Music is an audio-based medium (duh), but the associated visual elements also form a big piece of how we understand it. Album covers are very often our first look at an record, so they better at least start to tell the story of the album, or give listeners some inkling of what they’re in for. Otherwise, what’s the point?
Similarly, songs try to tell a story or express a feeling, so if you’re going to forever tie it to an accompanying video, the audio and the visual better mesh in a way that makes both profoundly and undeniably better. Credit where it’s due: There were plenty of videos that accomplished that in 2017, which led to a long list of candidates for this list, which, in case the headline wasn’t descriptive enough, breaks down the five strongest music videos that came out this year. There were a few that stood out among the others, though, and these are them.
5. OK Go — “Obsession”
(Directed by Damian Kulash, Jr. and Yusuke Tanaka)
Perhaps more so than any other artist, videos are absolutely essential to OK Go’s appeal, ever since they hopped on those treadmills for the viral “Here It Goes Again” clip in 2009. It’s 2017 now, though, and they’ve upped their cinematic game since then. Impressively, though, their latest clip is visually stunning and ambitious even though it takes place in one room and all of the special effects were created in real life. Constructing walls of printers to create a colorful, interactive, and stop-motion backdrop is a real “I should have thought of that” idea, and that’s the beauty of OK Go’s videos: The concepts are easy to grasp and they suck you right in, and yet, it seems like they’re the only band capable of making it happen this smoothly and on this scale.