20 Most Awesome Music Videos of 2013
By Lyndsey Parker | Yahoo Music – Mon, Dec 16, 2013 3:53 PM EST
While many music videos are
merely slick, soulless promos for potential hit singles, occasionally
a video comes out that transcends crass commercialism and actually stands
alone as a work of visual art. Happily, quite a few such artworks hit
TV screens and computer monitors for three or so minutes at a time this
year, and when we here at Yahoo Music added all those minutes together...well,
we realized we spent much of 2013 enjoying some truly awesome music
So here, in ascending order of awesomeness, are our picks for the top
20 videos of the year.
20. Phoenix – "Entertainment"
They may hail from France, but Phoenix's recreation of a high-end Korean
soap opera is surprisingly on point — so much so, we're hoping
for a sequel in 2014. We need to know what happens next!
19. Yeah Yeah Yeahs –
"Sacrilege" [viewer discretion advised; watch it here]
This seemingly Scarlet Letter-inspired epic stars scarlet-haired British
actress Lily Cole as wanton woman who pays dearly for her sins of the
(freckled) flesh. Her performance is startling. Can music videos be
eligible for Oscars?
18. Yoko Ono – "Bad
Supercool octogenarian Yoko invites her hipster friends (including the
Beastie Boys' Mike D and Ad-Rock, the Roots' ?uestlove, Roberta Flack,
Reggie Watts, and Ira Glass) to come bust a move in some tinfoil-plastered
Brooklyn bunker. A lot of (you guessed it) bad dancing ensues. But it's
the so-bad-it's-good kind of bad dancing. The GIFs practically create
17. Janelle Monae –
Stars in stripes! The flawless Janelle recruits the regal Erykah Badu
for one of the most stylish and stylized clips of the year. She really
lives up to the title of her new album, The Electric Lady, with this
16. Empire of the Sun –
True to the band's cinematic moniker, every Empire of the Sun video
is an over-the-top widescreen masterpiece. And "Alive" is
no exception. Animal costumes, desert landscapes, body-painted jungle-women,
towering spaceman headdresses…this EotS sci-fi saga is ridiculously
sublime, sublimely ridiculous, and just plain rad.
15. Mumford & Sons –
In case you thought M&S were a bunch of over-earnest folkies, this
Lonely Island-esque clip — starring comic geniuses Jason Sudekis,
Ed Helms, Jason Bateman, and Will Forte as the members of the band —
proves they've got a wonderfully skewed sense of humor. No folk-music
cliché is left untouched here, and the result is one of the best
self-parody videos not just of 2013, but of all time. These guys found
comedy gold in a "Hopeless" place.
14. David Bowie – "The
Stars Are Out Tonight"
Bowie, the comeback king of 2013, made several epic videos this year.
But this one, directed by Floria Sigismondi and starring Thin White
Duchess Tilda Swinton as Bowie's lookalike missus, is still the most
epic of them all. How wonderful to see this rock icon and video vanguard,
as glamorous and dapper as ever, onscreen again.
13. Arcade Fire – "Reflektor"
True visual pioneers, this year Arcade Fire created an open-source Google
Chrome experiment that lets viewers use a computer, phone, or tablet
to manipulate their video's graphics or even incorporate their own faces
into the clip. A demo is below, but to see the real thing, go to justareflektor.com
and prepare to be blown away.
12. Cut Copy – "Free
Your Mind" [viewer discretion advised; watch it here]
Australian cult band Cut Copy cast cult actor Alexander Skarsgård
to play the sexy, shirtless leader of a tracksuited cult. This is definitely
a video worthy of worship.
