2016 In Review

The 50 Best Music Videos Of 2016

10. Slayer – “You Against You” (NSFW) (Dir. BJ McDonnell)

The second installment of BJ McDonnell’s hyperviolent Slayer-video trilogy is pretty much one extended, extreme action scene, in which our one-eyed hero shoots and stabs his way through dozens of anonymous attackers, no context given or needed. There are so many dick stabbings. It’s so awesome.

9. Moses Sumney – “Worth It” (Dir. Allie Avital)

What could’ve been a piece of effective Chris Cunningham-style post-human body-horror turns affecting and loving and even romantic the way Sumney and Avital do it. A deeply strange and deeply moving little vision.

8. Mai Lan – “Technique” (Dir. PANAMÆRA)

A frantic meditation on internet life that, perversely enough, is way more entertaining than almost anything you’ll find on the internet. The part where she eats the arm is the best part.

7. Vince Staples – Prima Donna (Dir. Nabil)

Longform artistic indulgence done right, by one of the best music-video directors of all time and one rapper who’s shaping up as maybe his generation’s single greatest music-video artist.

6. Rihanna – “Needed Me” (NSFW) (Dir. Harmony Korine)

A luridly beautiful slo-mo riot of sunsets and motorcycles and skull masks and boobs and blood and money and slowly drifting smoke, from the guy who wrote the playbook on lurid beauty.

5. PUP – “Sleep In The Heat” (Dir. Jeremy Schaulin-Rioux)

A tale of child-punk/animal love and companionship that breaks my heart every time I watch it, and I watch it way too often. Finn Wolfhard is good in Stranger Things, but he’s great in this.

4. David Bowie – “Lazarus” (Dir. Johan Renck)

When this video came out, it was a freaky vision from one of our foremost longtime purveyors of freaky visions. Then, a few days later, David Bowie, that purveyor, died. And so this video became something else: a vision of death from a man who knew he was dying. I still don’t know what it meant, but I’m glad it meant enough for Bowie to make it.

3. DJ Shadow – “Nobody Speak” (Feat. Run The Jewels) (Dir. Sam Pilling)

In August, when it came out, this was a fun video. Now, it’s a chilling vision of America’s diplomatic future.

2. Jamie xx – “Gosh” (Dir. Romain Gavras)

Sergei Eistenstein by way of MTV’s Amp. Just brain-shattering.

1. Beyoncé – “Formation” (Dir. Melina Matsoukas)

An absurdly powerful piece of filmmaking, one that puts all of Beyoncé’s transcendent shit-talk into a context of centuries of subjugation and oppression and resilience and cultural genius. Somehow, it continues to grow more vital every single day.