Staff Picks: 2014 Videos

Laura’s pick: Lorde – Yellow Flicker Beat

My favorite video of 2014 has to be Lorde’s “Yellow Flicker Beat.” I’ve been a fan of Lorde’s for a while (bar her dancing, but I’m getting used to that), and when I heard she was curating The Hunger Games soundtrack, I knew it would be good. She definitely didn’t fail with me there. The video, directed by Emily Kai Bock was so beautifully shot, making it my favorite of 2014. A close second is definitely OK Go’s “I Won’t Let You Down.”

Courtney’s pick: OK Go – I Won’t Let You Down

As a band perhaps known better for their viral videos than for the music itself, OK Go did not disappoint with yet another video that has procured millions of views with their video for “I Won’t Let You Down.”

The band spent a month in Japan working with the project’s creative director, Morihiro Harano, and choreographer, Airman. The video was shot in one take, requiring upwards of 50 attempts to get it right. This video was created in collaboration with Honda; everyone in the video rides on Honda UNI-CUB vehicles, described as a “personal mobility devices.” More information about the behind the scenes and inspiration can be found in this making-of video.

Viewers are invited to create their own version of the video through an interactive website, where users can use a simulator to draw their own paths for the UNI-CUB riders.

Brittney’s pick: Walk The Moon – Shut Up & Dance

The video that is by far my favorite of 2014 is for Walk the Moon’s song “Shut Up and Dance.” The track is the first single off their newest sophomore album Talking is Hard, which came out in the beginning of December. “Shut Up and Dance” is an epic 80s inspired rock song with soaring guitars and retro synths. It invokes immediate feel-good vibes and hardcore dance moves. It’s actually become somewhat of an anthem among my friends and I.

What I love about the video is how fun and silly it is. Also, who can deny the obvious homage to the 80s? Walk the Moon show that they are not ones to take themselves too seriously, something that I think is lacking among other bands today.

Nabila’s pick: alt-J – Hunger Of The Pine

It’s sick.

No but in all seriousness, alt-J are known for their impressive visuals and they definitely didn’t go wrong with the video to their lead single off their sophomore album, This Is All Yours. It’s shot so beautifully.

Christine’s pick: Rag ‘n’ Bone Man – Hell Yeah (ft. Vince Staples)

Rag ‘n’ Bone Man’s latest music video for “Hell Yeah” is a gut-wrenching and gritty masterpiece that encapsulates the trauma and turmoil that comes from domestic violence. The story focuses on two siblings awaiting their father’s release from prison so that they can murder him. Knowing this early on, the viewer is placed with the protagonists and thrown along for the ride. The video’s use of simple yet effective art direction and first-rate acting provide a depth that very few other music videos touch upon. Directed by Truman & Cooper, “Hell Yeah” is an intense and visceral five-minute experience that leaves the viewer with bated breath and a heavy heart.

Willa’s pick: BANKS – Brain

BANKS is hands down one of my favorite musicians. This video for her single “Brain” represents the reason for my deep appreciation for BANKS – I don’t understand it. It’s so utterly open to interpretation that trying to find a deeper meaning in it can be difficult, ultimately because everyone will see it differently. Her music can connect to people in so many different ways, and this music video does that same thing. Even though the video is essentially her in different outfits with some great editing, it gives me chills. The video reminds me a lot of Lorde’s video for “Tennis Court.” It speaks to you, but lets you determine its meaning, just as BANKS’s music does. And any musician who can successfully achieve that in both an album and a music video is one to be treasured. 

Paige’s pick: George Ezra – Blame It on Me

George Ezra’s “Blame It on Me” video is my favorite of 2014 because it epitomizes what we all go through. Bad days. Sometimes, it feels like everything bad that can go wrong in one day, does. Almost like (not to be super-cliché, but…) when life throws lemon after lemon at you while you’re still trying to squeeze the life out of the first lemon to make that perfect glass of lemonade. The video also made subtle hints at the Wizard of Oz if you watch closely enough in the beginning. Ultimately, the video is about taking the bad with the good and getting on with whatever’s thrown your way.