The week between Christmas and New Years Eve isn’t real. It’s where time and space stretch and thin to a borderline fantasy world. Money hardly moves. Phones seldom ring. The streets are (generally) uncongested. In fact, it’s the best time of year to be in Los Angeles because all of the transplants leave for the holidays. For that, I must acknowledge the elephant in the room: I never sent out the 12th day of the cmd+vent calendar. Please accept my apologies; you’ll have it before the end of this year. Consider it an extra treat over the weekend.
For the final Friday of 2017, there isn’t much going on musically. While I have dug up some tunes that’ve likely slipped under your radar, I’m not going to be sharing those with you today. Instead, I am doing what I swore I wouldn’t - a “year end roundup.” Yeehaw!
This isn’t your ordinary round up though - nay, this one consists a list of my top 15 favorite music videos released in 2017 for very specific reasons. I started compiling this list back in November, before I dreamt up the idea of cmd+vent, and honestly, I knew you’d feel cheated if I didn’t share this list with you.
Please reach out to me via the handy dandy contact page on the cmd+f website, or on Twitter with your thoughts about any of the tracks I’ve selected this week. As you already know, I love chatting about music. Let me in on your new favorite band; they’re looking for new fans, too!
As always, you know the drill: if you like what you hear, spread the cheer. Tell your friends about the songs you liked in this letter, but most importantly, let the artists know. There’s a good chance they’ll see your comments. Let them know how good their tunes are, and they’ll crank out even more magic.
P.S. If you would like to have this letter sent to your email every Friday, please head over to this link right here to subscribe to never miss a weekly roundup!
-Best Makeup | “Atletico” - Rae Morris
I initially placed Rae’s “Reborn” video under this slot until the “Atletico” single dropped. In this video she roams the streets of New Orleans donning a coppery red cat eye under a blinding spotlight that washes out her face. What sounds like Vampira-chic actually is an effortless cool that actually makes her blue eyes POP. Paired with a barely there but definitely noticeable Yves Klein Blue mascara, it’s having me reconsider my entire makeup kit when traveling next year. Are we leaving the "play it safe" makeup trend behind in 2017?
-Best Original Screenplay | “Selfish Love” - Jessie Ware
Bitch...I want to live in this god damn music video. Homegirl Jessie lays out an intricate and intimate display of a marriage falling apart at a luxurious Spanish estate. Jessie’s swaddled in mid-20th century inspired clothing, ignoring her sexy but obviously trite husband, and settles the score with him all in 4 minutes. Almost convinced Tom Ford drafted the storyboard for this video.
-Best Use of Boomerang Clips | “Say My Name” - Tove Styrke
“Say My Name” is still one of my top 5 favorite songs released this year. The vibrant video grasps the cheerful, bold attitude striped over the song. Tove sways to the beat in an endless succession of clips barely a second long each. The video comes across as effortless with the monochrome backgrounds and ACNE wardrobe, but was likely an editing nightmare. Someone get Stefan a round of shots, please. He deserves it.
-Best Location Scouting | “Perfect Places” - Lorde
Like Jessie’s video above, I’d also love to live inside the locations of the “Perfect Places” video. Whomever did the location scouting for this video had a lot to live up to considering the song title – and they nailed it. Shot on a resort in Jamaica, I’m suddenly itching for another vacation.
-Best Use of Incorporating Los Angeles Architecture, Raf Simons’ Visions for Calvin Klein, and a Stranger Things Star | “I Dare You” - The xx
I mean, the superlative says it all. Emma-Watson-in-training Millie Bobby Brown is hardly the star of this video. There’re also appearances by Ashton Sanders, Paris Jackson, Ernesto Cervantes, Lulu, and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Sowden House! The xx deemed this video as a love letter to Los Angeles, and that it very much is. Though highly idealized with warm tones and the somewhat organically manicured Hollywood Hills, it shows LA at its best.
-Best Visuals of Dacre Montgomery Looking Like an Idyllic Boyfriend for 4 minutes and 49 seconds | “Chateau” - Angus and Julia Stone
Second best use of a Stranger Things star goes to Angus and Julia Stone’s “Chateau” starring Dacre Montgomery, aka the leather jacket, Fabio mullet MILF bait Billy from season 2 of Stranger Things. The video’s a rom com road trip in the deep south, featuring a very beautiful, young couple smooching on every possible surface, cuddling in a drop-top convertible, and crashing a wedding. Sounds corny, but every once in a while there’s great wine with a little cheese.
