14.05.12

The 20 best music videos of 2012 so far

The music video, that surprisingly enduring form of promotion, has had a great year so far, as you can see from the short, short list of the 20 best of the year. It’s been a year of surprising and endearing wit and bloody good work.

If there is a trend in this mixed bag of seven-figure to zero budget vids, it’s a willingness to play with the formulas of the promo clip itself, whether it’s Kindness’s arch glance at art in the age of infinite reproduction or MIA’s globalized subversion of the cliches of the rap shoot. Even Jessie Ware’s super-straight playing of her wonderful lovesong 110% is a witty, smart take on presenting music. No video, however, was as simple, ambitious or fluent as Daniel Swan’s work for Jam City’s The Courts, which interprets the track’s sculptural grime and overlays it with a gloweringly uneasy infomercial of 3,000 years of human consumption.

It’s proof, where any needed, of the vitality of the form. Congratulations to all teams involved, click play on the below and let us know any missed in the comments underneath.

  1. Jam City – The Courts Directed by Daniel Swan
  2. Kindness – Gee Up Directed by Adam Bainbridge
  3. M.I.A. – Bad Girls Directed by Romain Gavras
  4. Jessie Ware – 110% Directed by Kate Moross
  5. Grimes – Oblivion Directed by Emily Kai Bock
  6. Actress – IWAAD Directed by Nic Hamilton
  7. Blood Orange – Forget It Directed by Alan Del Rio Ortiz
  8. Haleek Maul – Fraulein Directed by Jamie Harley
  9. Julia Holter – Moni Mon Amie Directed by Yelena Zhelehov
  10. A$AP Rocky – Wassup Directed by A$AP Rocky, Jacob Burghart and Andy Capper
  11. Tanlines – Brothers Directed by Weird Days
  12. Jay-Z and Kanye West – Nigg#s in Paris Directed by Kanye West
  13. Jessie Ware – Running Directed by Kate Moross
  14. JME96 Fuckries Directed by Matthew Walker
  15. Plan B – Ill Manors Directed by Yann Demange
  16. Sculpture – Slime Code Directed by Reuben Sutherland
  17. Kuedo – Ascension Phase Directed by Konx-Om-Pax and Sabrina Ratté
  18. DJ Q – All Junglist Directed by Jasper Delamothe
  19. Nite Jewel – One Second Of Love Directed by Delaney Bishop
  20. Factory Floor – On Hold Directed by AB/CD/CD