Police brutality, domestic violence, the refugee crisis, dad dancing and hallucinogenic drug experiences were all explored in the music cinematography of the past year.

Police brutality, domestic violence, the refugee crisis, dad dancing and hallucinogenic drug experiences were all explored in the music cinematography of the past year.

It was quite a political year for music videos with the refugee crisis, police brutality and domestic violence all presented in creative and thought-provoking new ways. As ever, music videos provided the perfect platform for directors to experiment and there was trippy cinematography, graphics and CGI in equal measures. Although, sometimes, it transpired, the most moving footage is simply the portrait of a pained face or the raw footage from a club. Here are some of our favourites. Enjoy.

FKA Twigs – M3LL155X

A 16.33-minute self-directed video that comprises four songs off Twigs’ EP – ‘Figure 8’, ‘I’m Your Doll’, ‘In Time’ and ‘Glass & Patron’ – and cements the British artist as the auteur of a new cyber-goth aesthetic. Chris Cunningham watch out.

Jamie XX – Loud Places

Romy and Jamie from The XX skate around London in this atmospheric night edit from Simon Halsall and JB Babenhausen. An ode to the hidden corners of the city and the people who experience them.

A$AP Rocky – L$D

Rocky and Dexter Navy collaborated on this kaleidoscopic visual soundtrack to trippy anthem L$D. Shot in Japan the hallucinogenic cinematography bears more than a striking resemblance to Gasper Noe’s Enter The Void.

MIA – Borders

A controversial self-directed video from British artist MIA that stylises the difficult imagery of the European refugee crisis – fences, barbed wire, boats, faceless people – and brings the horror into a new light.

SIA – Alive

The iconically blonde-bobbed singer-songwriter parts ways with long-time video star Maddie Zeigler to team up with 9-year-old karate kid Mahiro Takano for this Danny Askill co-directed video all about female power.

Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment – Nothing Came To Me

I dare you to try and not fall in love with Cara Delevingne’s face in this experimental video from Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment, a super group consisting of Donnie Trumpet, Chance The Rapper, Peter Cottontale, Greg Landfair Jr. and Nate Fox.

FIDLAR – 40.oz on Repeat

An ingenious montage of iconic music videos recreated, quite accurately, in a lo-fi way; the walls of the Jamiroquai ‘Virtual Reality’ room and lockers of Britney’s ‘Hit Me Baby’ all made out of paper, for example.

Craig David x Big Narstie – When The Bassline Drops (Ravers Edition)

This is for my ravers! Craig David’s unexpected tie-up with Big Narstie is right up there with the our guiltiest pleasures of the year. Re-rewind! Re-rewind!

Skepta – Shutdown

A tribute to the London architecture, fashion and grime scene that has propelled Skepta into international recognition, directed by Grace La Doja.

Darkstar – The Days Burn Blue dir Lucy Luscombe

A surreal exploration of working class youth dreams deferred. Coupled with Darkstar’s tripped out, sometimes moody, sometimes giddily excited electro-scape, director Lucy Luscombe beautifully shows stories of collective memory without a drop of saccharine sentimentality.

Run The Jewels feat. Zack de la Rocha – Close Your Eyes (And Count To F**k)

A white cop and an unarmed civilian fight in this delicately choreographed and disturbing video directed by A.G. ROJAS, dealing with the very-real issue of institutional racism and violence in the US police force.

Kendrick Lamar – Alright

If you haven’t got Kendrick Lamar’s video for ‘Alright’ on your best of year list, what are you smoking? The Compton rapper’s trippy but poignant monochrome video confronts police brutality with a message of power and hope.

David Bowie – Blackstar

Musically, it might be way off Bowie’s best, but his 10 minute surreal epic video for ‘Blackstar’ is so far-out it’s brilliant.

Tame Impala – The Less I know The Better

Featuring cunnilingus and sensual silver screen sex scenes starring a massive gorilla, ‘The Less I know The Better’ is definitely NSFW. Possibly Tame Impala’s best video since the mesmerising ‘Feels Like We Only Go Backwards’?

Floating Points – Silhouettes

Sam Shepherd aka Floating Points’ debut album //Elaenia expands on the immersive, minimal soundscapes he’s been putting out for years. This video for lead single ‘Silhouettes’ brilliantly captures the dreamlike aura of his music.

Björk – Mouth Mantra

Artists are always trying to reveal what’s going on in their heads, but few have taken the task quite so literally as Björk, whose video for Mouth Mantra is filmed almost entirely inside her own mouth.

Drake – Hotline Bling (the spoofs)

Drake’s video for Hotline Bling was one of the most widely mocked videos of the year – thanks to the Canadian’s rappers original dance moves. Predictably, the internet had a field day ripping it to shreds. Here are some of the best pisstakes.

Son Lux – Change is Everything

Who knew 200 push pins and 500 feet of rubberised thread could be so emotional? Totally breathtaking stop-motion work by animator Nathan Jones transforms both the song and the visuals into something far greater than its parts: a work of synchronised music video art.

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