When Taylor Swift started announcing the ridiculously star-studded line up for her blockbuster “Bad Blood” video, her fans and skeptics alike waited for what promised to be the best music video of the year. It had everything: Selena Gomez in a wig, Ellie Goulding holding a bazooka, and Kendrick Lamar in a see through car. While the cast was enough to ensure that the whole thing was mildly impressive, here is a list of music videos that were better (and probably cheaper) than Swift’s foray on to big screen entertainment.
10) Famous- Charlie XCX
I’m usually one to shy away from deep social commentary on how addicted we are to our phones, but in Charli XCX’s video it is a little easier to take. In this brightly coloured mirage, emojis replace blood, pop stars are only beautiful through the screen of your Iphone, and the charging socket is in the belly button of an overweight demon. It’s imaginative and strangely enjoyable.
9) Pedestrian at Best – Courtney Barnett
Sad clown Barnett, winner of Clown of 2013, competes with the flashier clowns on the playground circuit, but fails to make an impression. This misery works well with its soundtrack, as Barnett sings about disappointing anyone who puts her on a pedestal while customers hand back her awful balloon animals: “I’ve made a mess of what should be a small success”. Lots of bright colours and bearded hipsters. And aussies.
8) Wildest Dreams- Taylor Swift
100x less of a build up, yet 100 times better than Bad Blood, Swift’s Wildest Dreams video shows a classic romance tale of lovers who can’t be together, because he’s already engaged. Set in the glamour of the Hollywood golden age, a setting that didn’t come with controversy, the costumes are nonetheless pretty great, the song is one of the strongest on the album, and all proceeds went to conservation efforts by African Parks Foundation of America.
7) Elastic Heart- Sia
Sia’s artistic relationship with “Dance Moms” star Maddie Ziegler is well publicised, and by now we know to expect a complex contemporary dance in a flesh coloured leotard to accompany Sia’s singles. What I didn’t expect, however, was Shia Labeouf in teeny tiny skin coloured pants, fighting with Ziegler in a cage. The meaning of this showdown is open to interpretation, but on the surface it’s an impressive video.
6) Hotline Bling- Drake
The dance, the clothes, the phenomenon. Need I say more?
5) Sorry – Justin Bieber
Seeing attractive women dance in music videos is nothing new, until you take the attractive man watching them out of the equation. That’s exactly what Bieber did in his Sorry music video; the women are dressed in brightly coloured wavy garms, shaking their thing in a refreshingly autonomous routine.
4) I Really Like You- Carly Rae Jepsen
Just when we wrote Carly off as being a one hit wonder, she comes out with a song that is so pop-tastic even Tom Hanks wants to sing it. In her video for I Really Like You, Hanks cheerfully mimes away to the song, wandering the streets of New York and partaking in a dance party with Jepsen and none other than Bieber.
3) Borders – M.I.A
Never one to shy away from a controversy, M.I.A’s Borders came out two weeks after the French attacks (and of course the following wave of anti-immigration racism). In the video she stands on boats made of immigrants, naming things prevalent in today’s society and asking ‘What’s up with that?’ as she watches people desperately trying to climb fences in to the country.
2) Bitch Better Have My Money – Rihanna
Now this is what you call a music video. Complete with genius actor Mads Mikklesen this video has it all: kidnap, torture, ransom are all wrapped up in what is a visually gorgeous aesthetic, far more artistic than most ransom movies. It ends with a naked Rihanna smoking a joint on a chest of money, covered in blood. Take note, Swift.
1) The Less I know The Better – Tame Impala
This is less like a video and more like an artistic explosion of images just weird enough to match this track. The storyline follows a gymnast and basketball player-boyfriend who has to contend with a giant gorilla that his girlfriend seems to really like. It’s trippy and twisted, switching from 3d to line drawings while the girl grinds on the gorilla’s middle finger, or rides him like a mechanical bull in a paddling-pool-come-ball-pit. Blood turns into paint, paint turns into art, and everything turns into some sort of ape. Strange, yes. Ridiculous, definitely. Best Video of the year? I think so.