Ten Music Video Highlights of 2011

It’s that time of the year again when everyone makes their lists of the best things they’ve seen or heard. In my case, however, I don’t like to call my list “the best of” because I am not sure if what my picks are the best choices. Pretending to list “the best” of something is giving me self-importance and stroking my ego.

Very much like last years’ Ten Music Video Highlights of 2010, these are the Ten Music Video Highlights of 2011. They may or not be my favorite picks, but they are very good music videos. Each video is different in music style, execution and sometimes medium.

Having said that, there were a lot of good music videos in 2011 across a variety of genres and it was really hard to list the ten most significant. For instance, there were some very good animated music videos like The Shrine / An Argument [MV] by Fleet Foxes, Boxcar Fair [MV] by Little Tybee, Hate You [MV] by 2NE1, Flower [MV] by Amos Lee, the bizarre after-school monster porn special of Fantasy [MV] by DyE, Amy, I [MV] by Jack’s Mannequin and the inappropriate Variations sur Marilou [MV] by Alain Bashung.

Many animated music videos weren’t limited to the traditional forms of animation — 2D animation, CGI, stop-motion or puppets. There were many artists who made mixed-media videos like the Her-Morning-Elegance-esque Korean music video, Turned Off the TV [MV] by Leessang, jelly-beaned In your Arms [MV] by Kina Grannis, or Me Voy [MV] by Jesse & Joy.

Mainstream music had the ever-present OK Go with All is Not Lost [MV], the strangeness of Lady Gaga in mermaid Frankenstein something-something Joe Calderone attire for Yoü and I [MV], or the also kind of Apocalyptic Run the World (Girls) [MV] by Beyonce. The Korean music scene exploded with some very good videos starting with two of this year’s favorites: Big Bang’s Love Song [MV] and DBSK’s Before U Go [MV].

Women in the Korean music scene didn’t disappoint — Sunny Hill’s Midnight Circus [MV], Brown Eyed Girls’ double release of Sixth Sense [MV] and Cleansing Cream [MV], You&I [MV] by IU, and the stylishly violent Get It In [MV] by Drunken Tiger.

There were also some very notable LGBT-related music videos like our #1 pick for LGBT Music Video for the LGBT Blogathon, Denise Ho’s double LGBT music video feature for Infatuation [MV], Rainie Yang’s Scorched Pair of Ears [MV] and even a brief glance in Julieta Venegas’ Ya Conoceran [MV].

Yes, 2011 feels like it has been a good year for music videos, or maybe it’s just been a lot easier to keep up with them en masse thanks to technology and social media. There were also some notable unofficial music videos worth mentioning like Now at Last by Feist put together by Lawrence Chen.

So let’s start with our list of music video highlights of 2011! Though there is a lack of socially-conscious and heavy-handed videos in contrast to last year’s list, there are one or two that might catch your eye.


Hermitude – Speak of the  Devil

This immediately brings memories of SOUR’s Hibi no Neiro (日々の音色) [MV], though I have no idea if that’s good or bad. The video is definitely fun.

10. World Order – Machine Civilization

World Order’s slo-mo walk is commendable — they’re the best slo-mo walkers out there, and they do it everywhere and at any time. Don’t be surprised if you’re walking around town and these guys show up. [1]

Ghost Writer

Here. There. Everywhere. Punished soul that usually watches what nobody wants, but sometimes gets lucky.

18 Responses

  1. amy says:

    This list needs a mention of Coeur de Pirate’s Adieu. It was scary funny, it wasn’t weird like Gaga stuff, but it was pretty decent. xD

    Also… in the unofficial mentions a couple of 2NE1 Cover Song contestants deserved mentions xD like the Bossa Nova version of Lonely or that version where they mix it with a version of the MV for Love Song. LOL

  2. ghost says:

    @amy, but Adieu was just funny – Kinda scary and funny… not really highlight material, you think?

