Ambiguous Fiddle is Sean Phair and Chris Murphy and they’ve slowly been building their reputation throughout the year, shooting videos for the likes of Fred, Mide Houlihan and Sam Clague, the latter of which I’ve been returning to a lot in recent weeks. After the jump, the pair reveal what they’ve been watching and rewatching in the world of music this year.
Pitbull – ‘Timber’
This is wonderfully inane. This is the Tony Montana of 2013’s music videos – you need videos like this so you can point your f@#king fingers and say, that’s the bad guy. Pitbull has made his way onto this list in spite of his music, let’s face it, the man is a lyrical cul-de-sac, but with this video he has struck gold. It’s a one-stop-shop for pop clichés. It really does have it all – scantily clad women, expensive alcohol, desert islands, yachts, not-so-subtle-sexual references, scantily clad women emerging from the sea, costume changes, choreographed dances and a swimming pig. What more could you ask?! Of course it’s entirely plausible that this is all a satirical commentary on the stereotypical celebrity lifestyle, but the fact that a man who has named himself after a breed of dog occupies the lead role, has me somewhat in doubt it.
Idiot Songs – ‘Villages of Ether’
All too often you will be confronted by music videos that are weird, simply for the sake of being weird, Villages of ‘Ether’ is most certainly not one of those videos. There’s something in this video that has you believing the director, even if you’re not quite sure what it is he’s trying to say. This is easily one of the best, if not the best video of 2013. It’s dark, textured, layered and at times somewhat disturbing, a visual journey that ends all too soon.
The National – ‘Graceless’
‘Graceless’ is altogether infectious. An exceptional tool for vicarious living. The premise is, simply, five grown men in their best Sunday suits, acting like children for a day. Personally, I spend at least a third of my day wishing I was jumping face first into a birthday cake or chasing a frog down by the river, rather than dealing with emails, bank balances or other human beings. And I know I’m not alone in that. This is a video that is completely unpretentious and full of merriment.
Sigur Ros – ‘Brennstein’
This otherworldly epic has me a nervous wreck from beginning to end. Who knew yellow could be so harrowing? ‘Brennestein’ is incredibly visual and textured with such strong implications of panic and violence. It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what is happening narratively, but the overwhelming sense of danger is ever present. In this instance, the marriage between song and video is so magnificent that it is near impossible to judge it on a standalone basis. The timing is impeccable and the intensity unrivalled, almost reminiscent of earlier Power Puff Girls episodes.
James Vincent McMorrow – ‘Cavalier’
Simply put – this is a terrific video. This video does a spectacular job showing, rather than telling. There is no back story to aid you, but immediately you can see that this young man is in the midst of some unknown turmoil. At times, it’s almost uncomfortable to watch him slip further and further into anguish. It’s not often that I enjoy narratively driven music videos, because truth be told, it’s seldom done so captivatingly.