By: Amanda McMillan
As you will notice, this list is compiled predominantly of female artists, as well as diversity . These musicians are dominating pop culture right now and those are also the artists that have been largely overlooked and oppressed, especially in the pursuit of creating musical film that captures the genuine image that the artist wishes to portray.
This is not an exhaustive list of all that 2019 had to offer in the way of music videos, but these are the ones that stood out to me the most, either due to being unconventional, fun, nostalgic, or simply stunningly beautiful to watch. I grew up watching MuchMusic, MTV, VH1, etc. so the art of the music video is not lost on me. It’s pretty much the only thing I consistently watch on YouTube. I’ve narrowed it down to eleven videos, which felt like an odd number to have, but I simply could not cut any more than I already did.
Enjoy, and please share your favourites with us.
Now, in no particular order:
Motivation - Normani
This throwback to the early 2000s is instantly iconic, and one of the music videos that I kept re-watching back to because it’s such a good time. Normani is giving us Ashanti and Ciara, she's giving us J. Lo. Hell, she's giving us Missy Elliott. The choreography is incredible, and sequencing is classic early aughts, and the styling somehow manages to be both then and now. This was the unexpected hit of the year!
Mine Right Now - Sigrid
This video is hilarious to me because it was a made result of a real-life comedy of errors. As Sigrid explains in the beginning, she was unable to make it to the shoot, and so the director starred in it and they made it anyway. It’s both ridiculous and amazing.
Boasty - Wiley, Sean Paul, Stefflon Don ft. Idris Elba
This video is a TRIP. Not only does it have a stacked lineup, but the brilliant use of kaleidoscopic scene cuts is editing heaven. There is also a distinct throwback vibe, but dialed way up. The direct singing to the camera makes it feel like you’re behind the camera, following all these people around. Also, Idris Elba?!?! Who knew.
Lark - Angel Olsen
This may be one of the most beautiful songs of the year, and the music video follows suit. The lighting, cinematography, and the entire mood is stunning. The drone shots are giving me Sound Of Music opening credits vibes, conjuring this epic feeling while the first person close-ups are intimate and raw. There are so many filming techniques utilized in this video, but it all feels cohesive and captivating, thanks to the impeccable editing.
Hungry Child - Hot Chip
Featuring Martin Starr and Milana Vayntrub, this meta music video is super fun to watch. It’s the story of a fairly dysfunctional and slightly mismatched couple who are trying to figure out how to get the Hot Chip song that this is a music video for...to stop playing. That is to say, they are aware of the song, and so is everyone around them, as it begins to torment their life.
Juice - Lizzo
This video is just fun to watch! It encompasses everything that Lizzo is from the wardrobe, to the choreography, to the skit within a skit montage.
Moon Star Lover - Wild Black
A little hit of ultra-cool Can-Con for you. Directed by Toronto’s own Lulu Wei, it’s a dream-like fantasy re-creation of summer camp for QPOC, surrounded by a killer disco-inspired, R&B track. It’s super cute, wholesome, and...campy.
A Pearl - Mitski
This is hypnotizing to watch. The animation is absolutely stunning, as you’re pulled deeper and deeper into the world it’s creating through this continuous, looping push-in effect. It’s very on-brand for Mitski - moody, and beautiful, and impactful.
Becoming - Diana Gordon
This video is gorgeous , particularly the overall colour scheme and casting. It’s sexy, intimate and effortlessly cool. It’s a nod to stereotypical hip hop videos of the mid-aughts but subverted to remove the male gaze. This is all about empowerment and authenticity!
Ibtihaj - Rapsody, feat. GZA and D’Angelo
This is one of the coolest music videos I have seen in a while. It takes a very familiar, classic style of shooting hip hop videos on the streets of New York and completely flipping it on its head. It’s smart, cool and so impeccably produced. There’s something new to love and appreciate every time you watch it! The song in itself also immaculate.
Almeda - Solange
Solange’s track record for music videos is fierce. Has the woman ever made a video that is less than breathtaking? She treats the medium as a true art form, a platform for her to further express herself beyond the album itself. This is a very heady video, every moment, every piece of clothing, choreography, prop, a hint of light is intentional and purposeful. That level of detail is fascinating to watch and analyze every single time. We are lucky to live in the time of Solange!