With a global pandemic making filming difficult to impossible and an economic downturn taking a toll on smaller artists, it’s fair to say that the music video medium is in a tough spot. Yet despite, or perhaps because of, these challenging conditions, the music videos released this year have had an extra kick of creativity. 2020 has reminded us that art always finds a way.
Here are six of what I believe are the most creative, engaging, and at times moving music videos to come out this year:
- FKA Twigs — sad day
When FKA Twigs and Hiro Murai (longtime Childish Gambino collaborator who directed much of Atlanta) team up, you know the result will be beautiful and mesmerizing. This video more than delivers. the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon inspired sequence depicts an ethereal sword-fight that begins in a Chinese restaurant. Like most of FKA Twigs’ work, it’s unsettling elegant.
2. Slowthai — feel away ft. James Blake, Mount Kimbe
It’s not often that a single music video can be amusing, disgusting, and heart-wrenching all at once. Usually an energetic provocateur, Slowthai slows it down in this video and gives such a great performance it’s hard not to feel bad for his fictional self. As the title says, it makes you feel away. There are some interesting uses of cake as well, as I cover in this article.
3. Baby Keem––hooligan
Baby Keem makes it hard to look away in this dramatically lit music video. Instead of performing the song, he nonchalantly accompanies a cast of young women as they rap along to his lyrics as he maintains a deadpan stare at the viewer. The stare seems somewhat ominous at times, as if he is waiting for you to join in and won’t stop until you do. Luckily, the song’s a banger so he won’t have to wait long.
4. Moses Sumney — Me in 20 Years
Probably the saddest music video of 2020, Moses Sumney imagines how he may cope with loneliness and old age in 20 years. Shot in a gloomy room reminiscent of something from the mind of David Lynch, the video is beautifully choreographed and perhaps even more melancholy than the song itself. It’s very relatable in the age of quarantine.
5. Rejjie Snow — Cookie Chips ft. MF DOOM and Cam O’bi
Cookie Chips is the light and wholesome music video 2020 needed. Rejjie Snow walks through the forest with a collection of balloons that rivals Carl Fredrickson’s from Up. The video has the same calming quality as the film, which is an impressive feat, and a feature by MF DOOM is the cherry on top.
6. Rina Sawayama — XS
The most popular single off what could be the best pop album of the year, “XS” is a brilliant genre-bending anti-consumerist anthem. The music video ramps up the craziness with a fake TV ad that fits the song perfectly. This video leaves a bad taste in your mouth, in the best possible way.
There are just too many great music videos to not include a few honorable mentions. Here are just a few more video worth checking out: