If you survived — or even bothered to read — that overblown list of songs, thank you and congratulations on many years of extended life. If you discovered even one new “favorite” from that enormous glut, I’ll consider my time on earth to be a success. Here I present my favorite videos of the year, as well as the “moments” — the brief glimpses of songs that keep me coming back over and over again. Call it an addiction to goosebumps.
1. PSY – “Gangnam Style”
I’ll never forget the first time I saw this video and thought it was the most amazing thing ever. Then a couple weeks later, the rest of the world had the same realization. Yes, I just hipster-cred’ed PSY. Witty, hilarious and the catchiest thing to come out of Korea since plastic surgery, I’m still not sick of this song. I know, I can’t believe it either.
2. Coldplay – “Princess of China”
Shaw Bros x Coldplay x Rihanna = amazing. 克利斯 马丁 万岁!
3. Of Monsters and Men – “Little Talks”
4. Alt-J – “Fitzpleasure”
Goofy band (in the vein of Battles and Hot Chip) greenlighting a dark, lush video dripping with sexual and religious imagery? Sold.
5. Juliet – “My First Hardcore Song”
I still get a kick out of this 8-year old Aussie growling about her dog Grommit and opening up a mosh pit on a trampoline with her stuffed animals. She kicks more ass than many bands these days…
6. The Black Keys – “Lonely Boy”
Chubby dancing nerd. No, not Psy. This is Carlton Banks at 50. Amaaaaazing.
7. Bjork – “Mutual Core”
This is what it looks like when rocks fuck and fight. And vomit and bleed and rage. Such an elemental and visceral experience for the hardest thing Bjork has recorded since Homogenic. Churning, pulsing, and thrusting with buzzsaw hardcore breaks. It’s amazing. And all a little terrifying.
8. The Rolling Stones – “Doom and Gloom”
Noomi Rapace’s boobs. Because I didn’t see enough in the Millennium trilogy movies.
9. How To Destroy Angels – “Ice Age”
Trent, wifey and his pals hole up in a cabin at the edge of the earth during the apocalypse, playing a sparse tune that is oddly warming and organic.
10. Lana Del Rey – “Blue Jeans”
My Favorite Moments
These are the points of the song where I get chills. Go crazy. Giggle with anticipation. Turn up the volume. Cry uncontrollably. Strip my clothes off. Play the broom like a guitar. Not all at the same time though…
- Joshua Ledet – “It’s A Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World”
There’s a point at 2:32 where he unleashes such a pure and passionate “HOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” that it just sends shocks of goosebumps through my brain. Like every single time. You can’t even fucking come close to this kid’s power. Like Winehouse hijacking “Valerie” from the Zutons and Hendrix swiping “Watchtower” from Dylan, this will forever be his song (sorry James Brown). Gatdayum!
- Florence and the Machine – “No Light, No Light”
The moment at 3:07 with the synth line, when the heavens open and Flo belts out a sustained 15 second wail. Fuck. Me.
- Bat for Lashes – “The Haunted Man”
At 2:54 (3:13 on the live video link), there comes a swell of low-end rumbling goodness that, if you’re sitting in a car, will surge from the bottoms of your feet up through the hairs on your head. It is so blissful that sometimes I just sit and wait for it with my eyes closed (parked, of course).
- Muse – “Madness”
The prettiest delivery of any Muse love lyric. Ever. 4:10 “I need your looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooove” followed by a smooth and sweeping crash. Thank you, Kate Hudson.
- Ellie Goulding – “Holding On”
The drop at 1:22. Whoooooooooooosh.
- The Black Keys – “Little Black Submarines”
When it turns into a Led Zeppelin song at 2:08. *Neil strips, grabs the broom-guitar, and tears up the kitchen*
- Regina Spektor – “Open”
At 2:38, something so jarring, so unexpected, and so uncomfortable happens, that your previous enjoyment of the song is suddenly shaken. And yet it has its intended effect: you feel suffocated, gasping for air like a fish suffocating to death on dry land.
- Taylor Swift – “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”
The lines: “This is exhausting” (2:23) & “… with some indie record that’s much cooler than mine” (1:19)
- Howard Shore – “Song of the Lonely Mountain/Thorin’s Song”
When the dwarfs start singing. Awesome. And then the sweeping orchestra comes in a wave over the Misty Mountains. Goosebumps. I think I watched the trailer a couple hundred times just to keep hearing this segment.