Our Top Music Videos of 2012

After some minor disputes around the JNTM offices, our editors have compiled a list of their top music videos of 2012. In no particular order, here are the videos that kept us distracted throughout the year.

Flying LotusUntil the Quiet Comes

Less a music video and more a short film, the video for the title track off Until the Quiet Comes, actually a mashup of a few tracks, is a trippy trek through hollowed out hoods accompanied by equal parts beautiful and haunting imagery. Reportedly a symbolic representation of how producers permanently out of the game like the late J Dilla continue to inspire new sounds, the overall effect is instantly mesmerizing and sticks with you.

M.I.A.Bad Girls

Just when you thought M.I.A. fell off the map for good, perhaps more notable for her seemingly tedious public feuds than her music, returns with the type of explosion of style only she has proven capable of. The video for leading single Bad Girls is just pure fun, turning many over-played conventions on their head – burcas have never before had that certain Def Jam appeal – and is highly reminiscent of last year’s sensational Otis, one of the major standouts from 2011.


There’s something strangely enjoyable in watching Claire Boucher transgress through various exotic locations dressed to the nines in a series of avant-garde outfits – the random inclusion of a sword is a nice touch as well. Boucher’s humility is something to aspire to, poised enough to make ridiculous would-be fetish outfits of the future look cool. Boucher aside, the video packs enough gorgeous cinematography to take Genesis to new heights.

El-PThe Full Retard

Not all successful music videos enlist painfully serious tones, El-P’s The Full Retard providing no better example. Coupling puppetry with mountains of cocaine and the occasional round of Russian Roulette, the crafted flow and masterful witticism suddenly reaches the horrifically comical proportions a Johnny Depp-less Fear and Loathing might carry. The unconventional nature of the lyrics deserve an appropriately themed video and find it here, almost to the letter.

Frank OceanPyramids (NSFW)

While the video for Pyramids is similarly billed as a short film, it easily passes the traditional music video eyeball test with the sheer amount of lush imagery and exceptional camera work, sparking life to this standout track off the already stellar Channel Orange. Ocean easily fits the bill as the iconic star at video’s center, a neon haze of Vegas landscapes bearing down on him from every angle. The undeniable charisma Ocean exhibits propels Pyramids as one of the most authentically stylish videos of the year.