The 20 Greatest Music Movies of 2020

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The 20 Best Music Videos of 2020

Whereas the pandemic compelled us all inside this 12 months, a few of our favourite artists saved us distracted and lifted our spirits by breaking new floor with their visuals. Whether or not tiptoeing into Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s candy-colored sexual funhouse, reveling in Dangerous Bunny’s sudden drag persona, or logging into FKA twigs’ camgirl present together with rapper 645AR, music followers had been handled to a buffet of eye-popping and creative clips from newcomers and established stars alike. See our picks for the most effective music movies of 2020, listed in alphabetical order by artist title, beneath. And take a look at all of Pitchfork’s 2020 wrap-up protection right here.


645AR: “Sum Bout U” [ft. FKA twigs]

Director: Aidan Zamiri

Whereas the pandemic decimated the mainstream grownup leisure trade, it breathed new life into subscription platforms like OnlyFans, a direct-to-consumer web site that enables its creators elevated monetary and creative autonomy. Of their video for “Sum Bout U,” 645AR and FKA twigs discover digital intimacy and reveal how intercourse work could be its personal type of artwork. On a fictional web site referred to as Onlycamzzz, twigs dances and poses in plenty of high-fashion ensembles and a creepy rabbit’s head. Watching from behind a multi-monitor setup, 645AR is a swooning reply man, frantically getting into his bank card data and sending suggestions. The idea was conceived by twigs herself and transforms “Sum Bout U” from a horny-on-the-main anthem into an empowering tackle creativity and labor. –Quinn Moreland


Arca: “Nonbinary”

Director: Frederik Heyman

There are function movies with much less visible curiosity than Arca’s two-minute video for “Nonbinary.” In a sequence of splendorous cyborg mise-en-scènes created with artist and director Frederik Heyman, Arca lies on a rocky plinth, pierced by a pair of large shears; reclines together with her toes in gynecological stirrups as robots are likely to her pregnant stomach; enacts her personal model of Botticelli’s Beginning of Venus as she floats above a flooded graveyard. Nothing is resolved or defined on this absurd, alluring spectacle, or within the mimed argument between Arca’s inside angel and satan that caps it off. The purpose is risk, each/and throughout the self, the infinite, unbelievable pursuit of gender euphoria. –Anna Gaca


Dangerous Bunny: “Yo Perreo Sola”

Administrators: STILLZ and Benito Martinez

As latest occasions have proven, any well-known man can don a gown for a glitzy photoshoot and be hailed by followers as a boundary-pushing king. However what makes Dangerous Bunny’s “Yo Perreo Sola” visually exhilarating isn’t merely the informal subversion of gender stereotypes—although that’s exactly what the reggaeton famous person does, taking up a number of totally different drag appears to be like over the course of the music video. Co-directed by Benito himself, the artwork itself is a playful center finger to poisonous masculinity; it compels informal listeners of the historically machismo style to reorient their views in the direction of empathy and respect for girls and the LGBTQ+ neighborhood. After the lights go down, the video closes with daring, purple textual content in Spanish: “If she doesn’t want to dance with you, respect her, she twerks alone.” So-called woke tradition might not be cool, however fundamental humanity certain as hell is. –Noah Yoo


Beyoncé: “ALREADY” [ft. Shatta Wale & Major Lazer]

Director: Beyoncé

With the discharge of her sprawling Disney+ movie Black Is King this summer time, Beyoncé proved that she stays on the reducing fringe of music visuals. Her choreography is emotional and athletic. Her storytelling is private and vivid. Her references are non secular and realized. “ALREADY”—a duet with Ghanaian dancehall star Shatta Wale, produced by Diplo and GuiltyBeatz—is only one five-minute vignette from the hour-and-a-half-long Black is King. However inside its bounds, it nonetheless calls upon West African road dancing, numerous tokens of African wealth, Salvador Dalí’s images, and extra international symbols of artwork, life, and leisure. In a melange of roughly a dozen separate scenes, black life pulses and beats like a thriving coronary heart. At the same time as part of an enormous cinematic effort, “ALREADY” is a world of its personal. –Mankaprr Conteh


Cardi B: “WAP” [ft. Megan Thee Stallion]

