While there may be fewer outlets for music videos, that hasn't stopped bands from using the promotional format to attract fans to their music. This year we saw some of hard rock and metal's top acts and newcomers use the platform to entertain, to inform, to generate a laugh or to horrify us at some of the atrocities in the world. But the key thing with the best videos of the year is that they all found a way to connect with their audience.
This year's best clips pull from a wide variety of acts as well. You've got veteran bands like Megadeth, Korn and Alice in Chains providing the same dedication to the video format that made them popular in the '90s. There's also up-and-comers like Huntress and Motionless in White who really helped propel their careers with eye-catching promos. So let's get to it and salute the 10 Best Music Videos of 2013.
'America'Motionless in White
Motionless in White had a banner year and their song 'America' was a big part of that. The group pulled in the Slipknot's increasingly in-demand percussionist-turned-video director M. Shawn Crahan to shoot the carnival-themed video. But the freak show attractions at this carnival are more of the depraved nature as a corrupt politician, a gluttonous man gorging himself, a pedophile priest and a coked out stripper are on display for the ravenous crowd.
"Love story" is not the first thing you think of when Megadeth comes to mind, but the band took a chance with their 'Super Collider' video. These two teens have plenty of chemistry and not even the girl's overprotective father, played with bullying excellence by Dave Mustaine, can deny the fireworks between them. Those with a keen eye will immediately notice all of the members of Megadeth making cameos in the clip.
'City of Angels'Thirty Seconds to Mars
Jared Leto's years of acting have translated well into the music world as Thirty Seconds to Mars videos have become events. This year Leto used his calling card to pull in a number of famous and not-so-famous Los Angeles denizens to speak about the pursuit of their Tinsel Town dreams in the 'City of Angels' short film. It's a touching love letter by Leto, the band and those starring in the video to the place they call home and deserving of a spot in the 10 Best Music Videos of 2013.
Halestorm have certainly paid their dues over the years, taking bits and pieces from the music they grew up on and honing their craft into the Grammy-winning band they've become. That backstory sets the tone for their 'Here's to Us' video as we get to see three different versions of the band members performing the hit song. There's the band who played high school dances and proms, the struggling rockers playing to small halls and the successful modern version of the group. Raise a glass and toast 'Here's to Us' for this creative retelling of their history.
'Ain't No Sunshine'Black Label Society
It's important to remember that videos are here to entertain, and with that in mind Zakk Wylde and his Black Label Society likely registered many a smile with their clip for their cover of the typically heart wrenching Bill Withers classic, 'Ain't No Sunshine.' As the camera pans up on Wylde playing the opening notes of the track, we see that he has a horse head. In fact, all of the characters in the clip are a hybrid of humans and animals, with Wylde's titular horse imagining a dream life with a unicorn. Add in an odd Vinnie Paul cameo (on guitar no less) and 'Ain't No Sunshine' is one of the year's most bizarre (in a good way) and best music videos of 2013.
'Ungrateful'Escape the Fate
One of the great things about the video format is the ability to tell a story, and Escape the Fate used the platform for their song 'Ungrateful' to provide a powerful tale on the cycle of violence often associated with bullying. Warning, this is not a video that is easy to watch, as the clip includes some horrific scenes. But it does show that bullying is not a random act and something that can be passed down from family members and loved ones.
Korn's 'Never Never' is one of the more visually eye-catching clips of the year, with its usage of slow motion and visual effects to make it seem as though time can be bent in any direction. The band members dodge debris from the exploding clock with Matrix-like precision while the arms of the timepiece show they can expand in other directions than clockwise and counter-clockwise. All of this mayhem is set in motion by a female demon dressed in black, mirroring the trouble that Jonathan Davis is singing about in the song.
Imagine a '70s black light poster come to life and that's what you get with the visually stunning 'Zenith' video from Huntress. Frontwoman Jill Janus channels her inner high priestess, leading her flock in a ritual over a giant cauldron. This spell works wonders for the members of Huntress who perform amidst the constellations and the night sky, but as you can expect there are not-so-great consequences for others with these actions. 'Zenith' is a truly psychedelic experience for the viewer.
Even the strongest man can crack under the pressure of isolation. And while that's not completely the theme of Alice in Chains' song 'Hollow,' director Roboshobo took the vibe of the song and crafted the story of an astronaut orbiting Earth who begins to crack under the stress of being away from loved ones and losing contact with the big blue ball outside his window. A man of routine slowly begins to lose it and the lines between what's real and madness begin to blur.
'Do Me a Favor'Stone Sour
The second Phil Mucci-directed video on our list of 10 Best Music Videos of 2013 is Stone Sour's clip for 'Do Me a Favor.' Much like Huntress' 'Zenith,' the clip uses vibrant colors and animation to tell the tale. In this video, a tormented young man must choose between a world overrun by demons or the sanctuary inside a church run by a demented priest. He finds a like-minded warrior to aid in his survival, leading to an epic battle. It's a truly standout video that ranks as 2013's best.