1. Glorious by Macklemore (feat. Skylar Grey)
Start warming up those cheek bones, you’re about to smile for about four minutes straight whether you like it or not. What could possibly be so elating, you ask? Meet Helen, the adorable Seattle grandmother who just turned 100 years old. Most people would expect a dazzling cake with 100 candles to commemorate such a milestone. Too bad her grandson Ben, aka Macklemore, isn’t most people. Macklemore’s adventure with his fun-loving grandmother emphasizes one of the most euphoric genealogical connections 2017 had to offer. Although a similarly ridiculous escapade may be out of the question for the average viewer, Helen and Macklemore have the type of bond that will make you want to call your grandmother just to tell her you love her. It may be difficult for Helen to access YouTube, let alone interact with other users, but Macklemore left a heartfelt note at the top of the comment section that reads, “Grandma – nothing is more Glorious than you. Happy 100th. Thank you for the Werthers Originals. The advice. And for being a part of something that I’ll treasure forever. Love Ben.”
2. Wyclef Jean by Young Thug
Remember that kid in your group project at school that didn’t do any of the work, but still got just as much credit as you? That kid is Young Thug, while Ryan Staake represents the identifiable try-hard who busts his butt to save both of their tails. As the co-director and producer for Young Thug’s single “Wyclef Jean,” Staake had high hopes to flex his budding skills with one of the most recognizable rappers in the game. Unfortunately for Staake, Young Thug pulled the music industry equivalent of not showing up to any of the group meetings. Staake received little more than a loosely formulated recording from Young Thug proposing an aloof and unspecific plot line to “Wyclef Jean” that truthfully had a lot of creative holes to fill. Staake did his best in filling in those gaps, but in flawlessly archetypal slacker fashion, Young Thug recorded a few of his own clips for the music video that had absolutely nothing to do with his original proposal. Luckily for Young Thug and his audience, Staake has a brilliant self-deprecating side that transformed “Wyclef Jean” into an empathetic story of uncooperative hilarity.
3. ELEMENT. by Kendrick Lamar
No sociological idiosyncrasy is safe from the wrath of Kendrick Lamar’s artistic vision. The music video for “ELEMENT.” serves as public service announcement for the inescapably violent upbringing found communities like Compton where Lamar was raised. Families and friends in these communities gain authority, toughness, and reputable influence from the collective stigma that successful brutality is power. Through this mindset, Lamar shows how gangs are formed, how unified intimidation is utilized, and most importantly how children’s lives are stained by brutality early and often. These kids are taught that they cannot survive without standing up for themselves, even if bloodshed is the result of that unbreakable and headstrong defensiveness. “ELEMENT.” makes a lasting visual impact by showing the generational progression of a society that lamentably believes that fists solves problems. The shameful truth of the matter is that this heartbreaking phenomenon is a painful reality in every corner of our seemingly prosperous country.
4. (No One Knows Me) Like The Piano by Sampha
Break out the tissues, this one’s going to hit you fight in the feels. “(No One Knows Me) Like The Piano” is a tear-jerking source of beauty, digging deep into the backstory of the childhood piano that Sampha learned to play in his mother’s home. This song, along with several other songs from Sampha’s sophomore album Process, was actually written using that very same childhood piano so that Sampha could tap into his original source of inspiration. The woman fading in and out likely represents Sampha’s mother who tragically passed from cancer in September of 2015 after a 5 year battle. Sampha uses the video to emphasize that his mother’s instrumental guidance continues to inspire him by sitting at his side with enduring spiritual support. I’m not crying, you’re crying.
5. Let You Down by Peking Duk
If you think men are the only ones afraid of commitment, behold the realistically hilarious opposition found in Peking Duk’s “Let You Down.” The Australian duo have always had a playful side with their amusingly flippant dance music, but “Let You Down” puts a laughably dark spin on that tongue-in-cheek liveliness. The video’s male protagonist tries time and again to set up dream dates for his loved one so that he can pop “the question,” but each time his proposal gimmicks get spotted moments too soon. His unsuspecting partner’s ensuing panic attacks send her spiraling into a frenzy, repeatedly searching for the nearest escape route. With no viable excuse within arms reach, she continually employs tactics of escalating insanity to avoid turning her man down. As long as she avoids uttering the word “no,” I suppose her erratic methods were a success.
6. Boys by Charli XCX
There’s something whimsically simple about being a man. The male ethos is inspired by a thinly stocked inventory of motifs, the most common of which being their conspicuous and easily triggered infatuations. Not many people however, expect the same openly primal obsessions to stem from women. Charli XCX professes her idolization of the motley assortment of men at her fingertips with a star-studded cast of famous men. Joe Jonas, Wiz Khalifa, Chromeo, Mac Demarco, Bleachers, Rostam, Khalid, will.i.am., Vance Joy, and several more musical superstars grace Charli XCX’s stage with goofy mating rituals that necessitate a smirk from audiences of any orientation. Click here to watch the backstory behind such an impressive laundry of famous cast members and their varying roles
7. Havana by Camila Cabello (feat. Young Thug)
Contrary to popular belief, Netflix and chill doesn’t count if you’re alone. While her sister is out partying and living the indulgent life that most young adults frequent, Camila Cabello would prefer to hang out by herself and revel in the plastic beauty of soap operas, sitcoms, and romantic dramas. After disappointment with each program’s stale plot lines, Cabello decides to take her relational fate into her own hands by dancing through the streets of Cuba. She maintains the theme that passion, love, and the insatiable desire to dance are traits that every human should use to actively drive their destiny.
8. Believe by Benjamin Booker
Putting faith in a world ravaged by hate and violence is a difficult task. Benjamin Booker’s struggle to discover himself among a mess of twisted national morals has led to a life filled with deep confusion and mental suffering. Booker’s ambivalent interests prompt him to enlist in the military so that he can explore a potentially hard-fought and collaborative soul searching opportunity. As Booker enters the heat of battle, he realizes that his life purpose is hollow and subsequently breaks down into a downtrodden heap of uncertainty. In his state of lowly destitution, his childhood ambitions emerge as his true purpose, and he is able to fight his way out of his mental rut through a dramatic display of personal freedom.
9. Stranded by Flight Facilities (feat. Broods, Reggie Watts, & Saro)
Some say prison hardens the kindest of souls. In many cases however, a prisoner’s loved ones outside the compound are the ones hurting the most. “Stranded” highlights Flight Facilities’ impressionable side by focusing on the delicacy of an inmate that’s made an obviously regrettable mistake. The inmate’s purposely antithetical loved one pays a long-awaited visit that warrants a myriad of wordless emotions. Their physical encounter is cut short by an alarm, but the couple are willing to risk lawlessness and further complication by embracing each other during the chaos. The petite woman carrying the giant man off into the sunset is undoubtedly cheesy, but it’s hard to hate such a endearingly contrasted couple.
10. Yer Killin’ Me by Remo Drive
Someone has to give credit to the zero-budget indie crowd throwing their hat in the ring. Remo Drive waste absolutely no time verbally and physically underlining that they can’t stand the humdrum routine that they’ve fallen into, as well as the despicable and unnamed antagonist that got them there. In Remo Drive’s eyes, the best method to escape all that unnecessary calamity is to just get up and run. Unlike Forrest Gump’s sporadic running fit, teenage rebelliousness is written all over the unruly smirks of each jogging musician trying to escape their poisonous lifestyle. Their happy misfit attitude accumulates into a gaudy collective mantra, thus allowing them win over the bohemian crowd even after they stop running and ironically bask in the glory of autumn’s colorful leaves.