With the outdoors being basically out of bounds for much of the past year, we’ve all spent even more time staring at screens than normal. A fair chunk of my own viewing time has been consumed by some of this year’s most stunning music videos. There have been plenty of moving, inventive and even downright iconic visuals to marvel at in 2020. Our list season continues as we delve into the videos that most captured our attention and imagination this past year:
10. Honorary Astronaut – E.K.E.
Among Us took the world by storm this year, and so a video featuring an astronaut struggling to perform menial tasks in the face of imminent death feels very on brand. Throw in some brilliant tongue-in-cheek humour and ridiculous strutting and posing for good measure, and voila!
9. Jonathan Hultén – Where Devils Weep
Love the art style here – like a deck of Tarot cards come to life. I mean, the pirouetting skeletons alone are surely worthy of a slot on this list, and that’s before we even get to the breath-taking final shot. That slow pan across rolling hills, looking up at the rainbow streaking across a golden sky, is simply magical.
8. Rebekah Fitch – Dust
Easily the most moving video I’ve seen this year. Depicting an elderly couple going through a separation, and struggling to be apart after so many years together, this is one that will really tug at your heartstrings. It also feels refreshingly raw and real in amongst some of the more flashy visuals we’ve seen this year.
7. Cristóvam – Setting Sun
You don’t always need unique concepts or big budget effects to make a great video. Sometimes all you need is the perfect setting. Filmed in the Azores, ‘Setting Sun’ offers everything from black sandy beaches and dense woodland, to misty mountaintops and picturesque lakes. It’s 100% guaranteed to ignite your wanderlust!
6. Bright Eyes – Mariana Trench
I’m always a sucker for stop-motion animation, but it’s not often you see it crafted from hand painted artworks woven together. I adore the bright colour palette, and the way it flickers due to the uniqueness of each frame really makes you appreciate the work that went into it.
5. Keaton Henson – Ambulance
So wholesome and charming, like a cute children’s show from way back when, yet somehow just a little heartbreaking at the same time. The marionettes feel like the perfect medium for Keaton’s music, as often his fragile folk also seems like it is barely hanging on by a thread.
4. The Weeknd – Blinding Lights
Racing through the streets bathed in the warm glow of the city lights; with a slick suit and shades combo, and manic dancing reminiscent of Joker. Everything about this video feels effortlessly cool, but at the same time just a little unhinged to keep you on the edge of your seat. I can’t help but want to keep coming back for more.
3. Taylor Swift – Cardigan
Such a brilliant concept that we see being perfectly executed. The wonderous golden glow of the portals, the gorgeous visuals of a waterfall flowing from the mossy overgrown grand piano, and even the production design of the rustic log cabin is just spot on. It’s an ambitious video that manages to deliver in every way.
2. Daði Freyr – Think About Things
The best song to have never won Eurovision (damn you covid!). From the quirky homemade instruments and matching pixel art jumpers, to the way they keep up the deadpan delivery as the dance routine gets more and more ridiculous, everything about this video is instantly iconic.
1. Dua Lipa – Physical
There are so many great ideas here – the snippets of animation, playing with perspectives, incorporating a spinning platform into the dance routine – that could be the basis for a great video all on their own. Here they are just the icing on the cake, the real draw of this video is its vibrant use of colour. Each little coloured zone has its own distinct identity, and they all come together to form a video that is greater than the sum of its parts.