From Doja Cat to Skrillex, we take a look at the year's most captivating vids
If you’ve checked your Spotify wrapped, scanned the end of year lists but still feel like there were a few gems you missed this year, then we’ve got you.
Feast your eyes on our picks of the artists who understand the value of the visual art form as we select our favourite music videos of 2023.
‘One Of Your Girls’ – Troye Sivan
With his latest album, Troye Sivan gave us one of the best pop albums of 2023, and a series of equally good music videos to match. For its third single, ‘One Of Your Girls’, the Australian singer reckoned with the thrill but inevitable sadness that comes from being objectified by straight, or previously straight, men. In becoming one of their girls, Troye transforms into drag resembling the likes of Britney or Christina Aguilera. It’s sexy, funny and ultimately sad. Just what the doctor ordered.
‘Say Something’ – Lil Yachty
On the topic of funny and sad, few others did it better than Lil Yachty. Let’s Start Here saw the bubblegum trap star sign up to the Kevin Parker school of psych pop, and one of its hits was this trippy tale of unrequited love. Its Crowns & Owls-directed video is a hoot, full of dark bathos and inventive story-telling.
‘UK GRIM’ – Sleaford Mods
Those familiar with the satyrical collage style of Cold War Steve would recognise the creative behind Sleaford Mods’ ‘UK Grim’ video immediately. They’re a match made in heaven; a collation of random cultural and political figures – from Simon Cowell to Putin – coming together to make the dystopian patchwork Jason and Andrew seem to revel in.
‘Stop Giving Me Advice’ – Jack Harlow & Dave
Black and white visuals that keep one colour aren’t exactly original – you’re thinking about that A-level photography project, aren’t you? – but that doesn’t make this recent cut from Jack Harlow and Dave any less sleek or effective. Keeping the yellow theme of Cole Bennet’s Lyrical Lemonade studio, the contrasting greyness intensifies the London backdrop that somehow matches the track’s moodiness.
‘Doolally‘ – Hak Baker
I think it’s fair to say parental advisory is recommended on this one from East Laandaner Hak Baker, which is feels like watching Snatch or Football Factory on magic mushrooms. Baker leans into the accent with a big pinch of irony, and it’s a lot of fun.
‘XENA’ – Skrillex with Nai Barghouti
Female power is at the heart of this suspenseful film from dubstep pioneer Skrillex and Palestinian singer Nai Bargouti. Covering ground between tradition and religion and cosmopolitan escapism, ‘XENA’ plays out like a film with its dynamic settings and strong interpretive dance. A contender for best of the year.
‘Oceans Niagara’ – M83
Back in January Anthony Gonzalez remerged with a new chapter of M83 symbolised by a monstrous alien being. The character is the artist’s way of presenting his most personal work without showing face, as it were, but on the Fantasy lead single ‘Oceans Niagara’ it watches over a young cast of 80s sci-fi characters full of beans as they transfigure into flowers or trampoline into the cosmos. We’re not really sure what’s going on, but just like the song’s shoegazing euphoria, it’s absolutely mesmerising.
‘Paint The Town Red’ – Doja Cat
Yes, more black and white! That is until we find the rapper flying atop some giant green beast and embracing all things devilish. There doesn’t seem to be much of a profound message beneath it all, other than taking the ‘let’s paint this town red’ trope to wicked extremes, but stylistically it’s a triumph, with sleek, alluring and simple creative design.
‘Night Shift’ – Lucy Dacus
It was either entirely intententional, eerie foreshadowing or just plain coincidence that Lucy Dacus happened to release a music video for a song, released five years ago, that had the line “In five years I hope the songs feel like covers / Dedicated to new lovers.” Featuring Jasmin Savoy Brown of Yellowjackets fame, the ‘Night Shift’ video sees Dacus as a hotel worker, seemingly pining over the The Wizard of Oz cast before channelling her inner own Wicked Witch. Oh, and there’s a brief Phoebe Bridgers cameo, naturally.