2016 In Review

The 50 Best Music Videos Of 2016

30. Jeff Rosenstock – “Blast Damage Days” (Dir. Clay Tatum)

Shitty friends and Mountain Dew are two things that can affect your life in similar ways, and now we finally have a video that makes that connection literal.

29. Grimes – “World Princess Part II” (Dir. Grimes)

Usually, with life-on-tour videos, pop stars manage to make their fantastical lives seem quotidian and workaday and boring, at least except for the parts where they’re onstage. With her AC!D Reign Chronicles videos, Grimes took her fantastical life and made it look even more fantastical. This is the best of those.

28. Dessert – “Back Around, Devil” (Dir. Alex Lill)

A gory and surreal but ultimately humane tribute to the life of Emmanuel Yarbrough, the 700-pound sumo wrestler and MMA fighter who was once the world’s largest athlete and who died shortly after shooting this video.

27. Kaytranada – “Lite Spots” (Dir. Martin C. Pariseau)

HBO should’ve canceled Westworld before a single episode even ran. We already had the definitive 2016 visual narrative of robot/human interaction.

26. PUP – “If This Tour Doesn’t Kill You, I Will” (Dir. Jeremy Schaulin-Rioux)

If you’re in a band and you’re getting ready to head out on your first tour, you might want to spend a little quality time with this video first.

25. AJJ – “Goodbye, Oh Goodbye” (Dir. Joe Stakun)

OK Go videos are ridiculous, beautiful human achievements, and they really deserve all the hundreds of millions of hits that they seem to get instantly, the very second they appear online. (See below.) But they are also stupid, and they deserve to be mocked. This is fantastic mockery.

24. YG – “Why You Always Hatin’?” (Feat. Drake & Kamaiyah) (Dir. Psycho Films)

Someone, somewhere, has probably looked cooler and more casual while hanging out of a helicopter than YG looks in the beginning of this videos. I’ve just never seen it.

23. Schoolboy Q – “Black Thoughts” (Dir. Jack Begert & Dave Free)

Around the same time he released Blank Face LP, Schoolboy Q strung together a powerful trilogy of videos, one that concerned friendship and poverty and crime and loss and imprisonment, and he ended it with a fever-dream fantasy of himself in a prison mansion, waiting with his daughter for her schoolbus. Part three was the best part.

22. ABRA – “Pull Up” (Dir. ABRA)

A wild night on the town, rendered in vivid, lush neon-lit extravagance that reminds me of Wong Kar-Wai movies. ABRA is great at making spaced-out goth-soul, but if she quit music and got into making movies, I would not complain.

21. Honeyblood – “Sea Hearts” (Dir. Thomas James)

This video came out just before Halloween, and it served as a valuable reminder that, while carnivorous man-eating sea-demons disguised as humans might be the most interesting people at the party, it’s probably still a good idea not to leave with them.