COREY'S BEST OF 2011
Top 10 Albums
10. Blueprint “Adventures in Counter-Culture”
9. James Blake "James Blake"
8. F* Up “David Comes to Life”
7. Thoa and Mirah "Thao and Mirah"
6. Admiral Fallow “Boots Met My Face"
5. Wild Flag "Wild Flag"
4. Doomtree “No Kings”
3. Active Child “You Are All I See”
2. M83 “Hurry Up, We're Dreaming”
1. St. Vincent “Strange Mercy”
Top Music Videos of 2011
10. Lykke Li “Sadness is a Blessing”
In a video that resembles a scene from Lars Von Trier’s “Melancholia”—from the setting to the tone, and even an appearance by Stellan Skarsgard—the most captivating part excludes any music. Lasting 1:50, the opening sequence contains no dialog either, one of my favorite tactics of visual works when done effectively. And that’s difficult to pull off.
9. The Drums “Money”
Director M Blash called the finished product “absurdist.” That pretty much sums it up. The video exudes a distinct sense of outsider-ness. And while the surreal quality may disorient viewers, there’s inherent honesty derived from a seeming connection to the “money equals power” adage.
8. Bon Iver “Holocene”
Justin Vernon has described his songs as “soundscapes”, and the Icelandic landscapes throughout this video portray that beautifully. Bon Iver’s music has a way of making it seem like it’s just you, Justin, and vast empty spaces. And the song’s title, lyrics, and video all suggest that we, as individuals, are a small piece of something much greater.
7. Battles “My Machines”
Talk about getting mileage out of a simple slapstick routine. But the nuances give this video its weight. Gary Numan’s cameo. The drum kit wedged into the escalator. The child hesitant to take another step forward at the end. The photo, which suggests this man is falling in more ways than one. My heart breaks for the poor guy at the 2:27 mark. And then again at 2:53. So close. And yet…
6. Big Tree “Storm King”
As a band that keeps self-releasing its material, Big Tree spends a lot of time on the road. Just like the band, this video travels. Simply. Yet stunningly. Even the song itself musically jumps from one spot to another. The patterns and progression within the video are both natural and human, because to be motionless is to be lifeless. Listen to the band talk about the music video during an OpenAir interview.
5. Toro y Moi “How I Know”
Haunted houses. Curious kids. Ghostly mayhem. Great entertainment. Apparently I did not get enough of these things watching episodes of Scooby Doo.
4. Devotchka “The Man From San Sebastian”
Here you’ll find two artists embodying the diverse talent swelling in Colorado. Local artist Vincent Comparetto directed this piece, and he creates the perfect visual complement to Devotchka’s sound. The video’s greatest character is our Mile High City itself. Despite the setting limitations, Comparetto draws a lot of personality out of different Denver locales to capture a striking European vibe. And who doesn’t love a high-speed chase on mopeds?
3. St. Vincent “Cruel”
I get the clever early grave imagery. Utilizing dark and comedic elements, the video is a blatant statement on fitting the mold. But there’s also something about Annie Clark’s porcelain complexion covered in dirt that strikes me as an incredibly appropriate metaphor for the gritty direction she took on her new album, “Strange Mercy”. And bonus points for nabbing actor Ulysses S. Grant.
2. Justice “Audio, Video, Disco.”
Creative directing. Seamless editing. So many layers unfolding. Rather extravagant. You expect that with Justice. Above all, this video is brilliantly engaging, which lends itself to multiple views. I continually ask myself, “How’d they do that?”
1. Destroyer “Kaputt”
I’m a sucker for misdirection and the unexpected. And the 40-second mark here rivals any other top moment in music video history. This video is bizarre, yet so rich. From its settings to the animation, it is equally cinematic and theatrical. The concept explores the vanity of desiring the unattainable. And I keep returning to these scenes to further decipher their meanings.
M83 “Midnight City”- For fans of comic books and/or the supernatural. And because it’s one of 2011’s best songs.
Mister Heavenly “Bronx Sniper” - For people who still wish their toys would come to life.
TV on the Radio “You” - For people who understand that when Gerard Smith passed away this year, the band lost more than a bassist.
Real Estate “It’s Real” - For dog lovers.