We just launched a poll that enables you to watch around a hundred of the best music videos released this year, and vote for your favourites. We’ll be posting our own Top 10 vids in the mag and online next Wednesday (December 1), which is the big end-of-year list apocalypse issue.
Key trends? 2010 was the year music video embraced the digital age, exploiting [nerd siren] crowd-sourcing to make viewers part of the process. Chris Milk’s interactive film for Arcade Fire’s ‘We Used To Wait’ was truly ground-breaking, using Google Maps to deliver a video that could be personalised by every viewer, making it relevant to his/her childhood: a brilliant extension of the song’s theme.
Milk was also responsible for the Johnny Cash Project, an ambitious collaborative experiment that required people to submit drawings of Cash, which were then animated to form a promo for the singer’s final studio recording ‘Ain’t No Grave’. So far 250,000 people have taken part.
There’s no ‘end result’ – it’s an ongoing thing – but as it stands the Johnny Cash Project is a breathtaking example of how technology can enable great art. It might even be better than that Girls video where the guy sings into a willy.
Speaking of which, 2010 wasn’t all high-minded experimentation. It was also the year PRs and video directors realised being ‘NSFW’ was an easy, sure-fire way of generating online buzz. Wayne Coyne whipped out “lil’ Wayne” in ‘Watching The Planets’.
Devendra Banhart got whipped by a male dominatrix (dominator?) in ‘Foolin’.
And then there was that The National video in which Matt Berninger dunked his bonce in Astroglide and terrorised his bandmates with a double-ended Mega Dong, though I may have dreamt that one.
Sometimes the urge to shock resulted in powerful, distinctive imagery, as with the anti-red-head pogrom featured in M.I.A.’s ‘‘Born Free’, or the body-morph orgy in Klaxons ‘Twin Flames’, a video that took a familiar visual theme – The Human Centipede – and moulded it into something simultaneously quite hot and mind-searingly disturbing.
At other times, the naughty video meme just led to desperate, attention-seeking fare like this:
But overall it’s been a good year for music video. And if next year we get a bit more boundary-pushing experimentation, and a bit less NSFW snickering over Wayne Coyne’s nutsack, so much the better.