    I can’t believe the Bossa Nova version of Lonely didn’t win the contest. Anyway, yah that version of Love Song/Lonely or maybe we should call it Lonely Love Song by 4NR was pretty impressive for the contest.

    What do you think of #1 pick?

    • amy says:

      @ghost, I’m still divided on whether I should get your #1 pick or not… I mean, it’s there in HD in the open for everyone to take.

  3. Camiele says:

    Call me a fangirl…but a music video list with no mention of Bjork seems like a travesty to me…HaHa! I love her video for “Moon”, nevermind the fact that she’s, yet AGAIN, thrown a wrench in the music industry and decided to get all ahead of her time again. Biophilia, though not necessarily her best work, is definitely her most ambitious in terms of what she did with it sonically and visually.

    “Moon’s” an astonishing video. However, I can’t be any sort of judge of your list seeing as I’ve only seen one of the videos that you mentioned in this post — DBSK’s “Before You Go”, and not of my own free will. Someone ::coughjulzcough:: showed it to me. The MV’s fun, but I’m more for the music…which was sexy as hell!!!!

    But, I digress. I’ll have to check out these videos and see what I’ve been missing. I love music videos and need to up my game because I’ve not watched proper music television for the past two or three years…YIKES!

  4. ghost says:

    @Camiele, I even considered adding Bjork to the list, but she’s set her bar way too high. Compared to anything she’s done, Moon and Crystalline is pretty normal stuff coming from her.

    Which version of Before U Go did you like the best? For me, the long version seemed to drag on and get lost in the dramatic emotions. The fighting sequence was particularly effective for a pop music video.

    Check back once you’ve checked out all of the videos on the list…

    @amy, I don’t think Korea is planning in releasing high definition versions of their music videos yet.

    • Camiele says:

      @ghost, Hey, yeah still haven’t gotten around to watching these videos — life’s so tough..HaHa. But, the version of Before U Go I saw had this intense infiltration sequence. I’ve only seen one version. There was a fast beat in the beginning and then the smexy came after the intro…so, I don’t know which version that is…HaHa.

      I suppose you’re right, regarding Bjork. Her bar is set rather high, but if we think about it in terms of just MVs of the year, Moon was pretty fantastic. Even in the scope of the videos on this list, which, from what you’ve said, seem pretty amazing, I think there’s still a place for it. Though, I will say Moon sort of harkened back to Human Behaviour a bit (what do you think?)

      I will, eventually, get to the vids on this list…HaHa. And I’ll give you a full report when I do :)

  5. Julyssa says:

    This is my highlight from 2011:


    Having some of the best models of the 80’s front as Duran Druan? Brilliant.

  6. ghost says:

    @julyssa, aw. i miss supermodels too. too much hotness in that video.

  7. Camiele says:

    These videos…I don’t even know where to start. I think I need to take a breather because the SunnyHill video was one of the most heartbreaking things I’ve ever seen.

    So…yeah. Just wow. I don’t even know what to say.

    OH WAIT! How about Kid Gangstas! Fucking badass!!!!

    But, yeah, SunnyHill…wow.

    • amy says:

      @Camiele, and it came from Kpop huh xD – seems like you’ve been taken by the Kpop-mania haha… remember those days when you wrote about horror books? xD

      • Camiele says:

        @amy, HAHAHAHAHA! I’m JUST now responding to this (shame upon shame upon SHAME on me). Yeah… Kpop (or more accurately, DBSK) destroyed my existence there for a while. I think I’ve gotten better, though… HaHa.

        I still say Pray is one of the most heinously gorgeous and soul crunching videos ever created… HaHa. Literally, I don’t think I’d been moved by a video that much since I saw “Earth Song” by Michael Jackson… and that was, what, 14, 15 years before this one? So, yeah… DEEP!

  8. ghost says:

    @Camiele, I thought it was more like Kiddie Terrorists, the animation on it is fucking crazy. Very creative.

    And Sunny Hill is just beautiful. Too bad they don’t have as many YouTube views as cough, some others who have like 30 million hits.

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