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The 10 Best Music Videos of 2013

December 9, 2013  |  9:58am
The 10 Best Music Videos of 2013
5. Beach House – “Wishes”
Directed by: Eric Wareheim
Director Eric Wareheim, known as half of comedy duo Tim & Eric, certainly serves up some off imagery in the video, which appears to be some kind of exhibition for gymnasts and cheerleaders. The announcer is played by Ray Wise, who mouths the words with precision and and a totally deadpan facial expression, and the result is weirdly moving.

4. Jim James – “A New Life”
Directed by: Mimi Cave
The video for “A New Life” begins the way you might imagine the songwriting process did, with James and a single acoustic guitar. But as the beat and the additional instrumentals begin to kick in, the video continues to present fitting visuals not only for the sounds, but the lyrics: “Hey, open the door,” sings James as he quite literally opens a door into a desert scene, where he’s joined by fantastic characters and a gaggle of backup dancers that seem to embody exactly the type of theatric choreography I kind of want to jump up and perform every time I hear the song, too. Mostly, this video is strong because it maintains the kind of aesthetic you expect from the spiritual and soulful James while keeping the imagery fresh and entertaining.

3. Drake – “Started from the Bottom”
Directed by: Director X and Drake
This latest story-telling video from Drake is further proof that the Canadian artist is rap music videos’ Taylor Swift: Drake’s always playing a character, and this role as a convenience store clerk may be his most entertaining yet. The cast of googly-eyed coworkers taking turns making a pass at a customer is light-hearted and laughable, and for a song with a topic that could have easily taken to the rap-video-cliche of big cars and self-praise, the music video is fun and relatable.

2. Arcade Fire – “Afterlife”
Directed by: Emily Kai Bock
Well, Emily Kai Bock and the Creator’s Project have gifted the Internet with another dreamy, thought-provoking music video, this time playing on family dynamics, fantasy and (you guessed it) the afterlife for Arcade Fire’s Reflektor single. The storyline begins at the dinner table and as it continues to follow the children’s sleepless activity and the husband’s dreams, it seems that the family’s mother has passed away and that all of the family members, through figurative and literal wandering, are dealing with grief. Powerful imagery spanning poolside baptisms and flashing police lights along with a nightmarish scene in which the small child is trapped in a washing machine tug at the corners of your consciousness, providing just the type of dreamy state of consciousness the song and much of Arcade Fire’s catalog might inspire in a listener.

1. Bob Dylan – “Like a Rolling Stone” Interactive Video.
Created by Interlude
For this new visual to “Like A Rolling Stone,” Dylan creates an interactive experience that allows users to flip the channel between various pop culture icons singing the song in the context of their own television shows, spanning from infomercials to Real Housewives and the History Channel to Marc Maron, peppered of course with vintage footage of Dylan performing the classic himself. For a song that’s been the soundtrack to many big changes over the years since its release, pairing it with the visuals to showcase its continued relevancy (even in somewhat goofy, unexpected circumstances) makes it a resounding example for artists of any age: with the right message, a song can be meaningful to fans of all ages and tastes.

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