05. Kendrick Lamar – “Poetic Justice”

This video is like a multi-act play with titled sections dividing each scene (“enemigo,” “1 missed call,” “love hurts”), but the plot of it isn’t really clear. It also seems to rely on every filming trick in the book: slow motion, crowd pans, over-the-shoulder shots, split-screens and double-takes. But it manages to elevate Lamar’s rapid wordplay to voice-over status: like Robert Dinero’s monologue at the end of Taxi Driver, Lamar becomes an omniscient presence whose thoughts are synced to images of crime, love and disappointment. The clip tries really hard to be cinematic, and in the end, it succeeds. Also I feel like Drake is always sitting on beds in music videos. Why does everyone always make you sit on beds, Drake? – LP
 


04. Drake – “Started From The Bottom”

There’s so much going on in this video: the majestic soccer opening, the white car, the soft bed of snow, those pants, the retail job uniform, the (lame) dialogue scene. When Drake first released this track, many were quick to point out that Drake’s “bottom” looks more like this than anything particularly horrifying or traumatic. This video, with its playful evocation of a drab but comfy middle class existence, is yet another sign that Drake is at least a little more self-aware than people give him credit for. He’s not saying, “Look how much I suffered.” He’s saying, “This was my bottom. What’s yours?” – DJ
 


03. Dinosaur Jr. – “Pierce The Morning Rain”

This Scott Jacobson-directed video features an all-star cast including Henry Rollins, mom-voice extraordinaire Maria Bamford, and race cars. I could stop there and you’d probably be sold. The clip stars James Urbaniak as a vibration-obsessed nerd who buys giant speakers for his car, allowing him to travel to a pink-clouded alternate dimension where he gets head-butted by Henry Rollins. Urbaniak and Bamford also swap some spit at the end, if you’re into that. – LP
 


02. Beach House – “Wishes”

Between this and the “Bubble Butt” video, Eric Wareheim really deserves a medal. I’m not sure what kind of metal—probably something sticky—but if there’s a reward for directing bizarre but oddly beautiful and moving videos, lets give it to this guy. “Wishes” is a relatively benign and pretty Beach House song, but under Wareheim’s perpetually creepy gaze, the song is transformed into a haunting and absurd romp. No video this year has left me so joyfully confused. – DJ
 


01. Earl Sweatshirt – “Chum”

You probably remember the first time you saw the video for “Earl.” Maybe you were reading a message board. Maybe you were hanging out with some friends looking at weird YouTube videos. Maybe a co-worker sent you the link, a little chat window popping up like a branch from a tree that invites you into a whole new world. It was one of the few videos of the last decade that actually felt urgent and strange—maybe even important? Earl Sweatshirt will never be able to recapture that moment—you only make your first impression once—but the video for “Chum” is rewarding in new and different ways. Where “Earl” is brash and juvenile, “Chum” is stark and reflective. Where “Earl” was jarring and explosive, “Chum” is simple and moving. As a statement of purpose it’s ambiguous and perpelxing, but as a video it’s just about perfect. – DJ