Are These Really The Best Music Videos Of The Year, MTV?

It’s been 31 years to the day since MTV launched, and – by happy coincidence – the nominees for the MTV VMAs are up. But, oh dear, some of the categories leave a little to be desired. For example: in the running for Best Pop Video are:

fun. ‘We Are Young’
Justin Bieber ‘Boyfriend’
Maroon 5 feat. Wiz Khalifa ‘Payphone’
One Direction ‘What Makes You Beautiful’
Rihanna ‘We Found Love’.

Well, we thought. There are better options than those. Here are a few of our favourite music videos of 2012 so far.

10Kitty Pryde – ‘OK Cupid’ (Director: Bryan Mackay/ Shannen Ortale)

Like Carly Rae Jepsen’s codeine-sipping cousin, Kitty Pryde’s woozy love song also went viral this year. Similar to the song that it accompanies, ‘OK Cupid’ tries to wear its insouciance around its shoulders, alternately obsessed and whatevs, but the strap keeps slipping off.

9The Shoes – ‘Time to Dance’ (Director: Daniel Wolfe)

What better way to bring attention to your single than to set it in trendy East London and then, just in case, rope in a major Hollywood star in the form of Jake Gyllenhaal? Who then gets a bit American Psycho in a fencing suit? And sure, aren’t French disco duo The Shoes doing great now? Oh…

8Tanlines – ‘Brothers’ (Director: Weird Days)

The clever thing about this video isn’t the comedy routine from percussionist Jesse Cohen, it’s the fact that the whole clip is shot in 360 degrees. Click and drag your cursor to explore the apartment its set in. Or keep dragging to swirl around the room, encountering bongos, a piano, a guitar and what looks like a fish tank.

7Perfume Genius – ‘Hood’ (Director: Winston Case)

What’s striking about ‘Hood’ isn’t the fact that it features a gay porn star, or a scrawny young man being slowly made-up, it’s how tender the whole experience is. Gentle and strangely touching, ‘Hood’ sums up the whole Perfume Genius experience through film.

6Tune-Yards – ‘My Country’ (Director: Mimi Cave)

Balloons! Face-paint! Adorable lip-synching children! Merrill Garbus’ dance routines! There is nothing but joy in the video for ‘My Country’, despite the lyrics questioning America’s social policies, and Garbus’ anxieties about them (“When they have nothing, why do you have something?”).

5Chairlift – ‘Met Before’ (Director: Jordan Fish)

The innovative video from Chairlift is a YouTube Choose Your Own Adventure. Use your keyboard arrow keys to guide the duo around several scenarios – from beekeeping to dancing on tables, to choosing a crush for lead singer Caroline Polacheck. Click this link to try it out yourself.

4Lana del Rey – ‘National Anthem’ (Director: Anthony Mandler)

Jackie and JFK re-imagined with Lana and A$AP Rocky through an Instagram filter. Sumptuous, self-satistifed, and both leads oozing with enough charisma to open a new branch of Abercrombie and Fitch.
3Plan B – ‘Ill Manors’ (Director: Yann Demange)

What makes ‘Ill Manors’ so arresting is how real it feels. Interspersed with footage from the UK 2011 riots, Plan B leads by example, painting a picture of what’s often papered over.

2MIA – ‘Bad Girls’ (Director: Romain Gavras)

MIA’s second outing with director Romain Gavras (the first being the violent video to ‘Born Free’) finds her drag racing in the desert, and looking like the coolest chick in the Persian Gulf. Surprisingly understated for a video featuring car stunts, the highlight is when MIA sits on the outside of a car doing a wheelie, picking her nails with a penknife, her face saying ‘what of it?’

1Grimes – ‘Oblivion’ (Director: Emily Kai Bock)

Both familiar and strange, the video for ‘Oblivion’ further enhances the isolation in the track. Poor lil Grimes is at the football game, but she’s got her headphones on, and carrying that big stereo with her the whole time. The clip ends with Grimes fully dressed, surrounded by muscular shirtless sports players. The girl can look after herself, don’t worry.