Saturday, December 17, 2011

The 25 Best Videos Of 2011

In 2011 music videos can be separated into three distinct categories - big budget extravaganzas, cheap label-funded clips and do-it-yourself efforts. Not that price is an indication of quality. You can spend millions and still end up with an unforgivable turkey like "Marry The Night". For me, it's all about coming up with something original that suits the song. That could be a coked-up secretary dancing in front of a filing cabinet or a superstar made to look like an extra from Cocoon. The common factor being that I got the urge to go back and watch that shit all over again - obviously for very different reasons. Listed below are my 25 favourite videos of the year. Let me know what I overlooked in the comments.

25. Put Your Hands Up - Kylie (Lyrics Video)

I'd rather read Kylie's stunning lyrics than see your favourite basic bitch strut her stuff in a glossy video. The end.

24. Chinese Walk - Amanda Lear (Video)

Want to see an almost 70-year-old disco legend transform into a young Asian beauty? Well, look no further than "Chinese Walk"! Amanda Lear nailed this half-animated visual extravaganza. It's effective and extremely pretty. Proof that a good idea and competent execution can overcome the smallest of budgets.

23. I'm Still Hot - Luciana (Video)

Luciana told me this high-camp clip was inspired by '80s drag/pop sensation Divine and I'm sure John Waters' favourite gal would approve of the end-result if she were still alive. Basically, the Queen of electro wakes up from a bender and walks around the desert carrying a boombox on her shoulder. We've all been there.

22. Sexy And I Know It - LMFAO (Video)

What can I say? I like watching Redfoo shake his junk!

21. God Sent Me Here To Rock You - Naomi Elizabeth (Video)

Naomi Elizabeth's exquisite self-made visual is better than Lady Gaga's entire videography. From the diva's stunning choreography in front of the filing cabinet she clearly spends her days maintaining to the not-quite-couture outfit she wears in the garden, this is pure gold.

20. Cherubino's Aria - Adya & Geisha (Video)

I'm pretty sure the director of this clip took way to much LSD in the '70s.

19. Gucci Gucci - Kreayshawn (Video)

Kreayshawn and V Nasty make a spectacle of themselves on the street. That's it. Literally. The thing is - "Gucci Gucci" is so full of life. There's no stupid set-up or styling. It's rough and real and better than anything Onika will make in her entire career.

18. Party - Beyoncé (Video)

Sometimes Bey has a tendency to over-think things. Unlike your gutter-ho fave, she's always trying to lift her game to previously unimagined heights and that can backfire on her. This time around she kept it simple. After Googling "poor people pool party" on her diamond encrusted laptop, King B knew what she had to do - hire a trailer park, let Solange out of the dungeon and call up her girl Kelly. The rest is YouTube history.

17. Friday - Rebecca Black (Video)

The most successful viral video in history is a work of unintentional comedic genius. You couldn't have scripted this epic trainwreck. From the hilariously bad graphics to the dumb look on Becky's face and a cameo from the world's shadiest rapper, everything that could go wrong did go wrong. Only instead of making it unwatchable, those flaws made "Friday" an instant cult classic that will enjoyed by drunk internet-users for decades to come.

16. Lonely Lisa - Mylène Farmer (Video)

Ballet dancers, sunbeds in the desert and France's answer to Madonna make "Lonely Lisa" an unforgettable experience. Great song too.

15. Big Bad Wolf - Duck Sauce (Video)

The protagonists in this warped masterpiece have a second head where their reproductive organs should be. I still can't decide if I'm turned on or disgusted.

14. Drop It Low - Kat DeLuna (Video)

Queen Kat brings the choreography - and safety helmets - in one of the year's best dance videos.

13. Midnight In Berlin - Barb@zul (Video)

Spain's hottest bear-band finally got around to releasing the sequel to their 2010 internet hit "I Don't Care". That blockbuster was something of a gay soap opera, which ended with Laz dumping Juan for messing around with another man. In the sequel the boys move to Berlin and enter the adult entertainment industry. I think.

