The 50 Best Music Videos of 2023 You Probably Missed Part 1: 50 - 41

The music video countdown begins!
The music video countdown begins! Screenshot from the Number 42 video on this list
Every year I search high and low for the best underground and indie music videos releases. Tune in every day for the next five days to see the absolute best music videos you probably missed.
50. sKitz Kraven, “Creep Little Baby”

Over the years doing this yearly roundup, I’ve included dozens of violent, sadistic music videos. “Creepy Little Baby” might be the worst of them all. It almost didn’t make it on here because of the use of so many gendered slurs, but that got me thinking whether it was hypocritical to revel in blood and recoil at bigotry. So, I’d like to spread my confusion like an infection to you, the readers. Let me know what this awful, but impressive, video made you feel.
49. Pamela Flores, “Sorry”

It will never cease to be a source of amazement to me how easy it is to make an animated music video these days. Flores comes in with an adorable ode to breakups and self care using a simple Tunnel of Love framing device. It’s not terribly innovative, but it’s undeniably sweet.
48. Dead Poet Society, “I Hope You Hate Me”

Simple and effective, “I Hope You Hate Me” pairs the powerful pop stylings of Dead Poet Society with the dance wizardry of This Robot Cannot Human. It’s low on plot but high on vibe, which is appropriate when you’re using the talents of a social media star.
47. Emil Bulls, “The Devil Made Me Do It”

Emil Bulls has some bones to pick with organized religion, and they do so with a lot of fire in “The Devil Made Me Do It.” It’s the story of a church that slowly rots from within and eventually burns down. Director Mirko Witzki is more than up to the tasks of putting out this short, but excellent rebuttal to ecclesiastical buck-passing.
46. Blackbriar, “Cicada”

I’m chalking my love for this video up to missing the Renaissance Festival the last several years. Singer Zora Cook cavorts in a field with some truly impressive fairy wing effects while a hooded figure embraces and directs her on some unknown journey. The song is lovely, and it manages to capture a magical feeling well.
45. WHOKILLEDXIX feat. Savage Ga$p, “L1FESP4N”

Brief, bloody, and brutal, “LIFESP4N” is an animated nightmare that perfectly matches the song. It’s got zombies, gunfire, and the whole experience looks like an old celluloid film on the verge of burning. You’ll need a lie down after this one.
44. Palaye Royale, “Closer”

It takes some real guts to not only cover one of the greatest songs by one of the greatest goth acts of all time, but to also put out a video that is clearly a cover itself of one of the legendary Mark Romanek’s most celebrated works from the golden age of MTV. And yet, Palaye Royale and director Yulia Shur do a damn good job. There’s nothing really new in their interpretation of this Nine Inch Nails classic, but it does retain all the grim genius of the original. Think of it as really, really good cosplay of a very specific point in 1990s music video history.
43. Tim Qualls, “History”

One of the best local Houston acts put out a killer music video this year. The song is an ode to the messy aspects of learning each other’s history in a new relationship, and the video expresses this with an intricate and lovely dance number between a couple. The fact that it’s set in an empty house with only a single box (as if they’ve just moved in) is an exquisite touch.
42. Xina, “Pheromones”

“Pheromones” is a lush, ethereal visual and aural landscape for Xina to writhe and pole dance to. The intricate movements and tense, minimalist music combine to make the experience something truly otherworldly. There’s just something very blessed about it.
41. Allie X, “Black Eye”

Another haunting video from the always intense Allie X (who also directs this time around). Allie dances around a decrepit house accompanied by masked figures, voguing hard for the camera and keeping the energy up. Bryan Hindle’s choreography gets the job done, hitting that sweet spot between beauty and freakshow that Allie tends to reside in.
KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jef Rouner (not cis, he/him) is a contributing writer who covers politics, pop culture, social justice, video games, and online behavior. He is often a professional annoyance to the ignorant and hurtful.
Contact: Jef Rouner