This week, CityBeat writers shared their favorite albums of the year. But we're not done making lists. Here, cantankerous music writer Seth Combs gives you his 10 worst music videos of the year.
10.) Lykke Li "I Follow Rivers"
Wow, I'm not sure what director Talik Saleh said to Li when they were discussing the treatement for this video, but I would imagine it went something like this: "So, Lykke, I can call you Lykke, right? OK, so the chorus of the song goes 'I'll follow you,' so I was thinking we'd have you following somebody. Brilliant, right? Oh, and we'll do it in the snow. I was thinking you could lose your shoes at one point, but don't worry, we'll have a stunt double with nice feet for that scene. One more thing—I was thinking we could hire the most amateur camera crew in all of Great Britain. That way it'll be all shakey and artsy looking. I know one guy with multiple sclerosis. He'd be great."
9.) Justice "Civilization"
This has got to be one of the stupidest videos masking itself as profundity I've ever seen. You know what, guys? We just want to see you bang it out surrounded by a bunch of hot club chicks that us straight guys will never have a chance of fucking. The minute you start making videos about the struggles of mankind, that's when we know you've jumped the tatanka.
8.) Victoria S "Voyeur"
Anybody remember the movie Sliver ? If you do, be warned: This is worse.
7.) Turisas "Stand Up and Fight"
I was thinking about throwing Alternate Reality's "The King That Never Was" on this list, but it looks like pretty much everyone has caught on to its awesome awfulness. (Seriously, if you haven't seen it yet, Google it NOW. It's like the fist-pumpers from Stingaree playing at a Medieval Times restaurant.) So, I'll go with this gem instead. Starts out pretty strong: The desert. Epic rocking. War paint on the face. Kick-ass vehicle probably left over from Beyond Thunderdome . Everything's going pretty great when, bam!, the dude starts singing. The pouring rain sticks your hair to your face? Hate to break it to you there, Chief, but you're in the middle of the desert with a bunch of leather on. That's not rain, that's sweat. Oh, wait, please tell me they don't have an accordion player?! FUCK, MAKE IT STOP!
6.) Amy Kuney "Gasoline Rainbows"
"Gasoline Rainbows" is the type of song where the writer (in this case, Kuney) comes up with what they think is a clever title before writing it and then works from there. It's a contrived piece of po(o)p that Walmart shoppers can pleasently ignore while looking for the best deal on toilet paper. So how could the accompanying video be worse? Director Ryan Costa uses every bit of music-video cheese available. Shots of forlorn singer at the piano? Check. Slow-motion lip-syncing walks around the city? You bet. Epic shot of the singer overlooking the city? Got it. What's supposed to be a profound statement on pollution (I think?) turns into the musical equivalent of an oil-soaked baby duck. It makes me want to buy incandescent light bulbs and pitch cigarettes butts out of my car just to spite her.
5.) Niki & The Dove "The Drummer"
Kate Bush and Stevie Nicks called. They want their everything back.
4.) George Michael "True Faith"
It was recently reported that George Michael is sick with pneumonia, but I'm beginning to think that he was sick all the way back in March when this steaming stream of goo was skeeted upon the world as if it were the door to a men's room stall. Highlights include colored cloud people doing ballet, Michael using Auto-Tune and glancing longingly at the camera. The result is even more painful to watch than Ricky Gervais' character's cover of "If You Don't Know Me By Now" on the original BBC version of The Office .
3.) Lady Gaga "Judas"
Gaga's "Like a Prayer" phase came a little early and, initially, to borrow a phrase from Keith Moon, went over like a lead balloon. The second clip from "Born This Way" was ready to be premiered on the night of May 1 when the increasingly Adderall-deprived Gaga tweeted, "Are monsters ready for me to announce the premiere of The Judas Video?" Yeah, no one was really ready, because most people had left fucking Mosterville and was pretty much glued to their TVs, watching Obama's speech on the killing of Osama Bin Laden. People thought it was kind of insensitive and Gaga did some quick damage control. Needless to say, when the clip was premiered, in all of its Carlton Dance meets Sons of Anarchy glory, no one really cared except maybe a few hardcore Catholics. Burning crosses and making out with a black Jesus. Now, that's how you get attention while also telling the terrorists that they'll never win.
2.) Yeasayer "I Remember"
It really sucks when your favorite song on an album is absolutely ruined by the video. In the case of "I Remember," a tender, electro-tinged ballad about the burden of hindsight, a nice artful video of the band playing live would have been just fine. But noooooooo, it's time to get artsy. Actually, don't even watch the video. It's just that nonsensical. I'll tell you what happens: A redneck washes his motorcycle in slow motion for about the first minute. He then takes a ride through the desert, where it seems like he's just wandering around with no real direction, but he's actually on a mission to find the real treasure: A sculpture of his face (seemingly done by the blind woman from Lionel Richie's "Hello" video). He smashes the sculpture with a crowbar, which was apparently a no-no, because it lets out some kind of poisonous purple gas. Our hero looks like he's done for, crumbling to the ground as if dead. But not to worry: A hot Brazilian chick will enter shortly and lick his face and dry hump him until he's raised like Lazarus with a bar mitzvah to get to. Wow, I can't believe I watched this twice to make sure I had all the details right. FML.
1.) Rebecca Black-"Friday"
Yeah, yeah, I know it's kind of a predictable choice, but consider this: more than 15 million people have watched this video on YouTube alone. 15 MILLION! Black also made over a million bucks this year. That's pretty frightening. And while I'd love to remain as humorous as possible about all of this, I just can't help but get very, very hysterical. Sure, Black isn't the first pop "star" that can't sing, dance, play an instrument or any of the other things that have historically been required, but what she represents is a prolongation, or perhaps even a plateau, in society's tendency to forgive, and sometimes even embrace, mediocrity. Whether it's our acceptance of things like the deterioration of the news media or the fact that people like the Kardashians and the Hiltons are celebrities, the problem doesn't simply lie with a delusional 14-year-old girl who can't sing. It's with us. By building these people up, even if we're expressing our disgust (such as I'm doing right now), we enable the idiot mouth-breathers of the world to continuously bombard us with shit music, shit television, shit news and shit movies—because they know we'll just keep eating it up. To watch "Friday" is to watch the decline of western civilization in three minutes and 48 seconds. To accept that when it comes to art, talent really does come second and that, if there's a car crash to stare at, we'll always stop and look. Here's a thought: Don't look. It's way more fun, fun, fun.