Hurray for the Riff Raff, "Pa'lante"

The Best Music Videos of 2018

When I was about 12-years-old, some bushfires came really close to my childhood home and we were asked to evacuate.

My parents packed all the important stuff like family photos and sentimental jewellery, but my mum instructed me to pack a separate bag of anything that was really important to me. In a fluorescent yellow backpack with hot pink squares sewn into it, I crammed all of my Silverchair CDs, a ticket stub signed by the band, and two VHS tapes with my favourite music videos recorded on them.

Those tapes were a never-ending work in progress. I’d alternate between ABC’s Rage and Channel 10’s Video Hits programs every Saturday morning, eyes glued and hand clutching the VCR remote as I waited for my musical idols to grace the screen. Those are some of the fondest memories I have of growing up. Pre-internet, those music videos were the only windows into the lives of my favourite musicians, save for the odd magazine article. They were creative extensions of the music, able to tell a story that sound alone simply couldn’t. Sadly, the music video is mostly a lost art in today’s iPhone age. But this year, I noticed the tides are starting to change. Music videos are making a comeback. And here’s the proof.

A$AP Rocky – A$AP Forever

First of all, this is one of the sickest songs of the year. Second of all, the budget on this bad boy must’ve been pretty insane. At a dizzying pace, the video follows A$AP around New York till it kicks into a full-blown homage of Moby’s OG ‘Porcelain’ video. With its trippy 90s vibe and A$AP’s fashion killa wardrobe, this definitely would have wound up on my VHS back in the day.

The Blaze – Queens

Every single music video I have watched by French electronic duo The Blaze has been a cinematic masterpiece. This visually stunning, emotionally vulnerable clip is no exception. An exploration of loss, ‘Queens’ recounts a beautiful relationship cut short by death. Cue goosebumps.

LCD Soundsystem – oh baby

Look, to be honest, I have a bit of trouble taking LCD Soundsystem seriously ever since they dramatically announced their disbandment with a huge farewell show at Madison Square Garden only to reemerge four years later as if nothing had happened. BUT, it’s hard to stay mad at a song + video combo like this. Filmed by The Last Jedi’s Rian Johnson, Sissy Spacek and David Strathairn lead this story to both glory and heartbreak. Fingers crossed they make this into a full-length film.

Hurray for the Riff Raff – Pa’lante
Whew, this song and accompanying video really did a number on me when I watched it the first time. Directed by Kristian Mercado Figueroa, it’s a beautiful, powerful ode to singer Alynda Segarra’s Puerto Rican heritage. It’s also a well-deserved fuck you to the US government for the lack of help Puerto Rico received after Hurricane Maria almost completely obliterated the island in 2017. Easily the most moving clip of the year.

This is America – Childish Gambino
Yeah, I know you’ve already seen this video. But you know what I can guarantee you’re going to do anyway? Press play and watch the whole thing again for the thousandth time. That’s the power of this video. Packed with more cultural, racial, and political references than Shaun King’s Instagram profile, it’s a chillingly accurate assessment of the current state of America. Don’t catch you slippin’ up.

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