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Best Of: Top 20 Music Videos of 2012

posted December 21, 2012, 9:44 pm by Ben Oliver | Filed Under Editorial, General Interest, Releases, Video | comment Leave a Comment

Every Friday we feature a music video in a feature called Video Of The Week. It’s always fun to watch a classic video from one of your favorite artists, or to watch a new video from a new band. Some of the videos listed here were featured as our video of the week during the past year, while others were just posted, and yet others were just discovered recently. Video killed the radio star a couple decades ago, and forever changed music and the industry as we know it. And now with easily access to high speed mobile internet, smart phones, iPads, and YouTube, nearly anyone can become an overnight sensation. These range from the animated to the exotic, they will make you laugh, cry, and experience every emotion in between. A few artists appear on the list twice. Let us know which you like best, or which videos you think we left off that should be on the list. Here are my personal favorite videos, and a few honorable mentions that are most definitely worth taking the time to view. Here we go, hope you enjoy as much as I did!

1. Of Monsters and Men “Little Talks”

This became my favorite music video this year the first time I watched it! I first discovered the band early this year when doing research for SXSW. This video debuted in February, and will probably have already surpassed 40 million views by the time you read/see this.

2. M.I.A. “Bad Girls”

Another video that became an instant classic immediately upon release. This banger was also released in February, it’s nearly got 30 million views. M.I.A.doesn’t drive but loves cars, and this video helps explain why!

3. Cloud Nothings “Stay Useless”

Here is the first appearance by this band on our list. I’m a sucker for excellent animation, especially when it’s combined with a great song—like this one!  Although still young, this band keeps getting better and showing greater promise.

4. Death Grips “Double Helix”

As more and more indie bands become successful, it will take more than just a lavish budget to stir attention. Death Grips rise to the occasion with one of the most innovative and original music video ideas ever! It’s quite shocking this doesn’t have more views yet.

5. YN Rich Kids – “Hot Cheetos & Takis”

While we discovered most videos on this list earlier this year, I actually just came across this must see one last week–thanks to @boobiejoo It was released then shot to viral fame with over 4 million hits this past August. Beats And Rhymes, an after-school program set up by the North Community YMCA in Minneapolis in partnership with the Nellie Stone Johnson Community School, gives young children the opportunity and equipment needed to create hip-hop music as positive reinforcement for good grades and homework. YN Rich Kids, who represent the outreach, have outdone themselves with a song about the munchies that all ages can relate to!

6. Trash Talk “Slander”

Even before their relationship with label mates Odd Future, this hardcore group has already been quickly establishing a stellar reputation for making dope videos. Their first of two appearances on this list, this one is like a cartoon shroom trip–no, seriously, it is.

7. Cloud Nothings “No Future, No Past”

For some reason, this is the first music video that I remember watching this year–even though I know it wasn’t. Co-produced by Urban Outfitters, it’s the second appearance on this list from Ohio based Cloud Nothings. This is also another video I’m surprised doesn’t have more views.

8. Mac Miller “Loud”

I probably don’t need to tell you that in today’s post music label/post industry world, that EP’s and mixtapes are equally as important as full lengths are. From his impressive Macadelic mixtape, this is probably my all time favorite Mac Miller video and most of the other 18 million viewers would most likely agree.

9. Fiona Apple “Every Single Night”

What kind of best of list would this be without an octopus hat? Only Fioana Apple could disappear for several years, then suddenly remerge back into our collective cultural consciousness, looking good wearing a squid on her head. It currently has over a million hits.

10. Bear In Heaven “Reflections Of You”

One new favorite band discovery of mine this year was New York’s Bear in Heaven. They put out one hell of a record that should be considered one of the year’s best. I think you will enjoy these visuals as much as I do.

11. Danny Brown “Grown Up”

Here is another example of a video for a song that wasn’t part of a full length record. A humorous trip down memory lane is brought to life, showcasng the MC’s unique storytelling talent. Put out by ScionAV, it will most likely have passed the 2 million view mark by the time you read this.

12. Yellow Ostrich “The Shakedown”

The trio created an excellent and amazing album. This gives another glimpse at the group’s potential greatness. It has under 20,00 views and reminds us success isn’t always based on numbers.

13. Odd Future “Rella”

This crew is following in the footsteps of other legends while trailblazing their own path. Equal parts brilliance and absurdity, this what the fuck clip will stand the test time–trust me. It has been seen over 21 million times.

14. Killer Mike – “Reagan”

I hoped a music video would be made for this song the very first time I listened to it. This animated clip disarms those who would other wise be opposed to it’s dark political message. Watching it is just as compelling to listening to it.  It is almost ready to pass 300,000 views.

15. Passion Pit “Take A Walk”

I’m already sick of this song since it’s been worn out by both radio and remixes alike. The music video, however, is amazing and shouldn’t be missed. The beautiful creation is the result of a partnernship with The Creators Project in New York and has almost 4 million views.

16. Trash Talk “F.E.B.N.”

Appearing on our list for the second time again, this one sees the boys joining forces with who signed them: Odd Future. What does a mosh pit, a baby, and a lambourgani have in common? Watch and see!  Did I mention this was directed by Tyler The Creator, aka Wolf Haley.

17. Danny Brown “Radio Song”

I can’t imagine Danny Brown having a better year than the Detroit rapper experienced in 2012. This second video on the list was one of the first I remember seeing from this artist. Very creative and original.
18. Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti “Only in My Dreams”

One of the year’s best projects is accompanied by one of the year’s best music videos! This 1970’s inspired theme is hillarious and somehow manages to make an incredible song even better.

19. El-P “The Full Retard”

Recording one of the best hip-hop albums of the year and producing another, El-P had quite the impressive 2012. Check out this enjoyable and funny clip featuring his constant companion and sidekick puppet Mr. Killums.
20. tUnE-yArDs – “My Country”

Making our list for the second year in a row, this video has over 300,000 views.

Honorable Mentions:
Sleigh Bells – “Comeback Kid”
Sarah Jaffe – “Glorified High”
Best Coast – “Do you love me?”
Explosions in the Sky – “Postcard from 1952”
Odd Future – “Oldie”
The Shins – “Simple Song”
Drake – “HYFR”
Grizzly Bear – “Yet Again”


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