The visuals that delighted our eyes as much as our ears.
12. Tigerilla - TULIPS ft. Gill Bates
Typically Australian videos can't compete with big international ones. It's more of a budgetory thing than a matter of creativity but this year Tigerilla proved budget means shit when you've got an idea that captivates. Director Tom Noakes crafted a weird, off-putting dance-off between teacher and student that effortlessly mimicked the groovy, kooky tone of the song. It's hard to watch at points but it's also hard not to dance which is where it finds the balance. So full of personality it was hard to ignore.
11. Big Baby D.R.A.M. - Broccoli feat. Lil Yachty
D.R.A.M. and Yachty are two of the most compelling figures of 2016 just because they're both occupying a space in hip-hop that can't really be connected to anything. The video for Broccoli took parts from formulaic hip-hop videos (girls, drinks, parties) and skewed them every so slightly. A piano sits in a brown swamp, D.R.A.M.'s dog runs amok and the pair travel recklessly on a piano moving faster than Vanessa Carlton's. It didn't spark any think-pieces but it planted a big fat smile on our face.
10. Solange - Cranes In The Sky
Solange's music and visuals have always gone hand in hand. Often when artists do that, one lacks the focus of the other, but for Solange she makes them hold hands. The video for Cranes In The Sky is a moving masterpiece. An artwork of shots that are so stunning in their own right that you could take a screenshot at any point and hang it on your wall. Cranes In The Sky did more than that though. It uses its colours and bodies to represent isolation, sadness and strength. In each shot Solange is a dot in the world but what she's wearing makes her stand out and stops the universe from consuming her.
9. Rihanna - Work (Feat. Drake)
You know when you can film two videos in a matter of days without barely having to intervene that the two artists you're working with have instant chemisty. Work started Drake and Rihanna's fairytale 2016 that didn't end up going to plan. But this is when it was steaming. RiRi was in her zone, singing over a dancehall beat and moving at her own pace. She oozed sex appeal without trying and Drake was religated to the background until he was needed. Even when he does step in, he's chasing Rihanna. And maybe he always will be. The most natural video clip of the year.
8. Frank Ocean - Nikes
We had no Frank Ocean for four years and then within a matter of days we had a visual album Endless and a video for our first taste of Blonde, Nikes. We'd seen Frank woodworking in black and white but this video flipped the vibe. Suddenly he was in glitter, on a stage. The album was originally going to be called Boys Don't Cry and this video challenges those ideas of masulinity. One minute there's glitter and dancing, the next there are cars. The video is full of juxtapositions but when you get to the end of it, you get the feeling they're not juxtaposing all. Frank's Frank and this video is a hypnotising serious of moving pictures that represent him.
7. Grimes - Kill V. Maim
You can be excused if you missed or totally threw this one aside, because Art Angels fell into our palms late in 2015. Still madly in love with it, Grimes dropped the self-directed visual to arguably the album's biggest anthem Kill V. Maim. Still a little confused by Grimes’ statement about the track, Kill V. Maim is written from the perspective of Al Pacino in The Godfather Pt II except he’s a vampire who can switch gender and travel through space. The track showcased a more commercial side of Grimes that was previously not there, and it worked incredibly well. Capturing the cyberpunk feel, Kill V. Maim’s visual is as equally as brilliant, with it only solidifying the track's status as one that will surely stand the test of time.
If you thought Kaytranada’s success had all dried up following the praise received from his debut 99.9%, then boy were you wrong. If the record didn’t make you want to get up and dance, than surely LITE SPOTS’ visual will be of assistance. Programming a robot to do just that, Kaytranada taught us all the right way to dance to just one track from his incredible debut.
5. Radiohead - Burn The Witch
The return of Radiohead sent the music world into one of its many frenzies this year, with Burn The Witch being the first taste of new music from the band in five years. It was incredibly worth it, with the band deleting their entire previous social media presence only to then upload a snippet of what was an incredible claymation video clip. Depicting a dark, yet brilliantly curated event unravelling in a town, you’d be hard pressed to find a finer return to music than Radiohead’s Burn The Witch visual.
4. Kanye West - Famous
Debuting a music video in an arena was an odd concept to begin with but given what Kanye had already handed us this year, it came as no surprise. Famous was meant to be shocking. Kanye wanted to sit in that arena and watch the face of everyone as Taylor Swift appeared naked alongside Bill Cosby. A comment on the untouchable nature of celebrities, a PR stunt or a work of art - it could've been made for many reasons, but one thing we're sure of, is it was the biggest pop culture bomb of the year. There was nothing quite like watching all of them heavily breathing for the first time and wondering whether it was a stroke of genius or just purely uncomfortable.
3. Francis and the Lights - Friends (Feat. Bon Iver and Kanye West)
If there were an award for coming third place, but really deserving number one it would without a question of doubt go to Francis and the Lights for one of the years biggest collaborations Friends. From its minimalistic vibe to Francis’ totally bonkers yet equally A+ dance moves, compiling a list of favourites and excluding Friends would be disrespectful to one of the year's most buzzed about artists.
2. Porter Robinson & Madeon - Shelter
Heart wrenching is an understatement, as no list is surely complete without having the epic visual component to one of 2016’s biggest collaborations. The track brought upon tears of joy from a friendship the music world has come to watch and listen to with much envy. Hitting you right in feels, Porter has always had a strong affiliation with japanese culture, more specifically anime and as a result joined forces with A-1 Pictures for what is one of 2016’s most beautiful visuals (maybe, ever seen).
1. Beyonce - Lemonade
We challenge you to find a list like this where Lemonade wasn't at the top. Beyoncé's visual opus was just as important as the sounds that accompanied it. While the record, based on sound, plays out like a broken love story, the film delivers so much more. It explores the strength and vulnerability of the black woman and also gives strength to anyone who feels like they've been disrespected. Beyoncé was the protaganist but it was about so much more than just Bey. It was about every silent character that surrounded her from Serena Williams twerking to Blue Ivy smirking at the camera. This was Beyoncé understanding that her art speaks louder than anything. She struck up conversations far beyond speculation surrounding her relationship with Jay Z and it all started with this beautiful, stirring film.