The Prettiest Thing: Music Video Edition

Probably the most underrated art form, music videos often combine amazing visuals, poetic storylines, and fresh experimentation. When I was a young ‘un, I was kind of obsessed with the idea of becoming a director of such endeavors, but that clearly went awry when I realized that I sucked at cinematography.

Anyway, music videos can be a gateway into a new look as well as an innovative way to tell a story. Situated on the art Venn Diagram in the space between style, substance, and lyricism, I watch these badboys whenever I’m feeling a little bored with the world. If you’re looking to re-engage with all things stylish and beautiful, here are a few ways to start.

Yeasayer, “O.N.E.”



So much is right about this. Art gays? Check. Postmodern, Diesel-y protagonist? Yes. Woman crying mysteriously into a martini? Obviously. Sci-fi party games? The early-’80s referenced in a way that doesn’t look stupid? Yes yes yes. TRON!

Azealia Banks, “212”



The production level might be lower, but has there ever been a more addictive, bad-ass video? Ms. Banks is a lesson in contradictions in her Mickey Mouse shirt, braids, and big smile, which is all the brighter after she says, “I’ma ruin you c*nt.” She is a smiley, razor-sharp genius.

Lykke Li, “Sadness is a Blessing”



There are few things that satisfy me more in life than seeing rich, WASP-y people be uncomfortable, which is basically the point of this video. Is Lykke Li losing her mind? Not sure. But she sure does upset the order of things in this stuffy restaurant, and that’s awesome. She’s got her Stevie Nicks witchy-woman outfit on, too, so all the better. Scandalous!

Chris Isaak, “Wicked Game”



Quite possibly the hottest thing of all time. Who doesn’t want to be Chris Isaak in this scenario?! I couldn’t believe this was on television when I was younger, but Isaak’s James Dean look, Herb Ritts’ amazing eye, and Helena Christensen sans shirt is pretty much the ideal combination of anything, ever. They all go together like peanut butter and jelly. And bread.

Woodkid, “Iron”



WARHORSES + OWLS + PRISON TATTOOS  + MEDIEVAL TURTLENECKS. I can’t even talk about how much I love this. If Alexander McQueen took a Quaalude and then made a music video, it would look something like this.

Kanye West, “Runaway”



Haters gonna hate. Kanye’s 30-minute video, a montage of his album featuring an angel, magic hour, and a nightmare fancy dinner, is brilliant. If you watch this and still don’t know what to wear tonight, you’re not breathing.


About Thomas Page McBee

Gentleman first, always. James Dean is my patron saint, poet is my gender. More about me here:


  1. Michael von Braithwaite

    Wow! I forgot how scandalous that Chris Isaak video was! Holy cow. I’m surprised I was allowed to watch it.

  2. That’s what I’m saying! It’s like the whole time you’re just waiting for it to go over the line, and it barely stays on the FCC-approved side of it.

  3. Here’s one that I particularly love – especially the lighting and the seaside setting

    Ane Brun’s “Do You Remember”

  4. Also, props to WoodKid for being a queer musician and amazing video director…

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