America’s many injustices and hypocrisies. I was so impressed by their guts and their empathy that it narrowly missed out on my top songs of the year. They say a picture is worth a thousand words however, and seeing it all laid out in front of you really elevates the song and hammers home its message.
2. Sigrid – Mine Right Now
On the opposite end of the spectrum we have this incredibly wholesome shot of pure joy. Sigrid, unable to make it to the filming of her own video, had the director fill in for her. His hilariously cringeworthy dancing and miming, interlaced with other filming fuck-ups, is an A+ example of making the best of a bad situation. The end result is endearingly awkward and utterly genius.
1. Finn Andrews – One By The Venom
This isn’t the kind of big, in-your-face video that usually takes the top spot. Instead it’s the kind of video where you can spend hours pouring over every detail. Every striking piece of symbolism, every tongue in cheek piece of satire. There’s so much going on and so many interesting ways in which they are connected. I love the dichotomy of “one from a covenant come to no good” and the brilliant transition for “one by the guillotine, one by the rope”. Intriguing and inventive, ‘One By The Venom’s video is a must-see.