Director: Colin Tilley

For sheer audacity and pleasure, nothing else this 12 months surpassed “WAP,” a brash paean to pussy accompanied by an appropriately batshit, star-studded video. Instantly racking up over 26 million views in its first 24 hours on YouTube, “WAP” units Cardi and Megan in a warped, polychromatic intercourse mansion replete with tigers, leopards, snakes, and cameos on cameos. The clip is a high-budget phantasmagoria with its tongue planted firmly in its cheek, as the 2 playfully tiptoe from room to room feigning shock at every reveal. After all, the delightfully racy video actually shocked some conservative pundits, who flocked to Fox Information to publicly clutch their pearls and push each rap stars into the political highlight as arbiters of sexual provocation. Remaining as true to herself as ever, Cardi had a wonderfully succinct response to the noise: “It doesn’t make me angry. It makes me happy. They keep talking and the numbers keep going up.” –Eric Torres


Christine and the Queens: La vita nuova

Director: Colin Solal Cardo

This brief movie is as decadent as a 15-course tasting menu. As romantic as a stroll alongside the Seine at nightfall. As invigorating as a 5K run on the primary day of spring. It’s the boldest, most full encapsulation of the Christine and the Queens aesthetic up to now. Each second of the 14-minute video, which brings to life most of Chris’ 2020 EP La vita nuova, is filled with impossibly expressive choreography (courtesy of Sia collaborator Ryan Heffington), legendary magnificence (Chris’ co-stars embrace a vampiric faun), and sufficient frilly trend to fill Vogue’s September challenge. Filmed in and round Paris’ ornate Palais Garnier opera home, it tells the fantastical story of an artist doing battle together with her passions—for love, for artwork, for pure expression. By the ultimate scene, Chris is reinventing John Travolta’s Saturday Night time Fever lothario by way of a queer lens whereas demonically biting the neck of visitor star Caroline Polachek. That is art-pop cinema that’s each steeped in historical past and gloriously unafraid to blaze its personal approach. –Ryan Dombal


Denzel Curry / Kenny Beats: “UNLOCKED”

Administrators: Jack Begert and Christian Sutton

On his laptop, Kenny Beats has folders for “Topless Steve Buscemi Pics” and “Shrek Fanfiction,” however someway the recordsdata for his Denzel Curry collaboration are nowhere to be discovered. The South Florida rapper and veteran producer’s 24-minute brief movie for “UNLOCKED” continues the (staged) web beef that spooked their followers in early February: Curry storms into Kenny’s studio, livid that their EP bought leaked on-line. To uncover what occurred, they zap themselves Again to the Future-style into Kenny’s laptop, embarking on a wild journey by way of a number of animated universes. One minute, they’re in a Japanese horror manga; the subsequent, they’re rendered like Scooby-Doo. From the goofy, brotherly preventing to the dazzling visible shows and shock ending, “UNLOCKED” is an absolute delight. —Cat Zhang


Duval Timothy: “Slave”

Director: Duval Timothy

In a 12 months when monumental stars went public within the battle to personal their grasp recordings, Duval Timothy’s claymation video for “Slave” provided essentially the most gutting illustration of what it means to lose management of your work. Whereas the phrase “slave” is sung repeatedly within the background, the video exhibits Timothy pouring all of his inventive vitality into recording music. You see him caressing his music in his hand; it’s an lovable, childlike .WAV file, which is promptly shackled and brought away by white music trade professionals. Timothy finally finds his music locked away and weeps, and when clay tears obscure Timothy’s clay face, it’s legitimately heartbreaking. He frees his music (which symbolizes how he purchased again his masters in actual life) and poses atop a mountain with two Black icons who fought for possession of their work: Prince and Nipsey Hussle. It’s an iconic closing picture that might hold in a museum. –Evan Minsker


Jayda G: “Both of Us”

Director: Lou Jasmine

Jayda G’s “Both of Us” was a masterstroke of joyful piano home, as intimate as a bed room whisper and as communal as a dance ground anthem—all shot with a pang of consciousness that shared in-person experiences with strangers aren’t actually a sensible possibility proper now. “I just want to be with you,” the Canadian-born, London-based producer and DJ also called Jayda Man lilts, on this opening monitor from her two-song 2020 EP, Each of Us / Are You Down. The video, directed by London photographer/videographer Lou Jasmine, neatly pulls collectively all these contradictions, with low-key snapshots of Man at house, on the membership, and out basking in flowery nature, a flock of birds gliding elegantly above. For the track’s cathartic third part, the half the place the drums drop out, the studio monitor provides solution to the handclaps of a reside crowd, and no, you’re the one with one thing in your eye. –Marc Hogan


