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Top 5 Music Videos of 2012

Before moving on to other categories of this year-long countdown, let’s close this music thing with the 5 music videos that impressed me the most throughout 2012.

Honorable Mention: Anthony and the Johnsons – Cut the World

5. Justice – New Lands
This article will have a lot of familiar faces if you’ve read last year’s Top 5, since 3 of the artists who, in my mind, had the best videos back then are once again in this list, starting with Justice. After their gorgeous video for lead single Civilization, the French duo teamed up with collective Canada and production house Partizan to create a thrilling sci-fi sports game, being a baseball-hockey-football-and-more hybrid, to be the setting for the video for New Lands. Not only are the images reminiscent of 1980s science-fiction films and Japanese anime, but the overall feel of it all is very clever and creative. Another hit for the controversial electro band.

4. Jay-Z and Kanye West – No Church In The Wild
Speaking of controversy, spot number 4 is held by none other than Romain Gavras’ riot film for No Church In The Wild. Filmed in Prague, this piece for the Jay-Z/Kanye West song portrays massive fights between citizens and police officers. While the subject is highly destructive, it features superlative imagery mixing slow-motion and realtime confrontation sequences that come together to create five action-packed minutes. What makes it more even special is that it was released during the student strikes here in Quebec; strikes that got pretty nasty. Hard to come up with a better timing.

3. Lana Del Rey – National Anthem
It’s ballsy enough to play the role of both Marilyn Monroe and Jackie Kennedy in the same music video, but it’s ballsy to another level to integrate A$AP Rocky to play a black John F. Kennedy in the middle of it all. Nonetheless, Lana Del Rey, with the help of director Anthony Mandler, managed to produce yet another delightful video for National Anthem. The art direction is splendid and the vintage look is pinpoint accurate. Hell, they succeeded in making a 4:3-ratio video look appealing; that is no small task in an always-wider era of film-making.

2. Odd Future – Rella
Who can allow themselves to release a video featuring a centaur sniffing a mountain of cocaine, a penis-less naked dude, and a spacesuit-wearing man ejaculating lasers on innocent by-standers in an upper-middle-class neighbourhood? Well, Odd Future certainly can. Directed by Tyler the Creator himself, the hip-hop collective (part of it anyway) ended up creating a video so absurd that it turned out to be the most bizarrely-hilarious one of the year.

1. JMSN – Jameson
Taking the crown this year is the absolutely ravishing short film that Christian Berishaj, better known as JMSN, self-directed for his album-opening Jameson (Update 12/12/22: The nice gentlemen at Green Glow Films wrote me to say it was actually directed by Stephen Mallett). According to his explanation on his own website, the video is a metaphor for the death of innocence through lust and temptation, represented by a little boy and a beautiful lady. This black and white piece is tense, jaw-dropping, and just plain memorable, especially coming from such a young and multi-talented artist.

Disappointment of the year: Jay-Z and Kanye West – Niggas in Paris
Even though they hold a spot in the best music videos above, that doesn’t mean The Throne duo can do no wrong. Having their hands on probably the biggest hit of 2011, epically entitled Niggas in Paris, Jay and Kanye decided to go for a seizure-giving, incomprehensible video that doesn’t have a single ounce of replay value. A stale result for a recipe that seemed to have all the right ingredients.

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