100 Best Music Videos of 2021, Part 1

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Each year the Houston Press comb through the best independent and lesser-known artists to find the best music videos. You can keep your Taylor Swift, Lil Nas X, and even your Ghosts. This week, we are going underground to end our 2021.


100. Split-second merge, “Big game hunting”

It’s time for a light hairy little cosplay. “Big Game Hunting” follows a hunter and a lion in a delicate flirtation … at least until the snack turns out to be a trap. It’s a very thirsty hunt, indeed.


99. Joker’s Hand, “Goth Girlfriend”

Goth girlfriends are the best. It’s known, but I appreciate Joker’s Hand checking the documents in their latest video.


98. Adult., “Fools (we are …)”

I’ll let Nicola Kuperus and Adam Lee Miller explain why we watch a clown play with a potty: “The toilet is a universal motif, a shared human situation or in some cases a situation. We are all fools in one way or another, from war on waste to societal tendencies of ridiculous human behavior.

97. Light up, “The river”

The American immigration system is racist bullshit. Don’t take my word for it. Let Ignite scream it at you until it sinks in. Thanks guys.

96. TV Coma, “Celebrities”

In the minimalist video, the group embrace the omnipresence of celebrity culture, mimicking fine dining against a completely empty white background. It’s not exactly the subtlest of analogies, but it gets the point across.

95. Love By Numb3rs, “Lying Like That”

Some days are just better spent in bed. “Lie Like This” has Dan Connor looking at the camera, finally mind blowing a good time. It’s kind of a lazy video, but again, it’s a lazy time to be alive.

94. Dead Posey, “Sorry, I’m not dead”

If you like your clips with a bit of BDSM, here’s a good place to start. The group spent most of the time torturing a man wearing a large mask. It’s sexier than it looks and fun to listen to.

93. Dan Reed Network, “Starlight”

I’ll be honest this video is making its way up the list depending on the track’s disease and how much I miss the fire dancers at gothic events. Every inch of it screams hot night at an unsavory gathering. Thank you, DRN, for a spirited flashback to the times before.

92. Riley, “Call him when you want”

Riley had one of the most evil earworms this year on “Call Me When You Want”. The video shows him working at a convenience store, mourning a broken heart until his friends show up. From tearful to playful, it’s a pleasure to watch.

91. Authority Zero, “Ollie Ollie Oxen Free”

One of the most underrated punk bands in the world knows how to build a scene. As the group perform in a combination of oil and water, a little girl (Ava Moore) frolic in a cornfield pursued by a bird-headed specter. The video never really gets past the staging, but being named after a children’s nursery rhyme used in hide and seek, that’s all one needs.

90. Venom Prison, “Pain of Oizys”

It’s always nice to see a subversion of a music video trope. Director Thomas Coe-Brooker guides his wife Toni through what feels like a slow match with suicide and ends up in a place of empowerment. It pairs well with Venom Prison, a metal band that always slyly has endless expectations.

89. Wallice, “Tooth of wisdom”

Wallice drops a good tear-off trail with some very dental visuals. The wisdom tooth might be a metaphor, but the video goes to the bone with Wallice going to the dentist. In the end, she is stuck with chattering teeth.

88. Adrian Conner, “Victoria”

Austin-based Adrian Conner directed “Victoria” herself and it’s a cute little parade of grain and makeup. She vamps in front of a screen while two young lovers meet awkwardly. The song has a nagging blues sensibility that packs a punch to the visual story, and Conner definitely has an eye on what makes a good music video.


87. Kelly Musler, “Summer 98”

For my part, I’m happy that Generation X / Xennials have reached the stage where we can write sad songs about the good old days of the 90s. Kelly Musler concocts a sparse but effective ode to “reaching level 40” that does so. hit some in a great way.
86. Old Crow Medicine Show, “Painting this Town”

Sometimes what makes a video so important is the context in which it is shown. For example, “Paint This Town” comes to us at a time when a high school party seems almost mythical under pandemic conditions. There are great alien worlds featured in the videos on this list that don’t seem so unreal, and the fact that the Old Crow Medicine Show sits with such ease and finesse makes it better.

85. November Ultra, “Le Manège”

It’s an extremely clever video about the corrosive nature of toxic love. The clips repeat themselves, slowly fading away as the song progresses until it’s sort of a red mess. It’s always cool to see the entropy itself used to make a point.

84. The flower, “the black eye”

Lily Lizotte expresses herself like no other singer, and “Black Eye” shows all her palette of sadness and madness at the same time. Shot simply with her looking into the camera as a few visual effects intensify her rapidly flickering emotions, she tells a whole story just with shifting facial tics. It’s an uncomfortable, but fascinating towing watch at the same time.

83. Sad Night Dynamite, “Krunk”

Director Greg Hackett sets up a slightly surreal revenge story about a boy who becomes a little too gangster for his panties and ends up in a trap. The video is mostly party scenes that go well with the track, although the ending is a bit unsatisfying. The ride to get there, however, is awesome.

82. Gvllow, “Nightmare”

Look, as long as the ’90s are back I’m just going to sit here and enjoy all the new videos that make it look like they came out of the set of 120 minutes. “Nightmare” is a beautiful artifact hat that has fallen from its rightful place in time, and I love it.

81. Ramses the Pigeon, “Where is the comma in ‘God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen’ supposed to go?”

There are two great a capella pedantic explorations of thoroughness in sacred chants. The first is Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers in the classic “Atheists Don’t Have No Songs”. Welcome to the second one, which is a fun game about the importance of punctuation and also why slapping yourself for a sound effect is not a good idea.

Tune in tomorrow for 20 more of the best clips of 2021!


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