From Peaches’ “Rub”
It’s been another banner year for music videos, but with effective-yet-kind-of-boring videos for Drake’s “Hotline Bling” and Adele’s “Hello” dominating the mainstream, it felt necessary to dig a little deeper to find the real creative cutting edge.
What follows are innovative, fascinating, crazy, shocking, cool videos by artists spanning the mainstream and the underground. Though they’re not technically ranked, they kind of get wilder as the list progresses, so be aware of who’s around you as you watch.
A$AP Rocky, “L$D (LOVE x $EX x DREAMS)”
The video for the third single from ASAP Rocky’s At. Long. Last. ASAP was directed by Dexter Navy and the NYC rapper himself, and despite its druggy content, it’s nominated for a Grammy.
FKA Twigs, “Glass/Patron”
The British neo-R&B singer-songwriter dropped M3LL155X (pronounced “Melissa”) along with a long-form video that runs the full length of the EP. This is the climax of that video, directed by FKA herself, as usual.
Sia, “Elastic Heart”
Co-directed by Sia and Daniel Askill and choreographed by Ryan Heffington, this video features Maddie Ziegler (who starred in Sia’s “Chandelier”) and Shia LaBeouf. The casting was controversial, leading some over-sensitive people to believe it suggested pedophilia. Sia apologized, stating that only these two actors could portray her inner struggle.
From her forthcoming fifth album Matahdatah, Sri Lanka-born Brit MIA’s latest single and video (which she directed herself) artfully addresses the migrant crisis in the Middle East and Europe.
Kendrick Lamar, “Alright”
Colin Tilley and the Little Homies directed this cinematic portrayal of police violence in the USA, for a track off the U.S. rapper’s critically adored record To Pimp a Butterfly.
This American hardcore brother act gets the claymation treatment courtesy of director Nicos Livesey. The song is from their 2015 debut LP Dark Black Makeup.
Country, “White Colours”
This Montreal duo released a single from their debut LP Failure early this year, with manic animation by Sinbad Richardson.
Rihanna, “Bitch Better Have My Money”
Directed by Rihanna herself, with “MegaForce,” this is a graphic depiction of how we all feel sometimes (if only for a few seconds) when we’re owed money.
Of all the crazy videos released by Canadian electro-smut icon Peaches this year, the title track from her album Rub, directed by Peaches with A.L. Steiner and Lex Vaughn, got the wildest treatment. You may not believe what you’re seeing. Very, very NSFW.
David Bowie, “Blackstar”
Directed by Johan Renck, whose credits include episodes of Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead, this is a brilliantly creepy video for the episodic title track from Bowie’s next record (out Jan. 8), which is (according to a member of Bowie’s current band) about ISIS.