If you would like to enjoy all 50 music videos in one long playlist like the MTV days of old, I've put together one here.
10. flipturn, “Sad Disco”
One of the great things about music videos is that they can serve as tiny genre revival vehicles without worrying about filling ninety minutes of screen time. Case in point, “Sad Disco” is a classic alien abduction and monster flick that does everything it needs to do in less than four minutes. Plus, the alien creature design is surprisingly impressive for so small a project. I’ve seen Doctor Who villains that looked worse.
9. Joesef, “Just Come Home With Me Tonight”
The perfect queer R&B music video has been shot and it’s “Just Come Home With Me Tonight.” It’s a sensual and steamy adventure through the Glasgow gay scene that combines pathos and romance in an unforgettable way. You’d have to have a heart of stone to not be moved by it.
8. Yves Tumor, “God is a Circle”
For years now, Yves Tumor has been specializing in transgressive experimental music that skewers religion, something he considers very toxic. “God is a Circle” is one of their best stabs at the subject, with Yves themselves playing a kind of exhumed body that is brutally forced into worship. The song itself is high energy and even poppy, so the juxtaposition is extra jarring.
7. MorMor, “Here It Goes Again”
I’ll let MorMor describe this one himself.
"Here it goes again’ is a song about the desire to recapture the honeymoon phase of a relationship that is otherwise falling apart. When working out the direction for the ‘Here It Goes Again’ video- Adrian [Villagomez, director] and I wanted some way of visualizing what it felt like to be captured in an endless cycle. The song encapsulates the concept of attempting to recapture the honeymoon phase, while in reality the relationship is falling apart; so we felt it best to represent that by creating an ever evolving loop.”6. Quasi, “Doomscrollers”
Quasi sums up the last several years exquisitely in this animated video. While touching on everything from anti-vaxxers to the bread making craze of the pandemic, the band pays tribute to everyone who has managed to not die throughout all the mess. Keep on truckin’, indeed.
5. Young Fathers, “I Saw”
There is a thin line between horny and terrifying, and the video for “I Saw” snorts that line. Directed by David Uzochukwu, the video moves from what looks like a ritual suicide to a spiritual gathering of rebirth. The band is backed by a capable cadre of dancers and extras who tell the story more through interpretative movements than any real narrative. It’s confusing, but beautiful.
4. Allison Ponthier, “Hollywood Forever Cemetery”
Weirdly, there were two great music videos this year about the Hollywood Forever Cemetery where so many classic stars are interred. One was the devilish murder ballad by Havana Winter, but Ponthier’s twisted look at the underworld of celebrities is the clear winner in this mini category. With Marilyn Monroe puppets and wolfman Elvises, it makes dying in Hollywood look tacky, but wild.
3. Grace Gaustad, “Like a Person”
A lot of use will be heading home for the holidays and putting on our normal faces for family. Grace Gaustad’s video for “Like a Person” perfectly captures the intense dysphoria that can come from trying to be the person our loved ones expect when it’s the person we least want to be. Also, shout out to one of my favorite TikTokers, Dylan Mulvaney, who has a major role in the story.
2. Kiki Rockwell, “Cup Runneth Over”
Director Oshara Ardelean showcases all of Kiki Rockwell’s mesmerizing talent in this epic video. Kiki is a medieval knight having an affair with the queen, but a jealous king sends assassins after her. Told half in literal sword and sorcery settings and half in interpretative modern dance, the story is both love tragedy and a condemnation of institutional homophobia. Every moment is a nail biter.
1. King Princess, “Let Us Die”
King Princess had one of the great cathartic songs and the best music video overall this year with “Let Us Die,” an ode to putting relationships out of their misery. The accompanying video, directed by Quinn Wilson, amps the idea up by putting King Princess in a very horny heart ward filled with drag queen surgeons and assless gowns. There’s blood and spectacle and it’s all so gruesomely wonderful. Nothing could sum up 2022 better.
Part 1: 50-41
Part 2: 40-31
Part 3: 30-21
Part 4: 20-11