The Best Videos of 2013

The Best Videos of 2013

Though the queen of all pop music just dropped the first ever “visual album,” that wasn't the only good thing that the screen brought us this year. While some of you nerds were out actually listening to music, we were watching music—on our laptops. In bed. On this yearend roundup, we brought in a friend and confidante, videoman Sean Stout of Terorreyes.TV, to help us compile a list of the year's visual delights. We added a few of our own and here you have it, a list of videos that both enhance the music and stimulate our eyeballs. Long live the video artform.

Dizzee Rascal, “I Don't Need A Reason”

I've seen this effect in videos a few time before. Essentially you green screen out the continuously moving parts and then re-introduce them to looped footage. This is hands down the most seamless approach to this effect I have seen to date. The execution is near flawless. Plus, it's Dizzee Rascal and the song rules. –SS

U.S. Girls, “28 Days”

U.S. Girls' Meg Remy may have long ago proven that she's a master of alt-pop, but in this video for “28 Days”, the Canadian musician shows that she can rock a bouffant and dance like a queen. Featuring a fierce-looking girl gang and lyrics about our monthly menstrual cycles, the video for “28 Days” is as pleasing to the eye as a period is displeasing to the uterus. And those outfits! –DE

Kirin J Callinan, “Landslide”

Kirin J Callinan is always showing us his body, and with the physicality that came with this phenomenal Embracism record, it's no surprise that the trend continues in a video for “Landslide”. The track is the album's highlight, and in this video you can see Callinan being dangled upsidedown and covered in muck, and with the eerie nature of Callinan's facial expressions, it matches the tone of the track entirely. –DE

Pure X, “Thousand Year Old Child”

Even without the video starring Bob Olsen, Pure X's “Thousand Year Old Child” was one of my favorite songs of 2013. The video escalates the message in a manner that I've always felt might yield a chance at true longevity. This is a hungover on a Sunday morning song with a video in which the protagonist looks as though he's seen a thousand Sunday mornings. So when Nate Grace says, “it's just a question of time” and “what am I doing with my life?” the impact is there in the wrinkles that cannot be hidden by makeup on a lounge singer's forlorn mug. –BG

Earl Sweatshirt, “Hive”

Hiro Murai is an incredible director. The way he is able to subtly make things eerie is unparalleled. This video in particular feels like a childhood nightmare. The way the wallpaper ascends? Who would think to do that? His use of lighting is also always on point. He uses light in this video to make things look amateur or spotlit but then hides things in the areas you're not paying attention to and uses it to guide the focal point in a really interesting way. –SS

Lizzo, “Batches & Cookies”

I don't know if it's just because this song totally slays or if it's Lizzo's numerous outfit changes, but I always walk away from watching this one with a giant smile on my face. The Minneapolis rapper had a fire album this year that almost no one touched, but if the single in “Batches & Cookies” says anything, it's that she's the boss. Watch as she straight up bathes a man while she raps to the screen. Donuts make a recurring cameo, so avoid watching while on an empty stomach. –DE

Hot Sugar, “Erica (feat. GTW)”

When it came to rap videos, Hot Sugar could do no wrong. His videos for “Leverage” and “Mama I'm a Man” were excellent, but “Erica” (feat. GTW) was Nick Koenig letting his creativity go well beyond formulaic rap videos. What I love most about the video is real doll live-in-girlfriend concept is almost too easy, but Koenig's expressions, antics, and the little details in the set design overcome it. –BG

Oathbreaker, “No Rest For The Weary”

Obviously the “metal band in the woods” music video angle is really played out, but this took it to the next level. I'm semi tempted to not include this video, as it has some serious Tumblr-esque “CvLt” undertones, but whatever, I love it and hate it at the same time. –SS

Thee Oh Sees, “Toe Cutter”

This video speaks for itself. I personally don't like narrative music videos, but this is an example of how to do one the right way. The ending, too? Money. –SS

The So So Glos, “Lost Weekend”

I've had a torrid love affair with New York since I was 13 and when the city tries to get me down, I need only turn on the video for “Lost Weekend” to raise my spirits again. As lifelong New Yorkers, the Glos turn their own song—a beautiful tribute to those lost weekends you can have with a new romance—into a tribute to Gotham. Sometimes living here can feel like being in a relationship, and no band shows it that better than Brooklyn's finest. –DE

Minden, “What's More Than Appropriate?”

Selected because it's Portland's brand of weird and real players leave their pants on if they're already going steady with another lady. It's a classy move. –BG

Eola, “Notfelix”

2013 saw no shortage of out-there videos (and really, an overdose on chopped up VHS footage), but this Eola video packs itself perfectly alongside the simply melodic “Notfelix”. Edwin White walks through a crowd and bounces between frames of himself as he hums the song's primary melody. Vibrant and soothing, the video for “Notfelix” is a patchwork of images that serves the track well. –DE

Flume & Chet Faker, “Drop the Game”

Interpretive dancers in music videos for electronically produced tracks just works. And it works well. I almost gave this slot to Altar of Plagues' “God Alone” video, but this video is executed flawlessly. The last video of this sort that had me like “damn” was AlunaGeorge's “Your Drums” video. I like to imagine that the dude in the video was walking down the street with his girl and was just all: “You know what? Fuck it. I feel like dancing.” And she was all, “Brice, seriously? Not now, it's cold and rainy and I just want to go home now. That dinner was awkward and horrible. I told you I hate going to your parents house.” And then he was all: “Nah, baby . . . Nah . . . I gotta do this, for me.” And then this video happened. –SS

Uffalo Steez, “Wassup”

This video is why I don't go outside. –SS

Jenny Hval, “Innocence Is Kinky”

High-quality tight shots of Jenny Hval bathing herself, shaving, running, and dancing in campy makeup make for a stunning interpretation of what one might consider kinky and another might be repulsed by. It breaks standards and is visually challenging, and when Jenny Hval emerges in red muslin cloth, the shot is so gorgeous as to feel like reaching a patient climax. –DE