12. Pon Pon Pon - Kyary Pamyu Pamyu (Video)

Japan's hottest Harajuku girl dresses up as a toddler, dances around like a possessed oompa loompa in a room full of creepy toys and vomits eyeballs. Could your fave?

11. Wonderland - Natalia Kills (Video)

I had such high hopes for Natalia Kills when I saw her dark and twisted "Wonderland" video. She cleverly re-imagines a bunch of classic fairytales with a distinctly gothic twist. The cinematography and styling is spot on and I love the use of extreme gore in a pop video. How did she morph into such a pathetic Gaga wannabe? Sad.

10. White Nights - Oh Land (Video)

Charming isn't an adjective I'd use to describe a lot of music videos but that's the first word that comes to mind when I think of Oh Land's lovely "White Nights" visual. The Danish singer presents us with a quirky dreamscape in the clip, deftly jumping between surreal scenarios. I particularly love that the former ballerina finally gets to show us her graceful dance moves. Light up a joint and watch this on repeat.

9. Shake It, Shake It - INY (Video)

Korea's hood girlband leaves your faves for dead - literally - in this disturbing masterpiece. The riveting set-up finds the edgy beauties stealing iPods from unsuspecting schoolgirls. Unfortunately, they cross a gangster and spend the rest of the clip being chased around Seoul by a bunch of rapists. Thug life!

8. Move Your Body - Beyoncé (Video)

When she's not running the world, Bey is making sure your kids don't get fat by teaching them how to Dougie. You're welcome.

7. When The Night Falls - Chromeo Feat. Solange Knowles (Video)

Chromeo always deliver the goods but this kooky effort is one of their best. The Canadian dance pioneers spend the clip getting women pregnant with their magical instruments. That is until the ladies revolt and come after the hapless musicians. It's well-conceived, original and stars a Knowles. What more do you want?

6. The One That Got Away - Katy Perry (Video)

Here she is. Shady Katy. I'm surprised the video isn't jam-packed with subliminal messages instructing viewers to download the song from iTunes but maybe she's saving that for her seventh number one. As for the actual clip, I can't fault it. This is beautifully written, directed and acted. Most importantly, it's touching and effortlessly taps into the sentiment of the song. Well done.

5. Play With Me - Chloe Lattanzi (Video)

As a huge fan of her unreleased material, I almost fainted when I heard Chloe Lattanzi had finally unleashed her debut video. After almost a decade of false starts, Olivia Newton-John's amazingly talented but certifiably insane daughter introduced herself to the world by snorting drugs, self-mutilating and repeatedly committing suicide in "Play With Me". I have never been so proud!

4. Sure As Hell Not Jesus - Cosmo Jarvis (Video)

Cosmo stars as a pedophile priest with a Justin Bieber poster above his bed in this mini-movie. Need I say more?

3. Blow - Ke$ha (Video)

While Lady Gaga made 14 minute snoozefests and Rihanna tried to turn Trainspotting into a musical, K$ did something revolutionary. She had fun. "Blow" stands out like Khloe Kardashian's erection at a day spa with its irreverent dialogue and crazy special-effects. I love James Van Der Beek's cameo and the unicorn heads. Someone needs to offer Ke$ha a movie deal!

2. Midnight City - M83 (Video)

Just when you thought that the music video genre was all but dead M83 drop this achingly beautiful clip. "Midnight City" follows a group of kids with special powers who escape from their school/prison and wreak havoc. It's incredibly well done and suits the song perfectly. Make sure you check this out if you haven't already.

1. Run The World (Girls) - Beyoncé (below)

From the moment Bey rides past with her immaculate lacefront blowing in the wind like strands of freshly spun gold, you just knew that this was going to be epic. "Run The World (Girls)" might have used up the entire "4" era video budget in one hit but it was worth it. One minute it's a post-apocalyptic episode of America's Next Top Model, the next it's an African dance showcase. I love the emphasis the clip places on choreography. Who else but Beyoncé would dare to bring the Pantsula to the masses? Re-visit the video of the year below.