Roísín Murphy – ‘Ten Miles High’
This self-directed eye-popping masterpiece is one my favourite videos of recent years, and makes you see the city of London in a dazzling new light. “I shot it over four days running around like a complete lunatic,” Roísín told me last year. “I was dancing around Canary Wharf station wearing really heavy clothes. It didn’t take me very long to get into a frame of mind of ‘Fuck it, I don’t care who is looking at me.’ It was shot on a very small little camera that you slide onto an iPhone. It looks like a fancy camera when you see the footage, but it isn’t and it is so compact, so people don’t see a load of gear and a crew, they only saw me making an eejit of myself. The last couple of years walking around London with my big phone taking pictures of everything, watching, writing, has been the happiest time of my life.”
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – ‘I Need You’
Two of last year’s greatest albums, Blackstar by David Bowie and Skeleton Tree by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, are permeated by the sceptre death and loss. Bowie died two days after the release of Blackstar, while Nick’s son, Arthur Cave, tragically fell to his death from a cliff near Brighton in 2015. While the songs on Skeleton Tree were written prior to Arthur’s death, the recordings feature an obviously grieving Cave singing like he never has before. The stark black and white video for the One More Time With Feeling movie is heart-wrenching and mind-blowing. “The film seemed to open something very deep for people, and how so many people out there had lost people they loved, you know, just how many grievers there were,” Cave told The Australian. “It was a very powerful feeling, and ultimately shifted something in me, and Susie too, and stopped us feeling so completely hopeless all the time. It was like we had done something good for Arthur, all of us, and had placed the memory of him up there in the stars.” With Bowie and Cohen gone, I really think Cave is one of the very best we have left.
Jamie xx – ‘Gosh’
In Colours, Jamie Smith’s debut album as Jamie xx, came out in 2015, but this incredible video was only released last October, presumably to stoke further excitement for I See You by The xx. Directed by Romain Gavras, who was worked with M.I.A. and Justice, ‘Gosh’ features what looks like bleak dystopian cityscape, but is actually Tianducheng, China; a city built as a replica of Paris, complete with its own Eiffel Tower and Champs-Élysées. It stars a new 17-year old albino actor from Paris called Hassan Kone.
ANOHNI – ‘Drone Bomb Me’
HOPELESSNESS was one of the finest records of last year. ‘Drone Bomb Me’ stars Naomi Campbell acting as the song’s tearful and distraught narrator, and perfectly sums up the song’s anguish about drone attacks and the barbaric and cruel state of the world in general.
Primal Scream – ‘Kowalski’
From Naomi Campbell crying to Kate Moss as a hit woman.’Kowalski’ was an electrifying comeback single for Primal Scream featuring a killer bass line from renegade Stone Roses bassist Mani, who had just joined the band. It was the lead single from Vanishing Point, which is arguably the Scream Team’s best and most underrated album. This video also features author, and erstwhile Scream collaborator and fellow Scot, Irvine Welsh.
Aphex Twin – ‘CIRKLON3 [ Колхозная mix ]’
Richard D James hadn’t made a music video since ‘Windowlicker’in 1999, so when he did, he turned to a 12-year from Skerries, North Dublin called Ryan Wyer, who had posted some homemade fan videos set to Aphex music, to do the honours. Wyer is in good company, as the only other former Aphex Twin video directors are Chris Cunningham, David Slade, Steve Doughton and Jarvis Cocker. The end credits give me goosebumps every time.
David Bowie – ‘Ashes to Ashes’
It is so hard to pick just one Bowie video, but I’m going to plump for this. What a video. What a song. What a fucking genius. “My mother said, to get things done. You’d better not mess with Major Tom.”