The past 12 months have seen the continued resurgence of the music video as both a unique marketing tool and a dynamic art form, giving fans a new way to enjoy their favorite tunes while offering artists a second pass at the initial expressive act through an added medium. From thought-provoking to gut-busting, authentic to fantastic, and big-budget to no-budget, these are the most entertaining video embodiments of electronic music of 2014.
15. Duck Sauce – NRG
14. Trippy Turtle – Trippy’s Theme
2014’s Jersey club and future bass breakout star Trippy Turtle hits #14 with the video for Trippy’s Theme. Animator Nikolais Javan creates a dreamlike comic book showdown in and around a strip club starring a handful of Mad Decent and Fofofadi cameos that ends with a battle with an evil trans-dimensional turtle for one of the more original video concepts of the year.
13. Cashmere Cat – Wedding Bells
Cashmere Cat‘s faux film trailer directed by Peter Marsden allows the imagination to roam with open-ended plot events and disjointed scenes surrounding a young couple. The on-screen reviews are presumably pulled from his SoundCloud and easily the most entertaining bit, even alongside the dramatic, well shot imagery that make up the trailer.
12. Flume feat. Ghostface Killah & Autre Ne Veut – Space Cadet
Now here’s a crew we can hangout with. Director Jim Dirschberger combines 2D and 3D animation into one psychedelic world of Flume‘s Space Cadet inhabited by strange creatures and even a cartoon Ghostface Killah spitting his verse atop a Mayan pyramid called out from the ground with a boombox. The video expands on the traditional animated concept and executes in a fun, lighthearted nature, bringing it in at #12.
11. Basement Jaxx feat. ETML – Never Say Never
Someone had a ton of fun making this one. In a world in danger of losing dance, Jaxx Industries has the answer: a twerking robot. Not sure how this is going to solve their dancing problem, but at least the sexual angst between the main characters gets resolved. Props to writer and director Saman Kesh for an imaginative concept and impressive engineering on that robot booty.
10. I See MONSTAS – Circles
Known for their tense, dramatic music videos, I See MONSTAS and writer/director Josh Cole outdo past gritty diamonds like Evolution with a seven-and-a-half-minute short film about retribution, redemption, and devotion. While a few moments might leave you scratching your head, the performances by lead actors Frederick Schmidt and Anna Brooks-Beckman combined with a gripping story and solid production value carry the day for ISM and bring this video to a cool #10. But dude, Rosco, can we take your thugs to a shooting range already, or what?
9. FKA Twigs – Two Weeks
Director Nabil leans on illusory perspectives and a god bit of After Effects to craft a gradually more impressive single-shot music video for FKA Twigs‘ slow-burner Two Weeks. While it takes a minute to get going, it possesses a gorgeous “a-ha” moment during which the video goes from simply beautiful to downright enchanting, earning it this year’s #9 slot.
8. Kiesza – Hideaway
Calgarian singer/songwriter Kiesza and NY label Lokal Legend pull off a fabulous and fluid flashback to the ’90s with the official video, which was captured in two takes, a difficult feat when adding camera movement and choreography to this degree. Kiesza reportedly had a broken rib going into filming and had to learn each style of dance in the three days leading up to the shoot. Degree of difficulty and overall style bring Kiesza and Hideaway to #8.
7. Oliver Dollar & Jimi Jules – Pushing On
No video in this year’s chart nailed its song’s subject matter quite as literally as did the concept in Oliver Dollar and Jimi Jules‘ Pushing On. Alice Russell’s lyrics find a lovable persona in the stalwart shuffler as he grows old dancing a hole into the desert in which he was born–simple, clever, and thoroughly enjoyable.
6. Flying Lotus feat. Kendrick Lamar – Never Catch Me
Flying Lotus struck a chord this year with the Hiro Murai-directed video for Never Catch Me, which paints a bittersweet picture of tragedy and the relief from the burdens of Earth. Especially poignant in a year unfortunately marred with lives lost in a context of prejudice and fear, FlyLo lands in at #6 with this heartwarming short story with smooth choreography that ends with a big, cheer-worthy moment–just try not to love these kids too much.
5. Skrillex feat. Ragga Twins – Ragga Bomb
Skrillex and Ragga Twins’ video for Ragga Bomb earns its spot through brute force and raw showmanship. No subtext here, just rugged imagery and a sci-fi twist that takes it from good to great. Looking to be challenged mentally? Look elsewhere. We’re busy with lightsabers.
4. Diplo feat. Angger Dimas & Travis Porter – Biggie Bounce
A wildly hilarious yet simple concept executed with flair, Biggie Bounce had us rolling from the get-go. The juxtaposed home video and high-quality footage offer two viewpoints of Diplo and Travis Porter’s evening with the Twerk Team at wing night at the Jonesboro Moose Lodge in Arkansas. Gigantic booties, a down home setting, and confused middle-American white people. What’s more to want?
3. Porter Robinson feat. Urban Cone – Lionhearted
Porter Robinson and his gang of sexy-dangerous girls with heavy weaponry come in at #3 thanks to its complete package of a little bit of everything we love about music videos. Director Jonathan Desbiens, aka Jodeb, offers a mysterious tale of revenge that nods to the song’s subject matter starring Porter as the fearless martyr leading a Kawaii crew of ladies catalyzing the spread of vibrancy and originality–potentially a reference to his war on “EDM” waged this year and keystoned by Worlds. Or maybe it’s just a badass video with cute girls banging on stuff and shooting guns. Either way, one of the best videos of 2014.
2. Tiga – Bugatti
Tiga‘s tongue-in-cheek tech house anthem of 2014 received an hysterical music video by director Helmi that rhythmically visualizes the tune’s theme of Western excess culture with wonderful ’80s flair. With more views come more connections between the seemingly independent and bizarre imagery (with sponge remote being our favorite). Could it have been #1? Maybe. We know this much, though: we’ve never been so turned on by ketchup in our entire lives.
1. DJ Snake & Lil Jon – Turn Down For What
And finally, the honor of greatest music video of 2014 goes to director Daniels for his work making a video as wild and downright dumb as DJ Snake and Lil Jon’s ubiquitous theme for going HAM, Turn Down For What. From the unassuming cast pulling off advanced Jamaican daggering maneuvers to the hilarity of the plot itself, Daniels hits the nail directly on the head, masterfully illustrating the now household phrase with the year’s best music video.