The 20 Best Music Videos Of 2017
The beloved, the undiscovered and the just plain bonkers.
2017’s been a fascinating time for music videos — as the years go on, the artform continues to find new ways to stay relevant and, in some cases, inextricable from the music itself. It would be basically impossible to go through every single video that has made an impression this year, but here’s hoping this list of 20 will do.
No OK Go here, though – we’re implementing a Hottest 100-esque disqualification for their corporate endorsement. Kirin J Callinan’s ‘Big Enough’ also won’t be making the cut — read Music Junkee’s latest primer as to why that is. These 20 videos served as some of the best visual accompaniments to 2017 — some beloved, some undiscovered and some that are just plain bonkers.
Some honourable mentions that didn’t make the cut: ‘New Rules,’ ‘New York,’ ‘I’m the One,’ ‘Lemon,’ ‘Show You the Way,’ ‘Paradise,’ the Michael Cera video, any video starring Aaron Gocs.
The Best Music Videos Of 2017
!!! — ‘Dancing is the Best Revenge’
A fabulous, full-volume celebration of LA drag culture, party-starters !!! drove their exclamation points home with this joyously camp affair. Prepare yourself for some serious costume envy, from the massive wigs all the way down to Nic Offer’s bold choice of baby-blue cheesecutters. A perfect reflection of the song’s message.
Charli XCX – ‘Boys’
Perhaps the most famous music video of 2017 — and with very good reason. Through a string of favours, pulled strings and use of celebrity Tinder, Ms. XCX pulled together a stunning bevvy of beautiful boys for everyone to collectively swoon over. Our all-Aussie casting was pretty damn sweet, too.
Charly Bliss – ‘Scare U’
Released on Friday the 13th, American indie-rockers Charly Bliss got decidedly haunted for the fourth single from their debut LP, Guppy. A direct homage to Buffy The Vampire Slayer, ‘Scare U’ starts out innocent and then gets real scary — a bit like the band, when you think about it.
The Chats – ‘Smoko’
The music video that stopped a nation — for the period on which the nation is allowed to have a break while at their place of work. Seriously, though, what’s not to love about this VHS-quality rip-snorter? If you’re not immediately charmed by The Chats’ efforts, then LEAVE ME ALONE!
Confidence Man – ‘Better Sit Down Boy’
Let the record clearly state that Confidence Man are the horniest band in Australian music right now. There is no contest. They wear this title proudly, as this muscle-clad video testifies to. Balls are flying, biceps are flexing, butts are wiggling… it’s all happening, and it’s absolutely wonderful to watch. Ring-a-ding-ding.
Horrorshow — ‘Eat The Cake’
Melbourne sketch comedy troupe Aunty Donna have had a bumper year of sold-out shows and viral videos. This, to make a groan-inducing pun, was the icing on the cake. Playing disgruntled chefs to Horrorshow’s waiters, the trio get themselves into all kinds of comedic chaos. The end result? Fucking delicious.
Jen Cloher – ‘Regional Echo’
Welcome to Goulburn — population 22,000, home of the Big Merino and hometown of Andrew “Bones” Sloane; who plays bass for both Courtney Barnett and Jen Cloher. In this stunningly-shot video, Sloane goes home and takes in the surrounds of the Southern Tablelands. Magpies, merinos and a lot of skateboarding.
Kendrick Lamar – ‘DNA.’ + ‘ELEMENT.’ + ‘HUMBLE.’
Damnx, it’s a three-way tie — no way in hell are we choosing between Kendrick’s hat trick for best video. Each brings its own remarkable aesthetic and energy to the song, allowing the conceptuality of DAMN. to truly come to life. Nobody praying for him, but Lamar deserves endless praise.
Linkin Park – ‘One More Light’
In the wake of Chester Bennington’s death, this was an incredibly difficult video to watch. Regardless of what you thought of the band or even their latest album, ‘One More Light’ is a reflection of what Chester’s words and his music meant to people. It’s all in their eyes. RIP.
Mere Women – ‘Tin Rooves’
Sydney band Mere Women have always done things a little differently, and not necessarily always to a captive audience. The video for ‘Tin Rooves,’ then, serves as a tribute of sorts to creative types that leave it all out on the line. It’s full of unspeakable truths and unspeakable beauty.
Parekh and Singh – ‘Ghost’
Having become a viral sensation in their native India with their Wes Anderson-aping video for ‘I Love You Baby, I Love You Doll,’ Calcutta’s Parekh and Singh picked up exactly where they left off with ‘Ghost.’ Bright, adventurous, warm and heartfelt — it’s impossible to be unhappy watching this video.
The Presets – ‘Do What You Want’
Wouldn’t be a Presets comeback without absolutely-batshit visual accompaniment from Kris Moyes now, would it? Prepare for warped faces, bleeding colours and thrashing body movements — and that’s just within the first 60 seconds. Apart from ‘Boys,’ no 2017 video quite lived up to its song title like this did.
PUP – ‘Old Wounds’
PUP pulled out all the stops for the videos supporting The Dream is Over. They murdered each other, hijacked some old-school Nintendo games and even reeled in the kid from Stranger Things. At the top, however, remains this hilarious interactive video/game with multiple endings. Play Stefan’s level if you dare.
RAAVE TAPES – ‘k bye’
Part Saddle Club, part Blue Heelers, 100% RAAVE TAPES. These Novocastrian dance-punks went all out for this insanely kitschy and hilarious clip, which packs more into two-and-a-half minutes than most music videos can do with five. Drama, suspense and a whole lotta horses — that’s the way it’s gonna be.
SOPHIE – ‘Ponyboy’ [Semi-NSFW]
Just when we thought it was safe, enter SOPHIE stage left — single, ready to mingle and with mojo in full swing. ‘Ponyboy’ is raunchy, loud and booming — so its video, naturally, follows suit. Choreographed yet somehow effortless, the video celebrates trans beauty, confidence and sexuality. The Ginuwine product.
Suburban Haze feat. Ben Louttit – ‘Overhang’
There’s not a great deal of plot to ‘Overhang,’ but that’s not what you’re being drawn in for. The hazy lights and visuals are artistic curiousities — from the Discman to the choice of book to be read in the laundromat. Whatever’s going on here, it’s impossible to look away.
Tropical Fuck Storm – ‘Chameleon Paint’ + ‘Soft Power’
This supergroup of alum from The Drones, Harmony and High Tension were always going to do things a little differently. Few, though, could have quite expected the visual insanity that was injected into their first two music videos — one a glitchy, violent video game; the other a karaoke nightmare.
The xx – I Dare You
You come to ‘I Dare You’ for the song itself — a standout from I See You. You stay, however, for the ensemble cast — Millie Bobbie Brown, AKA Eleven, perfectly plays the precocious little sister; while Paris Jackson turns in a performance her father would have been proud of.
Brendan Maclean – ‘House of Air’ [Very NSFW]
Conceived as a tribute of sorts to Hal Fischer’s studies of gay semiotics, the final single from Brendan Maclean’s funbang1 EP certainly caught the eye of many a curious fan throughout 2017. Things, admittedly, do get decidedly real toward the end — but, in a way, that’s kinda the point.
Young Thug – ‘Wyclef Jean’
The greatest music video that never was. A now-infamous story of what could have been. ‘Wyclef Jean’ is already a thing of legend in the music video world, and it doesn’t take long at all to see why that is. Maybe Thugga will never turn up for a video again?
David James Young is a freelance writer, podcaster and music video nerd of some 15 years. When he’s not busy thinking about boys, he tweets at @DJYwrites.