11. Lily Allen – "Hard
Out Here" [viewer discretion advised; watch it here]
In a twerktastic year filled featuring Miley Cyrus's not-safe-for-Disney
makeover, Robin Thicke's soft-porn spree "Blurred Lines,"
and Rihanna's X-rated Instagram, Lily's comeback was so needed. "Hard
Out Here" was possibly the wittiest, realest, most girl-powered
pop song of the year, and its accompanying video (a withering missive
against sexism in mainstream music) did for pop in 2013 what Pink's
"Stupid Girls" did in 2006. Welcome back, Lily. You've been
10. Willy Moon – "Yeah
Want to see what real star quality looks like? Look no further than
this dazzling video, starring model-handsome New Zealand rockabilly
god Willy Moon. It's a little bit Bye Bye Birdie, a little bit All That
Jazz, a little bit "Single Ladies," and whole lotta amazingness.
This Moon is a rising star.
9. Darwin Deez – "You
Can't Be My Girl"
Talk about a video evolution! Darwin turns photobombing into a bona
fide art form here. You'll never look at stock photography the same
8. Bruno Mars – "Treasure"
Disco is back, baby! This looks like a vintage outtake straight outta
"Soul Train." And it's the video that Daft Punk really should
have made for "Get Lucky" this year.
7. Justin Timberlake –
There's a reason this won so many VMAs this year. A seven-minute celebration
of the 63-year marriage of Justin's real-life grandparents, from their
1950s bobby-socks courtship to lump-throated scenes of Grandma as a
recent widow, it's an extremely moving clip that warrants multiple viewings…preferably
with a box of extra-ply Kleenex at the ready.
6. Franz Ferdinand –
"Evil Eye" [viewer discretion advised; watch it here]
Director Diane Martel made news in 2013 for her work on Miley Cyrus's
racy "We Can't Stop" and Robin Thicke's even racier "Blurred
Lines"…but do not overlook the grossout masterpiece she made
for Franz. This medley of low-budget, lose-your-lunch horror scenes
is NSFW is an entirely different, entirely unsexy way, but you won't
be able to look away.
5. Avril Lavigne –
"Rock N Roll"
The bear-shark and Tank-Girl-on-girl kiss with Danica "Winnie Cooper"
McKellar in this utterly confounding clip has garnered all the media
attention, but we think its most VMA-worthy moment is Avril's "November
Rain"-inspired guitar solo, which pops up in the middle for no
reason (other than it's just friggin' cool to pay homage to Slash).
Either way, "Rock N Roll" rocks, in the weirdest way possible.
4. Miley Cyrus – "We
Yes, we're sure "We Can't Stop" has landed on many worst-video-of-the-year
lists. But the people who wrote those lists are just wrong. This is
THE video for the modern age: Everything seems like it's been run through
an Instagram filter, every shot looks like a really well-taken selfie,
and the aforementioned Diane Martel's art direction is just impeccable.
That Pepto Bismol bloodletting! The French-fry skull! The money sandwich!
The twerking teddy bears! We couldn't stop watching this in 2013. Admit
it, neither could you.
3. Bob Dylan – "Like
a Rolling Stone"
It took 50 years for Dylan's classic to get an official music video,
but it was well worth the wait: That way, the song could undergo a truly
modern treatment. This astoundingly inventive interactive clip, by digital
media company Interlude, creates an alternate cable television universe
where, no matter what channel you tune to, the shows' hosts are lip-synching
"Like a Rolling Stone." It's all Bob, all the time, 24/7…and
it's definitely must-see TV.
2. Foals – "Late
Night" [viewer discretion advised; watch it here]
The cycle of life goes into full spin in this Oxford buzz band's arty
NSFW clip, as under the roof of a single dilapidated hotel building,
a woman gives birth, a man hangs himself, a nekkid couple does the deed,
and a bloody bar brawl erupts in the lobby. To call this video "intense"
would be the understatement of 2013. To call it "brilliant"
would be very appropriate.
1. Capital Cities –
"Safe and Sound"
We hope our New Year's Eve party is as jubilant and colorful as this
dancetastic tour de force, which just nabbed a well-deserved Grammy
nomination for Best Music Video. Rarely does a video so perfectly capture
the vibe of a song as this one does. It's the look and sound of pure
joy. We dare you to watch this and not smile.
here for video.