The death of Michael Jackson in 2009 seemed to prompt a lot of artists to rediscover the art of music videos in 2010.
Some, like Lady Gaga and Kanye West, took the artistic merit behind mainstream music videos from acts like Michael Jackson and Prince, and made those aesthetics all their own. Others, like Flying Lotus and The Arcade Fire, showcased the advent of technology in our lives. And yet others, like Janelle Monae and Erykah Badu, decided to show the power of humanity with very simple shoots. With so many good videos to watch this year, we decided to compile what we thought to be the best music videos of 2010, all for you to view in one convenient space.
Check them all out after the jump!
Last year, Kanye West invaded music video honors with less than noble methods. But this year, he came back in a storm with the art house hit "Runaway," which features an incredible saturated color palette and imagery that's well... dark and twisted, but mostly beautiful. Although Kanye's acting is sub par and the story line is nothing spectacular, the sheer ambition of the video is notable. It's beautiful -- not as a music video or movie -- but like a painting.
Big Brother is here. In what may be the creepiest, yet most nostalgic, video of the year, Arcade Fire teamed up with Google to show the powers of HTML5, the new language of the web. The result was a music video that finds where you live and makes you go through your childhood neighborhood. The results are amazing, although the video could only be experienced by a few people, only compatible, at first, with Google Chrome. But the video does make you think: Maybe Big Brother isn't some secret government takeover; maybe it's a our voluntary giving of our lives to the public domain on the Internet.
Speaking of music videos that are more like paintings: The best traditional music video of the year is Kanye West's moving painting music video for "Power," which boasts a beat produced by local Symbolyc One and evenremix video made by the Dallas Mavericks
. The video features Kanye standing in the middle of angelic models, looking like a Greek god. It's simple, yet powerful statement in visuals.
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Although it came out late 2009, the real impact of the video was felt in 2010. The haunting S&M video turned Lady Gaga into the Queen of Pop, showcasing her ability to entertain and freak out at the same time. At times in the video, Gaga looks like a mutant. At other times, she really does look like a diva. The video best represents what Lady Gaga is: a celebration and degradation of the pop star celebrity.
Flying Lotus jammed the laptop musician airwaves this year with his critically acclaimedCosmogramma
. But, later on, he released an equally interestingPattern+Grid World
EP, which features beats that are... well, a little happier -- something between a video game and acid trip. But with his video for "Kill Your Co-Workers", Flying Lotus has shown that he hasn't lost his dark side. The video, played to a pretty happy soundtrack, ends up doing what the song says: killing people. Still, the G-rated/R-rated mix makes an interesting experience -- especially because the video files were released open source, and Flying Lotus has invited people to remix the animations. He really is on the forefront of technology. Let's just hope his rumored future collaboration with Erkyah Badu proves to be follow these same lines.
Wait! Don't stop the video. Just keep watching. Wait for it... OK. Boom. In what seems like the resurrection of the Backstreet Boys -- dances and all -- Hot Chip goes into a weird abyss with an alien-looking bald guy that creates a very creepy, yet hilarious, experience that perfectly lampoons the ridiculousness of modern-day boy bands.
This maybe the simplest music video of all time, featuring just Monae's face as she's singing the song. But the simplicity makes for a powerful effect as it forces the focus on Monae's expressions, which go everywhere from happy to spastic to heavily emotional. It makes for a video that truly shows the power of human emotion -- similar to how Beyonce's "Single Ladies" expressed the power of human energy.
The Kings of YouTube have come back this year with a Goldberg machine of a video. The effects, predictably, are awesome. And, like all OK Go videos, it boasts all the ingredients of the viral hit: simplicity, uniqueness, color, a DIY vibe. Oh, and it was all done in a single shot.
"Fuck You" is one of the best songs of the year. It's hilarious and a little disarming -- despite its crude lyrics, everyone from grandmothers to children can relate to and sing along with it. The music video captures the universality of the song, showing Cee Lo over the course of his life, starting as a four-year-old and, later, as a college geek. It's just a fun clip, and it perfectly complements the song -- just like how good music videos should do. Then again,this song really does seem to go well with pretty much anything
The Queen of Dallas put the cityscape of our downtown all over the news this year, although more people were probably paying attention to her stripping rather than to Dealey Plaza. Regardless, whether it was aPR stunt
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or aprotest against groupthink
, everyone seemed to have an opinion on this video, and that's exactly what good art should do. No surprise on our stance: We applaud Badu for strutting her stuff without the pressures of trying to look like supermodel.