Best of 2010: Nikki Benson’s Top 15 VideosPosted by Nikki Benson
15: Lykke Li – “Possibility”
I’m starting off with Lykki Le’s “Possibility” because it’s a beautiful, memorable video. At the most basic level of aesthetics, one can’t help but stop and stare.
14: Tim Kasher – “Cold Love”
“Cold Love” is on my list because the video tells a hilarious story encapsulating the concept album, Tim Kasher’s solo debut, The Game of Monogamy. Wife is frustrated with husband, husband get’s pissed off at wife. Devious pranks, getting caught, and revenge ensue! Who will be the victor?
13: Grynch – “My Volvo”
Grynch claimed his place in Seattle’s, and the unincorporated city of Ballard’s, heart with the hit song, “My Volvo.” Fans sang along to this song at concerts and bumped in their cars, headphones, stereos, and wherever else they could. When the video came out, everyone went wild. It had more than 100,000 hits in less than a week. All hail the King of Ballard.
12: Head Like a Kite – “She’s Wearing that Costume”
Filmed in the hipster center of the universe, Seattle’s Capital Hill neighborhood, Head Like a Kite told the story of every guy who was bold enough to go for the girl who was way, way, way, way…way out of his league. Best friends squabble, step up, and attack. It’s a funny story and cute video. If for no other reason, this video is a must watch because the leading lady in this action adventure has got legs for days. @_@…aaaOOOOOOga!
11: Hey Marseilles – “Rio”
Hey Marseilles gave themselves to the illustrious Hayley Young for this one. This video does what every great video should do, makes the song into an awesome soundtrack for the story/vision the video director dreamed up. In this case, Hey Marseilles seamlessly travel on a boat, unpack in Havana, get back on the boat, have a beach party, serenade a dance, and end in celebration without ever physically moving or cutting the film. It’s as stunning as it is impressive. Have a look!
10: Macklemore “The Town”
This video is so special. Macklemore celebrates the town in poetry and in visual art. He honors some of the most important figures in Seattle’s hip-hop community by including them in the video, and they honor Macklemore by agreeing to be in it. Filmed by internationally acclaimed Zia Mohajerjasbi, Macklemore created the ultimate tribute to “The Town.” This might be the most viewed video from a Seattle native in 2010, but what’s more important, we’re going to watch this one forever.
9: Jonathan Dueck – In Transit Presents
Rather than just one video, this choice actually represents a collection of videos created by Jonathan Dueck. Created with old 16 mm film, ink, and x-acto blades between 2006-2009, In Transit Presents is a collection of visual art accompanying avante-garde music. This is art at it’s finest. Here is one of my favorites from the collection, “Son Lux 01.” Check out the In Transit Presents YouTube channel here.
Warning: don’t watch this if you suffer from epilepsy. If you feel dizzy or weird, stop watching it.
8: Dada Life – “Unleash the F*cking Dada”
Another one of those stories that I love, Dada Life made an amazing short film. Quoting from my earlier write up, “Boy sees girl. Boy wants girl. Girl sees boy. Girl wants boy. Girl grows ravenous for boy. Girl goes after boy. Boy is flush with nerves for girl. Girl goes in deeper for boy. Girl gets boy. Girl takes boy home. Girl is hungry for boy…but what exactly does this girl want? YIKES! Click to find out:”
P.S. Don’t go out with strangers…
7: Baths – “Lovely Bloodflow”
This is a visually stunning video. Going deeper than a classic romance, this video delves into the symbiotic relationship between male and female. The strong warrior is wounded to the point of death. The mythical female characters come in as the life givers, the healers. “Lovely Bloodflow” takes on the deepest meaning, life.
6: Dan Mangan – “Robots”
This music video is a modern day West Side Story. Two opposing sides go to war. Their titans go to war in a robot fighting ring. One side does emerge victorious, but there is a twist. The robots teach their human counterparts a lesson in this video that will make you laugh and might just make you cry.
5: Kimbra – “Settle Down”
This is the first and only video to date that has “Impressive video” in the article title. Kimbra’s vision for “Settle Down” made me wish we had some type of periodical video award so that we could give it to her. In this video, Kimbra presents herself as a china doll dressed in black, perhaps to morn the death of familial perfection’s image. In this day and age, most people know that perfection doesn’t exist, but the bright eyed little girl still dreams. That dream is literally burned to the ground in this thought provoking story. Look, listen.
4: Fanfarlo – “Fire Escape”
“Fire Escape” tells the story of a sad individual who is on the ledge, contemplating suicide. In this story, what is a commonplace metaphor is placed in reality. Right before the young boy takes the leap, a consoling older man reaches out a hand and says, “I can help you.” This beautiful story soon turns into a cerebral nightmare when it appears that the man who rescues the young boy has taken him to a group suicidal cult. The story is fraught with twists leaving the viewer surprised at the end. The music scoring this film is beautiful, but hardly the focal point of this amazing project. With two endings, the viewer has options on how their story will end.
3: Janelle Monáe – “Tightrope”
Deviating from the upper half of my lists that could be classified more as short films than music videos, Janelle Monáe earned my number three spot for making a gorgeous video that takes the viewer back in time while being forward thinking. There is a story here, but most celebrated in this video is Monáe’s beauty and ability to entertain. She deserves her name to be spoken in the same breath as James Brown. Have a look!
2: Sleepy Eyes of Death – “Data Grave”
“Data Grave” celebrates darkness, fear, tragedy. Produced and directed by Patrick Richardson Wright and Kyle Johnson, a story is told of a sad, hopeless boy who is exploited by the people who’ve taken him in. Being lead by the hand, blind folded, knocked out, and dragged, the young man in the story finds himself in a retched situation. Be it a figment of his imagination or the truth, the only thing there is to do at the end of the story is run.
The cinematography in this video is stunning. Please enjoy.
1: The Portland Cello Project – “Denmark”
Produced with a marionette and miniature props, “Denmark” tells the story of a saltwater shrimp that has a mundane life and dreams about leaving the ocean in a water-filled rocket ship. He makes plans to create the ship, gets his things together, and he builds. Meeting a few bumps along the way, the shrimp snorkels above water to get the supplies needed to finish his ship and finally realize his dreams. No one could predict the ending. The craftmanship put into every detail of the story gives the viewer the space to feel it. With the moving music and touching story, this is the only short video that made me cry in 2010. I’ll remember this video forever, and it’s an honor to be able to watch it, peak in on the shrimp, and know that he tells the story of many.