The Best Music Videos of 2013

By Staff • December 28, 2013

From Miley’s zeitgeist-stealer, to Bob Dylan and Beyoncé’s December surprises, to Earl Sweatshirt’s L.A.-noir double bill, here are the clips we couldn’t turn away from this year.


1. Disclosure – “You & Me”

2. Bob Dylan – “Like a Rolling Stone”

3. Kanye West – “Bound 2”

4. Fiona Apple – “Hot Knife”

5. FIDLAR – “Cocaine”

6. Earl Sweatshirt – “Hive”

7. David Bowie – “The Stars (Are Out Tonight)”

8. FKA Twigs – “Water Me”

9. Arcade Fire – “Reflektor”

10. Beach House – “Wishes”

It takes a lot to get me to watch a music video these days. Case in point: just two nights ago, I finally surrendered and watched the full “Blurred Lines” clip, because the commercial had always felt like enough (my general feeling after seeing it: but T.I.’s terrific old-man shuffle aside, that’s a lot of awkward dancing!)

So when faced with the task of assembling a year-end list of videos, I felt like I had to go back and watch everything else I’d missed, just to see if any previously unseen gems would change my rankings. I did come across a few of those (Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ “Sacrilege,” Chance the Rapper’s “Everybody’s Something”), but ultimately I wound up with 10 clips that I’d already seen and loved months ago. Whether they got me excited about a new artist, added a whole other dimension to a song I’d previously ignored, or were just plainly, groundbreakingly awesome (and yes I do put “Bound 2” in that latter category), these videos grabbed my attention and held it. As impressive as Bob Dylan’s out-of-the-blue video is, Disclosure’s “You & Me” is just a gorgeous-looking visual that makes me wistfully nostalgic for my Anglophilic, MTV Amp-watching days. I could stare at that girl’s face (and hair) for hours—kind of how I find endless entertainment at the sight of Fiona Apple glowing in Cinemascope, giant bobbleheads disco dancing or or Nick Offerman pissing willy nilly. Sometimes—actually, almost all the time—it’s that simple.


Ciara – “Body Party”

Bob Dylan – “Like a Rolling Stone”

Miley Cyrus – “We Can’t Stop”

Tyler, The Creator – “IFHY”

Janelle Monae – “Q.U.E.E.N.”

Earl Sweatshirt – “Chum”

I didn’t number my selections because I’m a music purist at heart, and it’s near impossible to separate my love of song from its accompanying visuals. (Sorry to the co-workers I imparted this tragedy on.) But the reason for not ranking is because the one video I cherished the most, I returned to so often, was released late last year. The crown belongs to acid-pop singer Connan Mockasin, who released the phenomenal visuals for “Faking Jazz Together” last October, only for me to discover it earlier this year. I haven’t been this enamored by a music video in some time. It’s spooky, ethereal, cloudy, spiritual, all wrapped in a four-minute experience. There’s no need to describe. This is one for the feels. If you plan on exiting 2013 in style, make sure you do it with this video in your emotional spank bank. Thank me later.


1. Wampire – “The Hearse”

2. Bob Dylan – “Like a Rolling Stone”

3. Franz Ferdinand – “Evil Eye”

4. MS MR – “Hurricane”

5. Ty Segall – “The Man Man”

6. Vampire Weekend – “Diane Young”

7. Arcade Fire – “Reflektor”

8. MGMT – “Your Life Is a Lie”

9. Miley Cyrus – “We Can’t Stop”

10. NGHBRS – “Hold Up Girl”

Love is a funny thing. Why we fall for the people we do—I could never explain it. If only it were easier to listen to your head rather than your heart. Wampire’s video for “The Hearse” (off their 2013 debut Curiosity) is an erotic thriller, in which a girl falls for a psycho killer who shoots her, kidnaps her, ties her up and leaves her to die in a burning home. Swoon, right? As I said, love is a funny thing, and the best kinds are unexplainable. But what makes “The Hearse” my favorite of the year—aside from the chilling plot twist—is its incredibly spot-on ’80s aesthetic, which takes a dip into Lynchian territory. The lighting is fuzzy and the shadows are overdramatic (as is the blood) but they’re all part of the campiness I enjoy.

And the camp just continues on my list of favorites from 2013. See the Diane Martel-directed torture porn clip, “Evil Eye,” the creepy crawly Ty Segall vid, “The Man Man” or the also Lynchian “Hurricane,” which has Twin Peaks written all over it. Even Arcade Fire’s “Reflektor” is noir chic, while “Diane Young” and “Your Life Is a Lie” are of the slightly off-kilter nature. And yes, Miley’s iconic “We Can’t Stop” gets bloody bizarre too. But it would be a shame to leave out the technologically pioneering videos of the year, like the brilliantly interactive one for Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone,” which finally got a video treatment 48 years later—certainly proving better late than never (or earlier, even). NGHBRS, too, took advantage of modern technology, going DIY with a deliciously clever Instagram clip (I mean, it is 2013, after all).

A round of applause for all of these. Who says people don’t watch music videos anymore?


