The Best Music Videos I Saw This Year

I was going to save this post until much later in the month, but then it dawned on me that I might forget to make a top-list post and then January will hit and it will be too late. And I don’t think it would be all that timely to post a best-of ’09 list in the beginnings of ’10. So, with that in mind, I say let’s push forward with The Best Music Videos I Saw This Year. The criteria for this list wasn’t all that complicated. The band had to have a really good song, not be too insanely popular, and be more than just a band playing for an audience. It also had to keep the viewer engaged by not beating it’s gimmick to death. Might seem like vague rules, but when you see these videos, you’ll understand what I mean. Also (and this is a MINOR criteria), the videos needed to be in a high quality format (HD) and be easily embeddable on any website.

Let’s do this.

5) Do You Want To Date My Avatar – The Guild

This video makes it onto this list because the song is catchy, and the nerdy references are cranked up to eleven. It’s an ode to those of us who play MMORPG’s (pronounced: meh-mor-pe-guhs) and anyone who knows what a level 50 paladin is. Also, the costumes are rad and there really isn’t a band to speak of, so the conceit of playing to an audience doesn’t exist. If you like this, check out the show.

4) French Navy – Camera Obscura

I like Camera Obscura, a lot. Their newest album, My Maudlin Career, is simply a gem and this video captures the essence of that. It’s shot to look like old footage, and it’s cut fast enough to keep you from being too bothered by the band playing music together in a flat. Sure, the mushy lovey-dovey story within the video is a little gag-worthy, but the music keeps it from getting too obnoxious.

3) Lessons Learned – Matt and Kim

I like this band well enough, but their other music videos haven’t really caught my attention. They’re you’re typical indie music video where they just have the two band members playing an instrument in a weird environment. This video breaks that conceit and it’s all the more refreshing for it. I also like this song much better than Daylight, which you could hear for awhile on some alcoholic beverage commercial. Also, naked people who are fairly good looking make this music video a win in my opinion.

2) Sick Muse – Metric

This video makes it this far down the list in it’s simplicity. It’s a band goofing around and not really playing their instruments. They aren’t playing to an audience and they are dancing around like fools. It helps that the band is amazing and the album is perhaps the best one I’ve heard this year. I wanted to put Gimme Sympathy on this list as well, since it had an interesting gimmick, but there wasn’t an HD version on youtube. Also, I like this song just a teensy-weensy bit more.

And the winner of best music video this year?


1) Cousins – Vampire Weekend

The film student in me loves the low-tech of the video. It’s just the band playing their instruments on a dolly in a back alley somewhere. It fits the tone of the song, which differentiates itself from the previous album with a bit more energy than A-Punk and plays around with time and space editing which I love in music videos. Check out near the end of the video where they wear the other band members’ faces behind their own. It’s an editing gimmick that makes the video editor in me SQUEE with delight.

And of course, the runner up..

Dimmer – Bishop Allen

On Thom Yorke

I heard a bit ago that Thom Yorke of Radiohead has given up on creating complete albums, citing “death to the band” as a major reason for the decision. He went on to complain that the creative process is just too painful for a full-length album and that they are better served by just making singles from now on. As someone who struggles to be creative day in and day out and who is diligent despite the void, all I have to say to that is, “SOMEBODY CALL THE GOD DAMN WAAAAHMBULANCE!”

Every OTHER band can make albums without too much trouble, so what’s the big deal here? Furthermore, what about everyone else in the creative field who has to continually produce content for the public? What if THEY reduced their workload just because they didn’t want to “hurt themselves?” Would their audience stand for that? Probably not.

I’m calling shenanigans on this. Thom York is just a lazy bastard. I don’t care if his music is good or not. I can’t respect someone who whines about their lavish career, which nets them millions in a year, when others in the same field work even harder and get hardly the same recognition.

Fucking shit or get off the pot, dude.

On DRM and Controlling Your Shit

From Techgeist:

You know what happens to authorized machines? They get reformatted and break over time. Yet the people who sell is software and digital media expect that when we need to reinstall Windows on our only computer so that we can get work done and meet deadlines, we’re thinking “oh, of course I have to go through EVERY PROGRAM I HAVE INSTALLED AND DEAUTHORIZE IT.” Screw that.

I feel bad for anybody who bought music back in the itunes DRM days, because there’s not really much you can do with the music unless you unauthorize / reauthorize or go through the pain of breaking the DRM through other means. But to stop buying from the itunes store because you disagree with policies that they disclosed early on and have since fixed (for the most part) seems a little rash.

