Top Ten Greatest Music Videos of 2019Music videos can be great for numerous reasons. They can tell a story, they can entertain, they can be a bold statement, they can feature striking imagery, they can convey a certain mood, and much more. In the 2010s, we had Childish Bambino’s shocking clip about gun violence (“This is America”), Poppy’s satirical pop star parody (“Lowlife”), Eisbrecher’s radical attack on the first world (“Was ist hier los”), Beyoncé’s associative demonstration of black pride (“Formation”), Björk’s Freudian dream landscapes (“The Gate”) and Lady Gaga’s scandalous gothic religious sex epic (“Alejandro”), just to name a few highlights of the last couple of years.
So far, 2019 also brought us a bunch of awesome video clips that fascinate us, even though they couldn’t be any more different, just like the songs they were made for. Feel free to add your personal favorite music video of the year!
Rammstein's epic, expensive and highly symbolic comeback music video is filled with metaphorical imagery dealing with German history. It uses (often painful) scenes that bring to mind the Germanicus crusades, the fall of the Hindenburg, the death camps in the Third Reich, the rocket V2, the failed revolution on June 17th of 1953, the East German Socialist Unity Party, the Baader-Meinhof Gang, up to a technologically advanced society that finally ends up in space. Not only do its references build a chronology of events, it also uses associative, cryptic images tied to Germany: in one of the last scenes, a woman gives birth to a German Shepherd, in another we see Snow White from the German fairytale, in one a woman recreates the statue on the Brandenburg Gate. It's a 9 minute journey through all kinds of historical references that has the finger on the wound.
So it is about German history?
The video clip for "Ice" is both materialism and innuendo non-stop, but it's done with so many breathtaking visuals it completely works out without ever being too in-your-face. The icy white and blue aesthetics, the glamour and luxury, and that bit of fleshy pink thrown in, it all works out. A bathtub made of ice floating on dark water, dozens of ancient statues, blue cubes, etc. The images are composed wonderfully. Even when the not so family friendly parts come in, it is done creatively and strangely artsy, like her lap being covered in jewelry or a velvet covered box with a diamond ring shaped in a way that it resembles lower body regions. It looks oddly classy even in its most straightforward sexual parts.
Billie Eilish's most danceable song to date (which still oddly stands out of everything else on the radio) has got a music video that is one of the most bizarre ones in recent years. Colorful, especially with lots of yellow, the video uses fast paced and sometimes funny and cartoonish imagery that it WOULD be just as fun to watch like one of those weird Missy Elliott music videos of the 90s and 2000s IF it didn't have such unsettling undertones, like nosebleeds that get smeared all over the face, severed heads, throat cutting gestures, and unnatural twitching and apathetic expressions that turn the bright, comic-like scenes into something unsettling. The result is bizarrely entertaining, altering between humorous and uncanny, much like some of Björk's classic "Violently Happy" clip.
The music video for "Last Hurrah" has so much going on, so many quickly cut scenes, that it is nearly impossible to get it all the first couple of times you watch it. But the rush of images we see triggers our minds in the most provocative of ways: the two main themes appear to be sex and religion. Bisexual sex to be precise. Among the flood of pictures we get to say are people made of diamonds, a burning frame, surprisingly classy and luxurious strip clubs, angels, nuns, Rexha posing excitedly on her bed, and so much, so much more. Every half of a second something new pops up, and in the end it forms a daring, artful collage.
Another music video that heavily focuses on a white color scheme combining luxurious items with ice and snow is Shindy's "Dodi", released three months earlier. It also has its beautifully composed settings, including white palm trees, a basketball apparently made out of jewels and an overall glassy clean design that walls and floors reflect everything just like a mirror. But it also makes use of other rooms with different colors: one with neon tubes everywhere, and another in the halls of a big mansion in red and gold.
Cyberpunk vibes en mass.
The music video for the short song (1 minute and 38 seconds) by former Dat Adam vocalist is packed with so much edge, cyber/manga aesthetics and the titular coolness that it's impossible not to fully give in to your inner freak while watching it. The wild crowd moshing along with Taddl aka TJ_beastboy look like real life scifi anime characters, all set in a perfectly picked metallic-looking urban scenery. The atmosphere is thick as heck. Fact is, in less than 2 minutes Taddl and the people around him are cooler than anyone of us will ever be in our entire lives.
One of Austria's foremost pop stars of the decade, Conchita Wurst currently undergoes a complete change in direction that nobody can predict where it heads. Formerly elegant and (apart from the beard) feminine, Tom Neuwirth throws his character's premise overboard, musically and visually. "Trash All The Glam" is the first single of the forthcoming album and works as a teaser, an announcement. Sealed into a shiny black suit, Wurst's new style was not yet revealed, but it's still a mesmerizing experience watching them creeping and slithering across the floor of a Viennese underground train station. The slime is a nice addition. And while we did not see yet what the new Conchita Wurst will look like, it was a dramatic departure from the classy, fancy soul diva appearance they still had last year.
In this disturbing clip, Scarlxrd is kidnapped, tied to a chair and tortured by two masked men to get information out of him. It is a pure adrenaline rush as he is graphically beaten and has a gun held to his face, while he madly, crazily screams, blood and saliva dripping from his mouth. These are pictures of utter intensity, vile and gruesome in nature, but that fits the tone of Scarlxrd's music which is similarly brutal.
Ariana Grande's sugary eye candy that's stuffed to the brim with luxurious artefacts is simply wonderful to look at. The very warm tones of pink the entire video is held in, sometimes contrasted with the color of teal, as well as some rather surreal moments (Grande in the very small room, her long hair spilled all over the stairs,...) gives it a hypnotic, dreamy feeling that in a strange way is reminiscent of Dario Argento's movie "Inferno", but replacing everything frightening with something as sweet as cotton candy.
The music video of "Hit Me", the follow up single of "Trash All The Glam" revealed a new look of the Conchita Wurst persona with more defined male attributes. Grey hair and beard, and wearing more casual clothing than the fancy dresses Wurst was known for, while still executing a choreography associated with female dancers, and having lipstick on, the character appeared more non-binary than anything else in the pop landscape. Does the result look good? You can bet.
The newest video from Within Temptation is pretty hot in more ways than one, with the striking imagery of the band playing on a deserted planet with a burning star in the background. Song is also catchy.