The music video is truly coming back, especially after all of the innovative releases this year.
Queen of the music video Missy Elliott made her return this year with the release of “Throw It Back,” which pays tribute to the old school while staying modern. From FKA twigs’ pole dancing video for “Cellophane” to The National’s interpretive dance clip for “Hey Rosey,” we’ve picked out some of the best music videos of the year.
Check out the best music videos of 2019 below.
The National – “Hey Rosey”
Following the release of I Am Easy to Find, The National released a powerful video for “Hey Rosey.” The track sees frontman Matt Berninger dueting with one of David Bowie’s long-time collaborators, Gail Ann Dorsey. The accompanying clip fits the track perfectly, as it follows dancer and choreographer Sharon Eyal as she performs a beautiful, uniquely sporadic dance backstage during one of The National’s concerts.
Missy Elliott – “Throw It Back”
Music video queen Missy Elliott made her return this year with a new five-track EP called Iconology, and of course her video for “Throw It Back” made it to the top of this list. The epic clip pays tribute to old school R&B while staying fresh, as Elliott fronts an unbelievable dance crews, jumps Double Dutch, and even goes to space. The colourful video even features an appearance from Teyana Taylor, who teaches a young child off Missy Misdemeanor.
FKA twigs – “Cellophane”
FKA twigs’ video for “Cellophane” was revolutionary. The video for “Cellophane” is a gold-tinged clip that sees the artist pole dancing in the middle of an extravagant room, making for a powerfully intimate performance that fits the heartwrenching track perfectly. “Throughout my life I’ve practiced my way to being the best I could be, it didn’t work this time,” FKA twigs explained in a statement. “I had to tear down every process I’d ever relied on. go deeper. rebuild. start again.”
Billie Eilish – “bury a friend”
Queen of horror pop Billie Eilish dropped an epic video this year with “bury a friend.” The mildly disturbing clip fits the new single perfectly, inspired by the singer’s horror movie obsession. This fully rounded story follows Eilish as she makes her way through a haunted hospital \, equipped with flickering lights, rotating rooms, and Eilish’s blacked out eyes.
Normani – “Motivation”
Normani’s “Motivation” was a revolutionary pop culture phenomenon, and truly exploded upon its release. When discussing the video and her desire to be her true self to Cosmopolitan, Normani explains that the clip is intended to showcase black culture. “I told the director, ‘I want this to be as black as possible,'” Normani explains. “I was like, let’s show black culture. Why does pop music have to be so white? Why don’t we make it a little bit more me?”
Mitski – “A Pearl”
Before announcing that she would be taking a break from music, Mitski released an animated music video for her Be The Cowboy track, “A Pearl,” which was created in collaboration with Spotify and Art Camp. The pastel-coloured clip features 1,480 unique illustrated and painted frames, as we follow a Mitski-like character running through a series of spinning Inception style rooms. The paintings are each distinctly complex and intimate, with a constantly changing colour palette that flows together perfectly alongside a captivatingly abstract storyline.
Solange – “Almeda”
This year, Solange released her highly anticipated album When I Get Home, and Solange’s video for “Almeda” was a standout portion of the release. The clip combines several different elements from fashion shoots, art films, and modern dance to make a perfectly peculiar combination of clips. Solange’s powerful performance in this elaborate, powerful video is sure to stick with you.
Björk – “Tabula Rasa”
After launching her new stage show Cornucopia in New York City, Björk dropped a trippy new animated video for her Utopia track “Tabula Rasa.” The peculiar clip comes packed with wild, extravagant visuals that see creepy crustaceans and unimaginable aliens coming to life to sing along to the orchestral track. “When creating the video, I was deeply inspired by the music and lyrics of ‘Tabula Rasa,’” director Tobias Gremmler explains in a statement. “The visual transformation of Björk into faun-like flowers and mountainous landscapes embodies the utopian concept of a harmonious coexistence between nature and human based on empathy.”
Lido Pimienta – “No Pude”
Colmbia-born, Toronto-based musician Lido Pimienta made her return this year with a video for her new track called “No Pude.” The silky track is driven by a booming beat as Pimienta’s smooth, almost eerie vocals take the lead. The accompanying Fitto Segura-directed video, which features art direction from Orly Anan, is powerful in its visuals, with Pimienta sitting in a bed of roses interspersed with clips of her dressed in black in front of a black rose in a case that rivals that of Beauty and the Beast.
HAIM – “Now I’m In It”
This year, HAIM released an emotional video for “Now I’m In It,” which is about battling with depression. “‘Now I’m In It’ is about going through it,” the band wrote on Instagram. “A depression. Not leaving the house type of shit. For my sisters and I, there have been times in our lives where we have felt like we are stuck in a dark hole. This track speaks to that emotion.” The accompanying Paul Thomas Anderson-directed video sees Danielle Haim struggling to make her way through the monotony of her day, standing in the middle of a car wash, pouring coffee on a counter, and even getting wheeled out on a stretcher by her sisters.
James Blake – “Can’t Believe the Way We Flow”
English singer-songwriter James Blake dropped a pretty creative music video for “Can’t Believe the Way We Flow” from his latest album Assume Form. Directed by Frank Lebon, the video is filled with trippy visuals and features a rapid progression of images of faces and interaction between couples.
