Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Top Seven Music Videos of 2012

     We've finally hit 2013, and as promised, here is my list of the top seven music videos of 2012. (This should be obvious, but I'm mainly writing about pop music videos.) I wasn't able to embed the music videos here because Vevo doesn't want the videos played on other websites besides YouTube, so I posted the single cover art instead of the video. The URL to the video is right below the cover art.
7. Wide Awake | Katy Perry
     I cannot believe I stooped to Katy Perry's level... I have stated on this blog before that I, for some reason unbeknownst to me, enjoy Katy Perry's music. No, it's not deep or meaningful or thought-provoking, but it's catchy. (Please don't judge me.)  This video, however, actually impressed me. The video takes a look back at the entirety of the Teenage Dream era, with at least one element from each of the album's singles appearing in the video, such as the bicycle from "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)" or the firework flying out of her chest from "Firework." The fact that each of the singles from Teenage Dream was able to be weaved into a story line for the video of "Wide Awake" is pretty astounding, especially for a rather simplistic artist like Perry.
6. Die Young | Ke$ha
     Ke$ha has underwent some transformations this year. She used to be that drunken party girl that seemed to always be covered in glitter, but now she's trying to pass off as a deep songwriter and a complex artist of music videos. The video for "Die Young" is undoubtedly a nod towards the Illuminati, which scares me but also excites me. The Illuminati theme also adds to the demented theme of the video, which includes Ke$ha being the homicidal leader of a group and attempting to murder most of the members of this group. The video brings a whole new (and scary) meaning to the song, and I like it.
5. Power and Control | Marina and the Diamonds
     One of the many artists that caught my eye this year was Marina and The Diamonds, whose real name is Marina Diamandis. "Power & Control" was one of the first songs I heard by the Welsh singer, and I was thoroughly impressed with both the song and the video. There's not much of a plot to the video; it simply contains scenes of Diamandis and her boyfriend in a dark room. What I liked the most about this video were the camera angles and the dramatic scenes, which were almost chilling when paired with the song. I'm also going to throw it out there: Marina Diamandis is extremely attractive, so this video offers a bit of eye candy, if nothing else.
4. Blown Away | Carrie Underwood
     I'm not usually a fan of country music, minus Taylor Swift and Shania Twain, but Carrie Underwood has recently joined the list of country music artists that I enjoy. Her latest album, Blown Away, impressed me, while the video for the single of the same name amazed me. The video is a complete visual companion to the song, with both of them focusing on a girl being raised by her alcoholic father, and as a tornado hit the girl's town, she left her father to die in the house while she sought shelter. I'm probably going to embarrass myself by saying this, but the video was strong enough to make me tear up the first time I watched it. Underwood has easily surprised everyone in the nation, including myself, with the song and its video and I really enjoy the way that she used them to stray away from traditional country song topics like love, being a redneck, and good 'ole 'Merica.
3. National Anthem | Lana Del Rey
     Although I loved the video for "Born To Die," Lana Del Rey's videos began to get truly epic with the ones for "Summertime Sadness" and "National Anthem." The fact that the video mocks a love triangle between former President John F. Kennedy, former First Lady Jackie Kennedy Onassis, and Marilyn Monroe and allowed Lana to play duel roles of both Jackie O and Marilyn Monroe is astounding. I love the risky ideas that Lana used in this video, including the love triangle and pushing the envelope further with the inclusion of the assassination. However, the assassination itself wasn't graphically shown, but was rather focused on the reaction from Lana's character. I also love the authenticity of the video in the sense that she covered "Happy Birthday, Mr. President," in a similar dress to what Marilyn Monroe actually wore when she sang the song to John F. Kennedy in 1962. To add to that, Lana Del Rey also used some direct quotes from Jackie O at the end of the video while describing the assassination. It is quite apparent that all of these elements combined resulted in one great music video.
2. Summertime Sadness | Lana Del Rey
     This video is really intense, to the point that I got goosebumps the first time I saw it. The plot can be really touchy to some people, being that it includes two lesbian lovers killing themselves, with one jumping off of a high cliff and the other jumping off a bridge. From what I could tell, Lana kills herself first by jumping off of the cliff, and then is transformed into an angel-like figure surrounded in smoke, because after her girlfriend (played by Jaime King) dies, she also is transported to this cloudy, heavenly environment. The whole video is haunting, yet very enjoyable. It, however, only outshines the video for "National Anthem" because of its dramatic suicide scenes, which are shown in a cinematic yet respectful matter, much like the assassination scene of "National Anthem" was displayed.
1. Ride | Lana Del Rey
     Two other Lana Del Rey music videos have already made it onto this list, but the one for "Ride" is definitely superior to the ones for "Summertime Sadness" and "National Anthem" by a small margin. I loved the song when it was first released, and the plot of the video, along with the added monologue, complimented the song well. A lot of people have been tearing Lana Del Rey down after this video because she plays a prostitute in it, which really irritates me. The video is in no way, shape, or form endorsing that anybody should go out and be a prostitute, and I'm not sure why people can't understand that the true message of the video is to simply do what makes you happy in life. For Lana's character in the video, being a prostitute was what made her happy. It was never said that being a prostitute would be fun for everybody or that it is ideal, but it was simply what made her happy. Is it a strange metaphor? Yes, but viewers have to be smart enough to be able to turn that metaphor into a meaningful message like I have.


  1. You must understand your opposition before trying to confront it. I see the metaphor; I'm not illiterate or ignorant. But at the end of the day, do I care? No. Art isn't just about the message, but the way it's presented, and quite frankly, she picked the most incomplete way to present this message. She tried to make what could have been a beautiful message out of an ugly example, but she didn't show anything negative from her ugly example. She presented the situation positively because she enjoyed her lifestyle, and obviously had no concept of what she was from an outsider's view. So, really, it doesn't matter if she's trying to imply that prostitution is a wonderful lifestyle or not. Showing the only the *positives* she recognizes glorifies the subject, thus promoting it indirectly. That's all there is to it.

    I can't forgive her for that.

    This video had a lot of potential if she did decide to showcase the negatives, because then she wouldn't necessarily be saying "Look at me! I'm a prostitue, I'm happy about it, and look at how much happiness this has brought me!" Instead, she'd be personifying a more realistic view of people today doing what makes them happy even though in the end, it harms them more than anything. (This is also evident in drug abuse, alcoholism, etc.) If she showed the subject in a more realistic light, and did not glorify the situation with Lana Del Rey's nostalgic, artsy touch, there would be no problems evident in the content of the video. It would have been a lot more moving if she put in negatives, for only then would the idea of 'doing what makes her happy even if she is a prostitue' be truly enforced. Something that is all-around positive making her happy is a lot less groundbreaking than something negative. And of course, those negatives would need to be acknowledged .

    Honestly, I think you're turning into a Lana-bot. It doesn't matter what she does beyond this point, you're much too attached to her to ever say anything too negative about her. Sure, you might admit that she's not one of the best live performers out there, but in the musical world we live in, that's hardley a complaint.

  2. You bring up an interesting point, and you're right: the negatives probably should have been shown in the video. But on the other hand, the negatives of prostitution should be pretty-well known. I don't really want to have to argue the pros and cons of prostitution, though, because this blog could get a really bad reputation quickly...

    As for turning into a Lana-bot, I'm not afraid to admit that I am! (In no way, shape, or form can she meet my level of love for Lady Gaga, but she's definitely my second-favorite artist.) There are plenty of negatives that I could bring up about Lana Del Rey, but I'm not going to get started on those, either.


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