To me, music videos are as essential to year-end lists as musical albums and films. In fact, I spend more of my year in the YouTube black hole than I do in the Netflix black hole. In this day and age of video streaming and internet memes, artist’s sounds cannot amount to much without images, and vice versa, images are only heightened with the right soundtrack. Without music and music videos, it is even doubtful that I would have ever taken an interest in film as an art. And while filmmaker/musician collaborations are nothing new, this year often called for multi-part music videos to open, entertain, and end stories. Call it smarter branding, call it modern art -- either way, here are the music videos I watched on repeat during 2015:
1. Rihanna - BBHMM
Just... legendary. So twisted, so visually indulgent, so Rihanna as we now know her. As if the Mads Mikkelsen cameo wasn't enough.
2. Florence + The Machine - The Odyssey
Florence's visual accompaniment to her release of How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful should be considered a work of dramatic art in its own right. Directed by Vincent Moon, this six-part video series featuring Florence in a series of interpretive dances is Oscar-worthy at the very least.
3. Troye Sivan - Blue Neighborhood
Troye Sivan's first attempt at storytelling through a three-part music video hits right in the heart with the same maturity and immediacy as his songs. Troye is quoted as saying, "There’s also those little baby crushes you have when you’re younger. I wanted to show that naïveté, that innocence, and that joy before someone tells you there’s something wrong with you."
4. The Wombats - Greek Tragedy
Dark and playful in true Wombats fashion, featuring Skins' April Pearson as its main subject. Was it just me or was that ending completely unexpected?! Now that's what I call entertainment.
5. Nicki Minaj feat. Beyonce - Feelin’ Myself
This video, above any others, should teach us what star power is. Let's just hope our favorites continue this trend of low-budget genius.
6. Sleater-Kinney - A New Wave
SK and the Belcher kids. Random at first, but ohhhh it feels so right.
7. Adele - Hello
Those POV shots, that phone booth in the forest, that flawless comeback. Directed by Xavier Dolan, a personal favorite.
8. Kendrick Lamar - Alright
Everything about this video is cool. Absurd, even, which somehow brings flashbacks of music videos from the '90s (in a good way).
9. Grimes - Flesh Without Blood/Live In The Vivid Dream
When I think of Grimes and her corresponding aesthetic, I wonder how she managed to fit all of it into one music video (or even two). Like most of Grimes' videos, I also wonder how fun it was to be a part of the making of it.
10. Sia - Alive
We've all gotten used to Sia's metaphorical, prodigy-centric videos by now, but this one, featuring mixed martial artist Mahiro Takano, was a pleasant surprise.