I’m not really trying to defend Apple or their store here, but I would like to point out that keeping up to date with these companies’ policies is critical as a consumer and if you don’t agree with what they do, don’t patronize them. Case in point, I didn’t agree with the whole DRM thing, so I patronized Amazon. I don’t agree with Apple’s way of handling apps, so I bought an Android phone.

Not really going anywhere with this rather than just airing some initial thoughts from reading this article.

On Cheap Asses And Pandora

From the blog of Pandora:

The revised royalties are quite high – higher in fact than any other form of radio. As a consequence, we will have to make an adjustment that will affect about 10% of our users who are our heaviest listeners. Specifically, we are going to begin limiting listening to 40 hours per month on the free version of Pandora. In any given month, a listener who hits this limit can then opt for unlimited listening for the remainder of that month for just $0.99. In essence, we’re asking our heaviest users to put a dollar (well, almost a dollar) in the tip jar in any month in which they listen over 40 hours. We hope this is relatively painless and affordable–the same price as a single song download. (Alternatively, they can upgrade to “Pandora One”, our premium version which offers unlimited monthly listening in addition to its other benefits).

As someone who hopes to one day make a living out of being creative, I tend to side with the people making the content when it comes to issues of compensation. These people need to get paid for what they’ve created just like people who work in any other job deserve to get paid for the job they’ve done. There’s nothing that makes a “creative’s” work less deserving of financial compensation than that of a waiter, an office exec, or a city worker. At the end of the day, we all need to get paid so we can continue to live. In the case of Pandora, they should at least be able to make back some of the ridiculous royalties they have to pay the music industry, right?

Not if you’re a cheap bastard. I can’t count on my hands how many times I’ve heard people state that Pandora charging for extended use is wrong. These people come at it with a sense of entitlement, with the idea that they shouldn’t have to pay to listen to what is essentially “a radio.” When confronted, they backpedal and explain that they’re cheap and can’t afford the fees.

$.99 is hardly expensive in my book. And if you’re a power user, $.99 for the month is ridiculously cheap. Why not pay the small fee and help out a company that provides such an amazing service? Or you know, maybe buy your music for a change?

The big mistake any of us can make is to assume that we deserve ANYTHING for free. These services come to us cheap as a convenience, not as a requirement. These companies certainly aren’t breaking the bank by giving away their content and / or services so we should take a step back and be grateful we only have to pay a dollar for unlimited internet radio.

But…cheap bastards will be cheap bastards.

A Pretty Girl is Like…

A pretty girl is like a minstrel show,
It makes you laugh,  It makes you cry, You go
It just isn’t the same on radio.
It’s all about the makeup and the dancing and the Oh,
A pretty girl is like a violent crime,
If you do it wrong you could do time.
But if you do it right it is sublime. I’m so in love with you, girl, it’s like I’m on the moon.
I can’t really breathe, but I feel lighter.
A melody is like a pretty girl,
Who cares if it’s the dumbest in the world.
It’s all about the way that it unfurls.
A pretty girl is like a pretty girl.

– The Magenetic Fields

Jonathan is a VJ, Part 6

Hey there, folks. I figured it was about that time again to scour the internet for some music videos that I enjoyed. Kind of a random assortment this month around, but I figured it was a pretty decent one at that and that you might get a kick out of the selection. If you haven’t heard of any of these bands, you might want to do yourself a favor and check them out STAT!!!

The New PornographersMutiny, I Promise You

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Not That Crazy

The Magnetic FieldsNot That Crazy


I built a ship with my own hands to take us to the moon,

I took a pen in my own hand and wrote you a hundred tunes.

Now I’m crazy for you but not that crazy.

If you couldn’t tell, I really like The Magnetic Fields. If I ever write an album, it will be because of Stephin Merritt.

Jonathan is a VJ, Part 5

Hey guys! What’s the haps? Yeah, I’ve been quite the busy bee this past month or so with various forms of work. It’s been so crazy that I’ve pretty much neglected most of my blogs. But hey, I’m here now and posting, so that’s got to count for something. Right? RIGHT?!

Anypoo, it’s time for another music video session from yours truly. You’ll notice a few things different about this one. Namely, I’m not using MTVMusic anymore for my source of music videos. While the service showed promise, their API continued to suck and navigating the site was an extreme chore. Now, I’m just sticking with Youtube. Already, I’m happy I switched back. So, without further ado, I present five really awesome music videos from some artists I really enjoy!

Goldfrapp Caravan Girl

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Jonathan is a VJ, Part 4

It’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these posts, and for that I apologize. School ended, and then I went on the big bad job hunt. In fact, I’m still on the big bad job hunt and have been bouncing around from contract job to contract job to help with the bills. But that’s beside the point. I’ve been lax in making a music video mix for you and for that I apologize. Let’s start February off on the right foot and get this show on the road!

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