1. Earl Sweatshirt – “Hive”

2. Drake – “Started From the Bottom”

3. Kanye West – “Black Skinhead”

4. Drake – “Worst Behavior”

5. Justin Timberlake – “Mirrors”

6. Beach House – “Wishes”

7. Miley Cyrus – “We Can’t Stop”

8. Migos – “Versace”

9. Arcade Fire – “Reflektor”

10. Robin Thicke – “Blurred Lines (Unrated Version)”

Hot naked girls. The gritty essence of Memphis. Youthful exuberance on steroids. Meathead CGI-generated avatars. The year offered plenty in regards to memorable music videos. But the one that stuck with me the most was Earl Sweatshirt’s “Hive.” Hiro Murai’s visual depicted a cold and desolate Los Angeles terrorized by kids in scary Halloween masks. It was stark and unpredictable, and fit the song’s tone perfectly.


1. Beyonce – Beyoncé

2. Robin Thicke – “Blurred Lines”

3. Bob Dylan – “Like a Rolling Stone”

4. Pharrell – “Happy”

5. Earl Sweatshirt – “Chum”

6. Kanye West – “Bound 2”

7. Miley Cyrus – “Wrecking Ball”

8. Drake – “Worst Behavior”

9. Ylvis – “The Fox (What Does the Fox Say)”

10. Run the Jewels – “A Christmas Fucking Miracle”

Album of the year? Maybe. Video of the year? Absolutely. Beyoncé’s Beyoncé project was a lot of things—an October December surprise for AOTY contenders (and list makers), a jolt for the flagging music industry, a godsend for millions of fans, a redefinition of all things Beyoncé and a truly formidable collection of music, but it was the videos (which I’m counting here as one), even more than the surprise release or the quality of the tracks, that sent Beyoncé into the stratosphere. I was at a party on Christmas Eve discussing the project (have we talked about anything else these past two weeks?) and a friend suggested that no other artist could pull off a similar stunt with as much success for one simple fact: who else would you pay to watch for 17 videos? Kanye was the only artist who came to mind, but in order for ‘Ye to make it compelling, he’d have to enlist blockbuster directors and blockbuster budgets for every clip. What made Beyoncé so great—and my video of the year—is that we don’t need anything from her in order to want to watch. Just put Beyoncé in front of the lens—at Coney Island, on the beach, wherever—let the camera roll and repeat. Perfect.


1. Extrawelt – “Breedle”

2. Miley Cyrus – “We Can’t Stop”

3. Flaming Lips – “You Lust”

4. Atoms For Peace – “Before Your Very Eyes”

5. Gesaffelstein – “Pursuit”

6. Ylvis – “The Fox (What Does the Fox Say)”

7. David Bowie – “The Stars (Are Out Tonight)”

8. Beach House – “Wishes”

9. Bob Dylan – “Like a Rolling Stone”

10. Queens of the Stone Age – “…Like Clockwork”

I almost put “We Can’t Stop” in the top slot—when that video first came out, before all the Miley Cyrus oversaturation, there was this moment of “WTF is she doing?” But the more I thought about it, the more I decided to put Extrawelt’s “Breedle” at No. 1, as it’s a magnificent work of art that deserves more attention. “We Can’t Stop” was merely the beginning of a summer full of “LOOK AT ME!” moments from Miley. There’s enough Miley-related content floating around on year-end lists.

A true labor of love, German director Denial of Service spent four months playing around with programming formula to create the constantly shifting landscape. The level of detail, particularly with the shadowing, is incredible; you really feel as though you’re flying over some strange alien landscape. In total, over 1000 hours of rendering via open source raytracers were needed to bring the video to fruition. I have no idea what that last sentence means—I just plucked it from the video description—but it sounds super impressive.

Because of the staggering attention to detail, it’s easy to fall into the world Denial of Service has created over and over again. Just make sure that when you watch, it’s in HD on fullscreen. And be warned, if you’re watching this at work and staring really hard at your monitor, your coworkers might think you’re on drugs.


1. Drake – “Started From the Bottom”

2. Ski Lodge – “Boy”

3. Action Bronson – “Strictly For My Jeeps”

4. James Blake – “Retrograde

5. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis – “Same Love

6. Earl Sweatshirt feat. Vince Staples and Casey Veggies – “Hive”

7. Phoenix – “Trying to be Cool”

8. Tyler, the Creator – “IFHY”

9. A-Trak and Tommy Trash – “Tuna Melt”

10. The Weeknd – “28”

With my 2013 music video list, I did my best to separate the song from the video. This is a list of my favorite music videos of 2013.


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265 772 9
  1. beehgodoi
    Betânia Godoi Connect with me and I connect back :3
  2. B1msat84
    Denis Garant What kind of pic is that, with Milley kissing a doll, like a love scene in a hot tub. That is nasty and giving off a bad impression to today's youth as a shinning example of filth, like Madonna started in the eighty's.
  3. lindseyfarwell
    Lindsey Farwell Lee Mills - no I love Chinese Food!?!
  4. Jenifer.halls
    Jenifer halls hi.. get instagram followers today.. for free. using this tool
  5. The.Authoritarian
    The Authoritarian The year that Video finally killed the radio star
  6. Pazhigov
    Kazbek hi
  7. asmaa.serag.ali
  8. hellokitty2328
    Raymond Rhoades i never heard of instagram
  9. BritneyfeatRihanna
    Xiejiuyuan where is work bitch ?:(

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