Published Dec 20, 20135. Young Galaxy
(Directed by Ivan Grbovic)
Young Galaxy's "New Summer" evokes dreamlike imagery of picturesque days in the sun, but their music video cleverly turns that idea on its head. Instead, we are given an equally breathtaking look into a world falling apart as singer Catherine McCandless warns us, "Hey, it's a new summer/ Can we live there like it's our last one?" (Melody Lau)
(Directed by Tony Ho)
Toronto's Alt Altman (a.k.a. Digits) has a number of excellent videos, but "Street Violence" has to be his best. In director Tony Ho's alternately harrowing and humorous clip, roaming street gangs like "The Puppetearz" and "The Birds" control the city's districts, hunting down and killing those in opposition to them. Guided by Digits himself, a young couple flees to find refuge in a nearby tower while the song's menacing piano riffs bounce in the background. (Stephen Carlick)
3. Majical Cloudz
(Directed by Emily Kai Bock)
"Childhood's End" features frontman Devon Welsh's famous father Kenneth Welsh (of Twin Peaks fame) who, regardless of familial ties, pulls off a remarkably haunting performance. An eerily stark black and white video, director Emily Kai Bock produces spine-chilling imagery of a suburban town man that perfectly reflects the heaviness of Majical Cloudz's lyrics. (Melody Lau)
"Started From the Bottom"
(Directed by Director X)
In April, Drake released his music video for "5AM in Toronto," deeming it his first viral video ever, but just two months prior, he put out his most successful video to date, "Started From the Bottom" (and quite frankly, the former was a boring flop). This video not only highlights the rapper's brazen self-confidence, but uses that to push it to a whole other ridiculous, and hilarious, level. (Melody Lau)
1. Arcade Fire
(Directed by Emily Kai Bock)
Director Emily Kai Bock's strength has always been ascribing meaning to, and finding humanity in, places where people don't expect to find them: at a football games, say, or in the middle of the desert. In the video for Arcade Fire's "Afterlife," she does it again, this time with even more emotional sophistication.
In this seven-minute clip, a motherless family of three sits down to dinner before drifting off to sleep. In their dreams, Bock shows glimpses of their hopes and anxieties: the father, a flower street vendor, stalks an empty factory site until he finds and embraces his wife on the dance floor of a local club; the passed out teenage son envisions a pool baptism he's not a part of, then wakes up and takes a train home, dreaming of his mother's caress; the youngest son's nightmare finds him being locked into a dryer at a local laundromat until he runs to his father to sleep with him on the couch to dream about his mother holding him once again.
By focusing on the life of the family the mother touched, rather than her death, Bock has created a touching short film about the power of family and the importance of finding meaning amidst the struggles that life and death create.
Afterlife: an awful word? Maybe, but if Arcade Fire and Kai Bock can wrest this kind of beauty from it, maybe we'll be okay after all. (Stephen Carlick)