Published Dec 11, 20145. Arcade Fire
(Directed by Arcade Fire)
Never ones to shy away from big statements, Arcade Fire cast The Amazing Spider-Man star Andrew Garfield in their music video for "We Exist" as a man struggling with his gender identity. While critics have questioned the band's decision to choose a cisgender white male over a transgender person to play the role (look up Against Me!'s Laura Jane Grace's comments), Butler firmly stands behind his actions, asserting the importance for "a gay kid in Jamaica to see the actor who played Spider-Man in that part." The payoffs are there in Garfield's powerful portrayal, whether it was correctly cast or not. (Melody Lau)
4. Johnny de Courcy
(Directed by Owen Ellis)
For "Wind Chimes," Vancouver rocker Johnny de Courcy and filmmaker Owen Ellis put together a powerful visual metaphor for the pains of love. "Wind Chimes" finds de Courcy and his love (from previous video "Alien Lake") dead and in need of resuscitation from a group of mad scientists. Tipping its hat to Rocky Horror and the idea of eternal love, the video for the cranked-amp anthem is a never-ending tearjerker. (Gregory Adams)
(Directed by Kiesza, Ljuba Castot and Rami Samir Afuni)
Similar to Lowell, electro-pop artist Kiesza also capitalized on a single-shot video this year with the viral success of "Hideaway." The video follows the choreographed steps of Kiesza throughout the streets of Brooklyn as she pirouettes, pop and locks and runs around on her own and with the help of a slew of backup dancers. This video also brilliantly combines a colourful '80s aesthetic with a distinct '90s sound, all culminating in the perfect gif goldmine for the Tumblr generation of today. "Hideaway" is the ultimate introduction to Kiesza as a talented singer, dancer and overall performer (as proven with multiple iterations of this video live). (Melody Lau)
2. Owen Pallett
"Song for Five And Six"
(Directed by Jeff Scheven)
"Song For Five and Six" is one of the most visceral tracks on Owen Pallett's latest album, In Conflict, so it's only fitting that it received a video treatment that's just as instinctual. Choreographed by Robert Binet (Pallett scored his ballet, Unearth) and performed by students of Canada's National Ballet School, the athleticism displayed here perfectly matches the robust nature of the song's muscular electronic loops, vigorous melody and agile rhythms. It's a visual triumph in which the dance enhances the music and vice versa. (Melody Lau)
(Co-directed by Roco-Prime (aka Claire and Mac Boucher))
Grimes' steady ascent towards the pop mainstream continued in 2014 with "Go," an EDM-spiked ballad she and Blood Diamonds originally wrote for Rihanna. The video likewise sets its sights big, mixing mystic journeyman scenes with all the way turnt up club antics.
The epic video features shots of Grimes and Blood Diamonds hanging out in the club, making their way through sandy plains with weapons in tow and flexing their moves in a fish-eyed vortex of flashing lights. A Dante quote, swordplay, and dune-set choreography scenes collude to make this another hypnotic video classic from Claire Boucher. (Gregory Adams)