-Best Use of Lil Kim Wigs | “LMK” - Kelela
Kelela went full on Lil Kim Wig in this video, and I am eternally grateful. All of the visuals for “LMK” scream Y2K steez: a bold colored hallway, a “futuristic” inspired wardrobe (including spaghetti straps and The Matrix-esque sunglasses). Oh, and there’s choreography for time occupied in this hallway! The video ends at Diddy’s White Party in a flurry of flower petals falling from the ceiling, and honestly, it looks like heaven.
-Best Norman Bates Covered in Confetti Glitter Impression | “My Smile Is Extinct” - Kane Strang
This video had barely 100k views when I initially stumbled upon it this summer, now look at it grow! My favorite thing about this video is how fucking EXTRA and melodramatic the lyrics are for how utterly indifferent he appears in the music video. In fact, he looks like he is about to drop dead any moment, and I commend this commitment to being that furious. My guess is Kane Strang is a Scorpio.
-Best Carl Barât Cameo | “Boys” - Charli XCX
Did you even notice Carl Barat was in this video? Do you even know who Carl Barat is? The “Boys” video was an instant viral hit, and I must say I had hearts in my eyes for a few weeks after it came out. This video is one for the pop history books, kiddos.
-Best Video to Fulfill My Wildest Goth Fantasies | “Little Dark Age - MGMT
Presented without comment.
-Best Use of Cotton Candy | “As If It’s Your Last” BLACKPINK
This video has cotton candy everything - from literally mounds of floss, to a soft aura of cotton candy pink glowing over every frame of the video. I remember the internet went absolutely nuts when this song dropped this year. While the concept doesn’t differ much from most KPop group music videos, the song still goes off.
-Best Biotin Advert | “Honey Sweet” - Blossoms
Biotin, not Bitcoin - biotin. The Blossoms dudes have the lushest locks of hair in the game, and they let those manes fly in the wind for the “Honey Sweet” video. The video is essentially the band cycling around an overcast English town (I’m guessing near Manchester somewhere??), until they stumble upon Doc Brown’s DeLorean locked away in a storage unit. What year is it again?
-Best “Always Wear a Helmet” PSA | “Motion Sickness” - Phoebe Bridgers
The juxtaposition of this seemingly OTT preparation for a karaoke stint (suit and tie, helmet on a scooter to the bar, and singing your lungs out in the mic until your pass out), and the earnest anxieties unraveling in the lyrics of “Motion Sickness” makes this one of my favorite videos of the year. Phoebe is a phenomenal songwriter who’s also got a great sense of humor.
-Best Politically Active Music Video | “Feel It Still” Portugal. The Man
First of all, “Feel It Still” was the surprise blockbuster indie hit of 2017 that seemingly came out of left field, but that bassline is undeniable, y’all. I remember when the interactive music video first dropped for this bop earlier in the year (shortly after 45’s inauguration), and the video inserted 30 tools to “fight apathy and injustice” to spot when viewing the music video. I honestly watched it 10 times that night trying to find the hidden tools all in one go, over and over again. The concept is cool as hell.
-Best Video That’s On Everyone Else’s “Best Of” Lists | “HUMBLE.” - Kendrick Lamar
I’m wrapping this shit up with the King of Greatness: KDot. Kendrick ushered in a new era with this surprise single release back in March. The visuals for “HUMBLE.” are fierce as fuck, sparred with busy patterns of bodies and sun-soaked empty spaces with each frame holding Kendrick at the center of the screen for nearly the entire video. The immediate charge and feeling evoked from the video is immense, too. Kendrick stands out in every clip he’s in: from the only head with cornrows in a sea of bald heads, to the only one in a white hoodie in a group of people in fitted black tees with heads wrapped in kerosene-dipped ropes, to Kendrick seated at the seat of Jesus in a reenactment of da Vinci’s The Last Supper. Kendrick knows he’s at the top of his game and can be picked out of the crowd, but knows he can’t let the notoriety get to his head. The visuals are so clear cut and stunning, it’s damn right deserving of being in virtually every 2017 music video roundup I’ve seen.
If you’re interested in hearing what else I’ve been rinsing this month (aside from the tracks listed above), peep my personal December 2017 playlist. There I will be dumping in new (and occasionally throw back) tracks as the month carries on. You can dive into the cmd+f archive to hear what I’ve been listening to in previous months this year.
A(lmost a)ll of the tracks I’ve shared in past cmd+f newsletters are archived into a single playlist on Spotify for you to follow here. I will be creating a brand new playlist for the 2018 year starting next week.
See you next week, and Happy New Year!