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Friday Five: Best Minnesota music videos of 2018

The girls of "Boys": Courtney Hollinquest, Lizzo, Sophia Eris, and Grace Holden (L-R)
The girls of "Boys": Courtney Hollinquest, Lizzo, Sophia Eris, and Grace Holden (L-R)

by Cecilia Johnson

December 28, 2018

Morning, everyone. I've had the pleasure of watching hundreds of Minnesota music videos this year, and as 2018 comes to a close, I wanted to revisit some of my favorites. There's no impartial ranking here, as I'm just one person with a set of eyes and ears. But I did my best to provide a diverse swath of this year's best Minnesota music videos.

Lizzo - "Boys"

Lizzo's summer Pride bop celebrates boys of all kinds. Shot in black and white (just like the 1977 photos of Prince that Lizzo references here), the video is a sexy confection dedicated to the dudes among us.

Kiss The Tiger - "Starting To See You"

"Starting To See You" isn't just impressive for being Kiss the Tiger's first official music video. It's impressive for its cast of local theater artists; its variety of settings, all held together by lighting; and its beautiful music.

POLIÇA + s t a r g a z e, "Agree"

This year, Poliça and orchestral group s t a r g a z e released an album called Music for the Long Emergency. They prefaced the release with a video by Maria Juranic, as tender as Channy Leaneagh's vocals, plain and rich as a Roma di Luna song, and urgent as s t a r g a z e's violins.

Hippo Campus - "Bambi"

I'll say it: This is the music video that warmed me up to Hippo Campus. I wasn't into their Vampire Weekend sound, but this weird BJ Burton collaboration and its rich blue visuals got me interested in the quintet. This earworm is the namesake of the band's second album, Bambi.

Destiny Roberts - "Outta Here | Lunar Vibes"

Destiny Roberts — or Moon Melanin Mami, which doubles as the name of her latest album — steps up her game in "Outta Here | Lunar Vibes," a super-cool track fit for relaxing or flying to the moon.

Honorable Mention

Swamp Dogg - "I'll Pretend (feat. Guitar Shorty & Bon Iver)"

"You might not know, Marijuana Deathsquads is also in the movie business," the group tweeted in June. Ryan Olson and Isaac Gale directed this music video for Swamp Dogg, a raunchy soul singer and performance artist who handed Olson the production duties on his 2018 album Love, Loss, and Auto-Tune. Bon Iver (Justin Vernon) and Guitar Shorty feature on this supercharged track.

Nazeem & Spencer Joles - "Rock Lee"

Nazeem & Spencer Joles have made a tradition out of setting music videos at Twin Cities hotspots. This time, Cup Foods (on 38th & Chicago) and the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood get the honor. Nate P. is the perfect videographer to accompany them around town, adding wild visual effects to the cartoon-honoring piece. Speaking of which: Naruto fans are in for a treat. "Rock Lee" samples the legendary anime's theme song and takes its name from Team Guy member Rock Lee.

Charlie Parr, "Dog"

Those who follow Charlie Parr know his album Dog echoes of depression, but also the bond between human and animals. Directed and edited by Dan Huiting, Parr's story-driven video for the title track is set in Duluth, featuring cameos by several local dogs, the Aerial Lift Bridge, and Parr himself.

Now, Now - "MJ"

Now, Now and videographer Alexa San Román continue to work together on vivid, above-and-beyond videos supporting the band's 2018 album Saved. Starting shallow: I can't get enough of KC Dalager's pink hair against green and blue backgrounds. But there's a lot of story here beyond that. YouTube commenter nvelet koslin said it best: "this whole thing looks like a pinterest mood board someone with insomnia would make after having binge watched netflix's "dark"; i love it"

Brother Ali - "Sensitive"

If you haven't checked in with Brother Ali in a while, now is a great time. Sit down with a warm drink and watch him lay out his true feelings, set to a beat that samples Erykah Badu. This single came in advance of Brother Ali's Nov. 8 show at First Avenue.

Clean Water Land & Legacy Amendment
This activity is made possible in part by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment’s Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.