Music

Thoughts + Best Music Videos of 2012

– By Yufeng K.

I love this time of the year.

With Christmas around the corner and New Year’s Day creeping up over the horizon, it is a flurry of gift shopping, merry making and festive lighting. A hint of a smile hangs on the lips of the typically black-faced Singaporean. A wonderful time indeed.

And to top it all off, it is also a time for year-end lists, hawking the best film/book/music/viral video/sex scandal of the year.

Sadly, these lists are often topics of heated debate, (“Yo Taylor, I’m really happy for you…I’ll let you finish…” you know the rest) where people tend to veer off into mudslinging instead. Well, everyone is entitled to their own opinion and I for one love year-end lists.

They give me a chance to see what I have missed over the past year and this has been particularly fruitful for me in the music department. Without Nitsuh Abebe’s top ten, I probably would never have discovered the awesomeness that is Miguel. I would have missed out on Jessica Pratt (whose record I thoroughly enjoyed) and Holy Other (not so much) if not for Gorilla vs. Bear’s impressive list.

So, I guess my point is: December is a happy month and rather than descend into dissing other people’s music taste, it would be much more worthwhile if we could all appreciate our differences and discover music you never thought you’d like.

And as expected, I will be posting a list of my own before the year ends. Feel free to passionately approve of or denounce it because that’s what music lovers do.

In the meantime, here are, in my opinion, the top 5 music videos of 2012:

5) Rhye – The Fall

A man meets a younger woman and begins to crave for something new in his (I assumed) marriage. Or maybe it’s a man reminiscing better times. Either way, the video is a wonderfully understated study of a relationship at a crossroads, accompanied by Mike Milosh’s luxuriant vocals and a sensual slowburner of a track. Moving stuff.

4) The Shoes – Time To Dance

Yes, it’s Jake Gyllenhaal as a serial killer. With an absolutely killer (hurhur) track from The Shoes, director Daniel Wolfe takes us on a riveting 8 minute ride as Gyllenhaal pumps iron, enjoys a sauna and gives off dark brooding stares while chasing victims around and smashing their heads in. Oh and bonus points for that shaving scene from 3:37.

3) M.I.A. – Bad Girls

Romain Gavras and M.I.A. do it again. After that distasteful video for ‘Born Free‘, the pair continue to court controversy, this time featuring assault-rifle-toting Arab women in opulent burkas, BMWs doing stunts in the desert and Maya leading a swaggin’ entourage. With great visuals and even greater style, this is one bad-ass video.

2) Grimes – Oblivion

Watching Claire Boucher dancing impromptu in ‘Oblivion’ is mesmerizing. She radiates so much energy as she bops to the music that all the attention is focused on her, rather than testosterone-charged events (football game, dirt bike rally, a group of crazily ripped men having a friendly jostle) that happen in the background. Add that to director Emily Kai Bock’s eye for gorgeous shots, and it’s 1-0 to female empowerment.

1) Spiritualized – Hey Jane

You know a video is good when it constantly lingers around the precipice of your consciousness. And also when you find yourself replaying it over and over again. Directed by the talented AG Rojas, ‘Hey Jane’ is a glimpse into the life of a transvestite stripper and his/her son.

Filming a music video for a track that ebbs and flows and clocks just shy of 9 minutes is challenging enough, but the continuous tracking shot from 4:25 is a truly stroke of genius. And as the song gains intensity and reaches its climax, so does the video, culminating in what must be the most heart-wrenching and thought-provoking moment of the year.

If you can spare 10 minutes of your time, this is the one to watch.

Special Mentions:

Sigur RosMystery Film Experiment

iamamiwhoami – kin

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