Kelly Lee Owens: “Corner of My Sky” [ft. John Cale]

Director: Kasper Häggström

Kelly Lee Owens’ visible for “Corner of My Sky” places the Man vs. Machine trope in miniature, with actor Michael Sheen battling wits in opposition to a mysterious toaster. He drops in a single slice of bread after one other because the equipment disappears his toast-to-be; his temper darkens from curiosity to frustration because it does. John Cale sings in celebration of the rain with a looping chorus that matches the dreamy repetition of Sheen’s kitchen inquisition. The toast finally turns up, simply not wherever toast belongs and with Sheen none the wiser, playfully questioning the character of expectations versus outcomes. –Allison Hussey


Moses Sumney: “Bystanders”

Administrators: Josh Finck and Moses Sumney

Moses Sumney has the facility to make even essentially the most humdrum, capitalism-scarred areas really feel nearly holy. Within the video for “Bystanders,” a beatless daydream of dripping synths and crystal-lattice vocal harmonies, Sumney and co-director Josh Finck provide a swirling imaginative and prescient of two desolate parking tons—Greenback Common and Kmart, respectively—that fade into one another as night time turns into day. In each stands Sumney’s bare-chested determine, resolute, defiantly undefined. Like most of us, Sumney can’t assist however take part in international commerce, however what’s inspiring is how he refuses to permit himself to be diminished by it. –Marc Hogan


Fragrance Genius: “Describe”

Director: Mike Hadreas

Fragrance Genius’ Mike Hadreas typically has his arms full in his self-directed video for “Describe”: a knife, a leaf blower, an individual, one other particular person, a set of clippers as he buzzes off a companion’s hair with another person’s arms pressed to his eyes. As Hadreas sings, asking for readability about his environment, the scene turns into more durable to decipher, his literal grasps ceding to piles of writhing, intertwined our bodies bathed in several colours. The farm surroundings and fluid movement of its occupants keep surreal and twisting sufficient to be thrilling. –Allison Hussey


Phoebe Bridgers: “Garden Song”

Director: Jackson Bridgers

A particular type of solitude programs by way of Phoebe Bridgers’ music: the sort the place you wander round a drug retailer within the wee hours of the morning, or get in your automotive and decide a vacation spot based mostly on the primary track that performs on the radio. Or, as she depicts within the smoky, psychedelic “Garden Song” video, if you hit a bong alone in your room and immediately end up visited by buddies, monsters, and a shirtless dude gyrating behind you. Directed by her brother Jackson, it’s an enthralling and relatable vignette that ends with an all-too-familiar decision: collapsing face-down in mattress. –Sam Sodomsky


Rico Nasty: “Own It”

Director: Philippa Worth

It begins with Rico Nasty sporting a brilliant yellow fetish masks festooned with icepick-sized spikes, paired with a painted-on yellow swimsuit and vertiginous yellow platforms. Bejeweled acrylic talons protrude from her fingers and toes. It ends with the rapper in a frilly peach babydoll gown and lace gloves, sporting a necklace made out of severed doll components and sneakers wrapped in bubble wrap. Her numerous equipment all through the video embrace: shrimp on her fingertips, lit blunts smoking atop a crown, eyebrow piercings that spell her title, and a wig twisted into the form of a cage. Not for the reason that heyday of Girl Gaga has a music video featured such wild, jaw-dropping trend statements. And in a 12 months during which most of us just about completely wore sweatpants, we couldn’t have wanted it extra. –Amy Phillips


SZA: “Hit Different” [ft. Ty Dolla $ign]

Director: SZA

For SZA’s slouched-back single “Hit Different,” she took to the director’s chair to create a luxe allegory in her personal picture. Fitted in yellow and tie-dye outfits, the singer and her backup dancers carry out gyrating choreo in entrance of a stack of vehicles in a junkyard, with dusky mild setting every little thing in a creamy glow. Later, she wanders by way of a discipline, smeared in physique paint the shade of blood for a startlingly surreal jolt. SZA saves the most effective for final: sporting royal beads and straddling a pommel horse, she breaks the fourth wall and sings to the digital camera because it zooms slowly outward. Every picture is a knockout reminder that her inventive imaginative and prescient is just getting sharper. –Eric Torres


