Canadian artists delivered another batch of impressive music videos this year, courtesy of everyone from chart-topping R&B singers to indie rock darlings. We here at Exclaim! have spent the better part of 2017 staring at computer screens, weeding through the wealth of video content to pick out the best and brightest offerings of the year — and the results are finally in.
Without further ado, here are our picks for the Top 10 Canadian Music Videos of 2017. Find out what made these clips stand apart from the crowd, and watch the winning videos down below.
Then, check out the rest of our Best of 2017 content as we recount the best music of the year.
Exclaim!'s Top 10 Canadian Music Videos of 2017:
(Directed by Shayn Ehman)
If "Cellophane" by Toronto noisemakers METZ doesn't instantly grab your attention with its pummelling sound, the accompanying visuals will surely do the trick. The black-and-white clip draws spectators into a place where "consciousness is split, and a world of contrast unfolds," making for a viewing experience that's as striking as it is surreal.
9. Daniel Caesar
"We Find Love" / "Blessed"
(Directed by Keavan Yazdani, Sean Brown and Daniel Palmer)
Toronto R&B upstart and Exclaim! cover star Daniel Caesar finally dropped his debut album Freudian this year, prefacing its release with a joint clip for "We Find Love" and "Blessed." The video is a grainy, sepia-toned look at the ups and downs of a romantic relationship. Shot in the singer's hometown, the simple and sweet combo clip is one of many reasons that Caesar is one of the city's fastest rising stars.
"I Love You More Than You Love Yourself"
(Directed by M Blash)
Austra released their latest LP Future Politics right at the start of 2017, but the video for that record's "I Love You More Than You Love Yourself" remains memorable as the year comes to a close. It centres on the story of infamous American astronaut Lisa Nowak, reimagining how she must have felt after returning to earth through a lens of compassion, rather than tabloid scrutiny.
7. Weaves ft. Tanya Tagaq
(Directed by Weaves)
Featuring two of the most powerful voices in Canadian indie music, Wide Open cut "Scream" finds Weaves' Jasmyn Burke and Tanya Tagaq sharing vocal duties. Burke ranges from quiet, nearly spoken verses to empowered, visceral choruses, while Tagaq's guttural throat singing adds additional layers of rhythm, texture and raw emotion. The ode to self-love is paired with Weaves-directed visuals that find Burke and Tagaq stealing the spotlight, appearing on camera together — often in matching outfits that mirror their shared support of the song's sentiment.
(Directed by Ali Seglins)
Haligonian indie rockers Mauno released their latest LP Tuning in 2017, and with it came the video clip for "Com." Ridiculously simple in its concept, the visual piece finds the band members smushing their faces up against glass, then bending, swirling and pulsating them to the off-kilter beat of the song. It's as unsettling as it is amusing.
(Directed by Matt Johnson)
Earlier this year, Toronto indie popsters Alvvays toasted the 50th anniversary of Expo '67, which took place in Montreal (and which attempted to immortalize itself in the name of the city's baseball now-defunct baseball team), in their video for Antisocialites cut "Dreams Tonite." Molly Rankin and company captured the colourful pop art vibes of the era by blending retro footage with modern recreations of the World's Fair, making the video play like a hip, highly stylish Heritage Minute.
(Directed by Scott Cudmore)
Feist's new music wasn't the only Pleasure she gave us this year. The singer-songwriter also gifted us the visual delight of watching her engage in a dance battle against her own doppelganger. In the clip for "Century," Feist and her Feist-alike face off under a highway overpass, each with a gang of back-up dancers in tow — and one Jarvis Cocker, who gets mixed up in the fray as he delivers his spoken word verse.
3. The Weeknd
(Directed by Pedro Martín-Calero)
Toronto's own Starboy shot the clip for "Secrets" at a couple of the city's most recognizable educational institutions — the Toronto Reference Library and the University of Toronto Scarborough — but books were hardly what the Weeknd is looking for in the video. Transported into a sexy sci-fi thriller, the singer born Abel Tesfaye finds himself in pursuit of a mysterious woman. Ultimately, he loses out to Montreal artist Black Atlass, who makes a cameo and steals the girl, but it's still an entertaining blend of futuristic and familiar visuals.
2. Grimes ft. Janelle Monáe
(Directed by Grimes)
It's hard to imagine a visual project helmed by Grimes and featuring Janelle Monáe turning out anything short of amazing — and thankfully, the "Venus Fly" clip exceeded our wildest expectations. The futuristic video features stunning costume design, wild special effects and (of course!) flaming swords. It's an elaborate conceptual piece that takes viewers totally out of this world for just seven minutes, but leaves us wishing we could stay in their fantasy realm for much longer.
(Directed by Jeremy Schaulin-Rioux)
PUP have mastered the art of fantastic music videos (occasionally with some help from Finn Wolfhard), but they outdid even themselves this year by turning The Dream Is Over cut "Old Wounds" into an interactive video game clip. The retro choose-your-own-adventure-style game turns the player into the band's tour manager, tasked with helping the dudes in the band make it home after a show.
Each of the bandmates gets transported into tricky situations based on actual personality quirks — from love of sports to love of pizza — making for a creatively customizable, endlessly entertaining virtual experience. But be careful; if this tour doesn't kill them, you might.