Marina – “To Be Human”
After surprise releasing LOVE, the first half of her double record LOVE + FEAR, Marina revealed a politically-charged video for her single “To Be Human.” The new clip is an inspiring compilation of footage of Black Lives Matter protests, LGBTQ+ marches, historical war clips, and significant cultural events, all interspersed with Marina singing along to the track. The emotive video fits “To Be Human” perfectly, as Marina sings spurring lyrics like, “The missiles and the bombs sound like symphonies gone wrong/ And if there is a God, they’ll know why it’s so hard.”
Kacey Musgraves – “Oh, What A World”
Kacey Musgraves dropped a colourful, trippy new video for her Golden Hour single “Oh, What a World” this year. The track, which looks at the beauty of the natural world, has been delivered with a wonderfully psychedelic video that features Musgraves transforming into a CGI centaur, a collection of stars, covered in butterflies, and more. The unique clip revolves around pink and blue water lilies, a sparkly earth, jagged gems, and more!
King Princess – “Cheap Queen”
While gearing up for the release of her debut album, King Princess released a fun, quirky video for her hit single “Cheap Queen.” Directed by Symone Ridgell, the video begins with the up-and-coming star singing to a cartoon sandwich before eating it and then cuts to her sitting on a giant couch watching television. King Princess watches 90’s style videos on the cartoonish TV while matching her actions in the video with her lyrics; this can be seen during “I’ve been alright/ I’ve just been doing the same shit I’ve always liked/ Like smoking and movies and homies who bring me wine”.
Ariana Grande – “7 Rings”
Ariana Grande made headlines all year long with the release of her album Thank U, Next. Grande’s video for “7 Rings” saw the pop sensation going full on glitz and glams, from dozens of diamonds to seven-inch heels. The pink and blue-tinged clip sees Grande dancing with her friends as she indulges in all of her expensive, yet “favourite things.”
Pup – “Free At Last”
In the months leading up to the release of Morbid Stuff, Toronto punk heroes PUP released a very creative video for “Free At Last.” The band shared the lyrics and chords to the track, with a challenge for fans to submit their own cover of the track. They wound up with 253 submissions and a damn good $25 music video, shot entirely on an iPhone in one night. “No two of the covers sounded the same either,” frontman Stefan Babcock explained in a press release. “The amount of creativity and love put into these things absolutely blew us away.”
Lizzo – “Tempo (feat. Missy Elliott)”
Lizzo had quite the year, and a big standout was the release of an epic music video for her Missy Elliott collaboration, “Tempo.” The clip sees Lizzo dancing in an “Old Town Road”-esque outfit that would definitely make Lil Nas X proud, with a red cowboy hat and blue bikini beneath a blue fur vest. The video follows Lizzo twerking in front of old-school cars with hydraulics until Missy Elliott pops out of the hood of a car, dropping a killer verse on the upbeat track.
The 1975 – “Frail State of Mind”
Although they released a bunch of videos this year, The 1975’s lo-fi clip for “Frail State of Mind” was definitely a standout. The video sees frontman Matty Healy in a room packed with art hanging on the walls as a camcorder records and projects images behind him. The trippy visual fits the glitchy track perfectly, as clips of Healy’s shadow dancing in front of a projection comes interspersed with moving graphics and scenes of him creating.
Said The Whale – “Record Shop”
Said The Whale dropped quite the innovative music video with the clip for “Record Shop.” The video is directed by Prism Prize Audience Award-winning director, Johnny Jansen. As said in the video, “Record Shop” was created with “129 spinning records and no visual effects.” Jansen had the idea, and used a system to print stickers of the band, syncing it up perfectly to the music to make it look like the band is singing and dancing! Its basically a stop-motion music video using vinyl.
Bombay Bicycle Club – “Everything Else Has Gone Wrong”
This year, Bombay Bicycle Club dropped a powerful video for “Everything Else Has Gone Wrong,” which sees frontman Jack Steadman singing along to the tune, getting kicked and stepped on while he is literally down on the ground. “It seemed to encapsulate everything the album is about,” frontman Jack Steadman explains in a statement. “For my whole life, I haven’t been very good at expressing myself with words. The irony is that the song is about not wanting to write lyrics, but it has lyrics I’m really proud of. And after that, we realized a lot of the other songs had that theme, of music as a cathartic refuge.”
Overcoats – “The Fool”
Overcoats released a powerful Ted Lovett-directed video for “The Fool” this year. The upbeat, dynamic track comes packed with an empowering instrumental line as Overcoats’ vocals truly shine, shouting lines like “My road, my home/ Everything I know.” The accompanying vintage-style clip sees the duo cycling through a variety of hairstyles as they cut each other’s locks, and eventually shave their heads entirely, mirroring each other as they sing along to the upbeat track.
Weaves – “Internet Tears”
Toronto’s Weaves released an awesome video for their new single “Internet Tears.” The energetic new tune comes packed with funky instrumental lines as frontwoman Jasmyn Burke wails lines like, “Sometimes the internet/ Makes me cry at night/ Sometimes I cry at night/ looking at the Internet.” The accompanying clip is packed with hilarious meme-worthy content, and is self-aware in its subject matter as the band perform in front of delightfully cheesy gifs.