The 1975: “The Birthday Party”

Administrators: Ben Ditto and Jon Emmony

With a plot that might be offered to the writers of Black Mirror, “The Birthday Party” video takes place at a web based rehab facility crammed with animatronic memes and CGI-rendered humanoids, swiping proper on invisible telephones in a heavenly forest faraway from the world. All effectively and good, however as with most issues 1975, it’s the little particulars that stick to you, just like the robotic receptionist sporting braces and buzzing one of many band’s outdated hits, or Matty Healy’s melancholic dance strikes as he fantasizes about returning to his social life: “Let’s go somewhere I’ll be seen,” he sings, “As sad as it seems.” It’s unhappy for certain, however surprisingly comforting. –Sam Sodomsky


The Climate Station: “Robbery”

Director: Tamara Lindeman

A DoorDash supply man wanders by way of the forest, looking at his smartphone. A TV information reporter shoves his microphone into the singer’s face, then shortly pulls it away when he decides she’s not going to say something sensational sufficient to fulfill his viewers. The Climate Station’s “Robber” video, directed by bandleader Tamara Lindeman, topics the mundanities of our screen-mediated lives to a surreal juxtaposition, rendering acquainted scenes newly unsettling by inserting them in the midst of the woods. Lindeman provides a riveting appearing efficiency, donning a mirrored swimsuit and casting loaded however ambiguous glances: on the different characters, at us by way of our personal viewing screens. She is sort of a customer from one other world, uncertain whether or not to pity the bumbling human creatures round her or concern them. –Andy Cush


The Weeknd: “Too Late”

Administrators: CLIQUA

“Too Late” is a gory, completely NSFW romp that doubles because the Weeknd’s love letter to Misplaced Freeway and American Psycho, movies that sit comfortably within the pantheon of unsettling cinema. Abel Tesfaye and CLIQUA—the younger directing duo of Pasqual Gutiérrez and Raul “RJ” Sanchez—are swinging for the fences right here, shining an uncomfortable mild on the superficiality of Hollywood, the ugliness of parasocial relationships, and the generally ghastly nature of sexual need. The pop star himself is all however absent, decreased to a lip-synching severed head—a plaything to be admired, exploited, and consumed. Within the video’s closing moments, the digital camera zooms out from an excellent Los Angeles property; as its gates swing shut, a girl jogs by together with her canine, blissfully unaware of the horrors that occur round her each day. –Noah Yoo


Tierra Whack: “Dora”

Director: Alex Da Corte

The hook on Tierra Whack’s “Dora” bursts forth like a cuckoo hen asserting the hour, insistent and crazy on the identical time. Director Alex Da Corte escalates Whack’s whimsy with bouncy, elastic visuals that function a mélange of Muppets and different kooky toys, together with items from the sport Superfection that really feel like an extra-sly addition. The video’s brilliant colours, daring geometry, busy movement, and playful animated textual content recall the most effective basic Sesame Avenue shorts. However “Dora” is not any easy childhood regression: it plunges deep into the uncommon marvel of unsullied pleasure. –Allison Hussey


Yaeji: “WAKING UP DOWN”

Director: Annie Xing Zhao

Within the animated video for “WAKING UP DOWN,” Yaeji and Woofa, a floofy canine in a tracksuit, try to be higher variations of themselves. With the assistance of some kooky characters—a bluebird holding a smirking worm in its talons, a chef with an egg for a head, a boss bitch CEO—the duo grasp a guidelines of duties like cooking, hydrating, and listening. Impressed by anime opening sequences, the video is filled with brilliant, eye-catching colours, summary backgrounds, and exaggerated facial expressions, accentuating the goofiness of the characters born from Yaeji’s creativeness. Despite the fact that Yaeji acknowledges within the track’s Korean-sung refrain that caring for your self and others isn’t at all times simple, the video makes the case that these duties could be enjoyable with a bit stretch of the creativeness. –Quinn Moreland

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