Terry Richardson It has been a steady climb for Rihanna as she has finally…
- Posted by Shelley White
10. 'The Water,' Feist
The full 15-minute version of this excerpt from 'The Water' is more short film than video, with the moody and melancholic title song floating through only briefly. It's a mysterious, near-silent opus directed by Broken Social Scene's Kevin Drew, and it stars Cillian Murphy (of '28 Days Later' fame), veteran Canadian actor David Fox and Ms. Leslie Feist herself. Father and son lug a mummy-like corpse through still and snowy woods to a cabin. But the cadaver soon proves to have a little life in it yet. This clip is reminiscent of the québécois film 'Mon Oncle Antoine,' a chilly Canadian classic that also involves corpses and snow and angst.
9. 'The Age of the Understatement,' the Last Shadow Puppets
The first shot we see is an expanse of clean ice and a Zamboni. A diminutive figure skater with a bouncing ponytail skitters across the ice as the song kicks in, with its rumbling men's chorus and rat-tat-tat drums. The video is evocative of Cold War Russia, with snow and tanks and singing soldiers. The whole thing is awash in the drab tones of gray that always seem to be used to depict Eastern Europe. But despite the brisk temperatures, Alex Turner (of the Arctic Monkeys) and Miles Kane (of the Rascals) look unflaggingly chic in their black pea coats and shaggy hair, as though they just stepped out of a '60s cinema vérité.
8. 'Tropical Iceland,' the Fiery Furnaces
Most of the time, winter + music = a big downer. But this fantastical video is an animated pop-up book of bizarre tropical snowy scenes -- think palm trees and icicles. There are also toucans in a canoe, snowball baseball and a polar bear in a hammock. The Friedberger siblings look appropriately uncomfortable and awkward throughout. Matthew does some pick-axing, Eleanor goes swimming with a killer whale, and then the aforementioned polar bear and toucan join her for some snow angels. As for the song, it's poppy and jaunty and as lyrically off-kilter as the imagery.
7. 'Love Like Winter,' AFI
There could be no list about gloomy winter songs without the inclusion of an emo band, and AFI fits the frigid bill nicely. Davey and Jade and the rest glower and frown in the middle of a snow-covered forest. A lady in black (the Grim Reaper, perhaps?) leads the singer to some thin ice and he plunges through. The Reaper Lady appears under the ice as he struggles, only to shove him into the murky depths. This video is notable for the fact that the snow involved is of the soap flake variety.
6. 'Hunter,' Björk
It's unnerving enough to watch our favourite Icelandic pixie emote on camera, with all her twitches and smirks and mad eyes. Particularly when it's a totally bald and intense Björk combined with eerie music and a stark white background. But then she starts to sprout CGI fur on her head and the magic really begins. The singer slowly morphs into a shiny, animatronic polar bear -- the perfect guise for her unique and ferocious brand of eccentricity.
5. 'You Don't Know What Love Is (You Just Do as You're Told),' the White Stripes
This video was shot in the Arctic tundra of Iqaluit, during the White Stripes' now-legendary tour of Northern Canada. Jack and Meg take in the barren terrain underdressed for the elements. Fittingly, there's a white mobile home with red doors and a red rowboat out front. The song is just as fine, and Jack sings and strums while Meg taps her tambourine. They meander around in their own little world, looking perfectly at ease with just each other for company. An arctic climate has never looked so appealing.
4. 'Dominos,' the Big Pink
It's a dark and snowy night for this UK shoegaze act, who deliver a gut-punching song about being a cad. "These girls fall like dominoes," belts out singer Robbie Furze as curvy female ice sculptures explode repeatedly. "I really love breaking your heart." Lyrically and visually, the message seems clear: Get involved with me at your peril, women. It's either self-parody, or he really is that kind of an ice-cold lady-killer.
3. 'Outside the City,' Young Galaxy
In this lovely clip by this Montreal-based band, a group of young moppets toil away in some kind of orphanage-slash-workhouse. When one little boy is punished for drawing a picture, he's tossed into solitary confinement (aka the broom closet). To cheer him up, his friend slips him a postcard of a frozen lake and later busts him out. They escape to the snowy landscape. The plucky twosome traverse the icy roads in their toques and winter boots, past banks of windmills and frigid farmland. They've got a destination in mind, and when they get there, it's both satisfying and sad.
2. 'The Corner,' Common feat. the Last Poets
Kanye West directed this superlative hip-hop video, an ode to the old school. It's got the crisp, high-contrast imagery you can only get in the winter months. The camera takes a tour around an inner-city neighbourhood. There's guys hanging outside the corner store, a peek inside the barber shop, old-timers telling stories about the good ol' days, and the sun streaming through the bare trees in the park. Common sports a fly '70s leather trench and newsboy cap. It's intimate, cool and captures an amazing rapper at the top of his game.
1. 'Your Ex-Lover Is Dead,' Stars
If winter has you in a melancholy mood, as it does most people, this is the perfect video to wallow in. The camera shoots from above, as the band sprawls across thick, dark ice on an unknown body of water. Torquil Campbell and Amy Millan sing poignantly about grieving, while a couple of skaters glide by and the ice cracks beneath the horn section.The lyrics match the chilly environment -- is the singer numb? Devastated? Indifferent? It's for those days when you just want to crawl into bed and wait out the spring thaw. A beautiful and bitter song for a beautiful and bitter season.