Welcome to the halfway mark in our Top 40 exploration of music videos. There were lots this year that made huge splashes, but we want to dig out some of the ones that fly under the radar. Hopefully you'll discover a new artist you like and a better appreciation for what lurks in the wilds of YouTube.
24. Grieves feat. Jaga, "I'll Be Better"
This is one of the stranger videos to make it in this year. Directed by Justin Frick, it seems to be the story of a man committed to a mental hospital following the death of a loved one.. or possibly his bird. It's a stark, lovely video that manages a weird beauty among the pathos.
23. Lupe Fiasco, "Hey Lupe"
This one is just pure feel good. A boy (Nasir 'KidBreak' Malave) daydreams of being the baddest breakdancer on his block. The result is four minutes of awesome dancing and life-affirming energy. If you don't feel better after watching it, please let us know which funeral home to send flowers to.
22. Aesop Rock and Tobacco are Malibu Ken, "Tuesday"
Every time Tobacco makes a video I get excited, but I also get scared because they are the least sane people with cameras on Planet Earth. "Tuesday" lives up to that reputation. It's about a mushroom that grows into a man, lives his life, then dies old and sick. It's a human existence in miniature, and here it's portrayed as a distorted, vile growth that doesn't say much for us as a species. Well done, y'all. It's another bloody nightmare.
21. Allie X, "Fresh Laundry"
Allie X is someone I got really into suddenly binging her music at five in the morning. She has a voice like cracked antique mirror and a creepy aesthetic that can't be beat. The best of her videos for 2019 is "Fresh Laundry," directed by Ssion. It has Allie X living out her demented thoughts with a groups of dummies while being haunted by the version of herself that actually leaves the house. In other words, she's the most anxious of us taken to hideous extreme. I mean that as a compliment.
20. Andrew Combs, "Dry Eyes"
This was a big year for videos shot in black and white for some reason. "Dry Eyes," directed by Austin Leih, is a somber ghost story where Andrew Combs wanders through the woods dealing with the specter of a woman. It's not an original idea, but it is so artistically executed that it is utterly captivating. The ending shot in particular is mesmerizing.
19. Killstation, "Excelsior"
"Excelsior" is the only video with over a million views that I allowed on the list. It just barely missed the threshold, but like "Dry Eyes" it is just such a perfect example of a classic spooky video that I couldn't let it pass. If more videos had this kind of quick pacing and deft creepy storytelling, YouTube would be a much more entertaining place.
18. Weyes Blood, "Everyday"
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the mission of the Houston Press. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Houston’s stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Rounding out this mini-horror trilogy is "Everyday." I'm not going to describe this one because half the fun is the twist after the halfway mark. Suffice to say that old school slasher fans will enjoy the hell out of it.
17. Prof feat. Cashinova, "Cousins"
One of the greatest WTF rap videos I've ever run across is "Cousins." It has cop drama, resurrection, a guy running for mayor on a weed platform, and a reenactment of the Last Supper except with miles of spaghetti and meatballs the size of ostrich eggs. If Tommy Wiseau had directed the Beastie Boys' "Sabotage," this is how it might have come out and it is just marvelous.
Stay tuned for Part 4.