Beyonce - "Countdown" Video

Well, this turned out to be pretty easy. The single best video of the year dropped into our collective lap last night, and we’re still reeling from it. There are four other music videos in this post, but nobody will blame you if you just opt to watch “Countdown” a bunch of times in a row. I seriously considered including the video five times and calling it a day.

1. Beyoncé – “Countdown” (Dir. Adria Petty)

On Twitter last night, my friend Zach Baron had this to say: “I’m not sure if Tom Petty ever did anything as good as the “Countdown” video his daughter just directed.” This is obviously ridiculous; Tom Petty is the man. And yet, maybe he’s right? For months now, all my music-critic friends have been clamoring for Beyoncé to release “Countdown,” one of her best and brightest songs ever, as a single, and we kept worrying it wouldn’t happen as Bey kept all the attention on her relatively bland ballads. And now here comes this insane thing, a riot of color and dancing and the best face-acting you’ll see outside of, like, There Will Be Blood. Beyoncé didn’t really need to do this, but she fucked around and made a hybrid Busby Berkeley/Jaques Tati movie with butts in it. And if you’ve ever lived with a pregnant woman, or been a pregnant woman, you’ll understand that the moves Bey pulls off in this video are impossible superhuman shit. The whole thing is amazing and beautiful and fun and, in a sidways way, emotionally fulfilling. It’s a tribute to the human spirit, and it’ll be some kind of rare feat of professionalism if I manage to keep myself from just watching it over and over all day.

In other words: Hey, Feist’s “1234″ video? We appreciate all you’ve done for us, but your services are no longer required here. You can see yourself out.

Also: This.

2. Trash Talk – “Burn Alive” (Dir. High 5 Collective)

Up until last night, I thought sure Trash Talk would top this list again, just like they did a few weeks ago. And even if it’s no “Countdown,” Trash Talk’s punks-vs.-riot cops video is frantic, gripping, intense filmmaking, and watching it makes me feel like being dragged across gravel. The tattered Raymond Pettibon video in the clip makes me wonder what upsetting stuff a band like Black Flag would’ve made if they’d had the internet-era resources that Trash Talk enjoys, and I’m not sure they could’ve topped this. Great song, too.

3. Fucked Up – “Do You Feed” (Dir. Lance Ludwig)

At the exact opposite end of the punk-video spectrum, we’ve got this fun, adorable no-stakes video in which two members of Fucked Up go on a date to eat some curry and do an admirable job convincing the camera that they actually really like each other. That one little-kid reaction shot is great, and if the band’s name wasn’t a problem, I’d strongly recommend that some TV studio put together a Monkees-style sitcom starring Fucked Up.

4. Ty Segall – “Goodbye Bread” (Dir. Matt Yoka) (NSFW-ish)

If you’ve ever seen his live shows or listened to his older records, you know that Ty Segall can do frantic just fine. So it’s fun to watch him go the opposite direction, singing this prettily Neil Young-ish shaggy midtempo jam while looking bored and placid, staring off into the middle distance while insanity rages around him.

5. Drake – “Headlines” (Dir. Lamar Taylor & Hyghly Alleyne)

Drake’s ’70s Vegas mobster look suits him well, but the best thing about the “Headlines” video is that it tries to ape rap-video cliches without quite pulling them off. So we see him posing in front of graffiti or holding court at a conference table or standing in front of a sea of goons, but the snare-driven quick-cutting and Toronto architecture and Drake’s own general goofiness throw it all off in some pretty interesting ways. Awkwardness aside, the videos editing is pretty remarkable, and that one shot of the Rogers Centre roof opening is just epic.

Comments (17)
  1. Trash Talk bring the motherloving ruckus.

  2. the more drakes hair grows…the cornier he looks

  3. Is Fucked Up’s “Do You Feed” video the hipster version of a Jamie Oliver cooking show?

  4. I had respect for Fucked Up until I saw that terribly unfunny video. People from outside of the US do things differently than Americans, a very witty observation there guys.

  5. I loved the Countdown video! Very “Different!” Headlines was really weird to me! First he was at this dinner table, then on this elevator, then in black with these creepy random people. *sigh* But I love the song!

  6. if i wanted to hear about beyonce, i would have turned on any mainstream pop radio station. seriously stereogum, you use to be cool

  7. Hey Corban, about Drake’s Take Care — It looks like it just got pushed back to a November 15th release date and his tour won’t happen until the New Year.

  8. Why are you yet to add this amazing video! I mean seriously. What the fuck!

  9. I hate to say it, but I felt the same kinda let down that Casey did. If all your music-critic friends were “clamoring” to jump off a cliff, would you force us to watch that at the number one spot too?

    • Who exactly forced you to watch the Beyoncé video? Are you unable to see a video and not click play? That must be very time consuming for you.

  10. This post could have been simply The Best Video of The Week: Countdown, and been completely adequate.

  11. gotta jump on the why beyonce bandwagon

  12. That’s a fun video…but better than Feist’s 1234? Na, playboys.

  13. When indie bands and solo artists start making serious ass-shaking pop/dance music, then we will no longer need Beyonce. As much as I love the more pop-dance acts in the indie scene (Lykke Li is the first that springs to my mind), none of them come close to making bombastic, all-inclusive dance music. That’s why we pay attention to our Beyonces, Rihannas, and The-Dreams, because they’re filling out a musical niche that indie artists are either unwilling or have yet to try to fill.

    Wonder when indie artists are going to get off the disco fixation and do more interesting riffs on R&B than just adding tons of reverb like How to Dress Well. (BTW, I’m actually fine with How to Dress Well, but I’m not going to start a party with any of their tracks)

  14. The new TOP5 lists are sooo weird and random and generally bad quality. What happened? Bring bag the old writer or something.

  15. Beyonce’s video was pretty good but it’s not like it was the best video of all time or anything.

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