Highlights From The 2015 YouTube Music Awards: FKA Twigs, Action Bronson, Shamir + More

Written By Meshell Webb on 03/24/2015

YouTube Music Awards

After taking a year off the YouTube Music awards are back. The game has changed slightly this year as there will be no live awards show and the contending videos have all just been dropped via YouTube and VICE media. As a music video enthusiast it’s wildly refreshing to see directors and musicians teaming up to try and create something memorable and unique. Here are my top picks and predictions from the 2015 crop.

Action Bronson - Baby Blue (Directed by Lil Chris)

The world’s most lovable chef (sorry not sorry Jamie), rapper and all round cool dude Action Bronson is my personal favourite pick this year. In an ode to “Coming to America” he travels through NYC to find his queen (who has serious guns). Playing multiple characters along the way, we get to watch with delight as his effortless cool flows through each and every character he portrays…it’s fun, it’s well shot and it’s really fucking clever. It’s also worth a mention that this single was produced by Mark Ronson, further adding to the excellence of Baby Blue. It won’t take out the top spot but I’d really like it to.

FKA twigs – Glass & Patron (Directed by FKA twigs)

This will win best video because of course it will (also, VICE is involved). FKA twigs has self-directed her new clip (of course she has) and it’s making every indie blog and my entire news feed freak out (of course…). A pregnant (OMFG) Twigs gives birth in the back of a van to an entourage of well-dressed fierce dancers with perfect bone structure who join her in a total vogue-off atop a luminous catwalk in the middle of a dark forest…because of course.
I am one of the few humans on the earth somewhat immune to the hype that surrounds FKA Twigs…she did not wow me at Laneway, her ad for Google glass did not make me wet myself and her first self-directed clip, Pendulum was not “everything” to me. I’m saying this because it’s important you know I am not totally bias on this one and that when I say that this song is fucking brilliant in all its genre-defying beauty and that this video is going to win not just on hype but because it is outstanding…that I really mean it.

Shamir - Call it Off (Directed by Philip Hodges)

Youngster Shamir was definitely given a decent budget for this one. The muppets are totally adorable and fitting for his personal brand of weird-cute. The video is all fun colours and happy dancing and easily makes my top five as well as making me want to try and pull off white denim. As a follow-up single to the brilliant On The Regular it goes alright too.


Charli XCX - Famous (Directed by Eric Wareheim)

Mark my words, if you make it to the end of this clip you will have nightmares. With that, you have been warned. In what begins as a seemingly innocent clip we watch a Charli obsessed lookalike go totally selfie crazy (like, what better way to pass the time than just STARE AT YOURSELF IN A TINY SCREEN). Things go from weird to weirder though when both her Apple devices run out of battery and she is forced to hang out in the real world (which is not very real at all) minus the shiny filter provided by our virtual realities. Wareheim is obviously making some serious social commentary with this clip and I dig that, seeing as most of the other entries are just weird for weird’s sake. Charli is the perfect platform for this kind of statement, as her fan base would be made up of mostly culprits akin to the clip’s protagonist. It’s definitely in the running for an award, though as I mentioned above, once FKA twigs put herself in the mix there is just not much hope for anybody else…not even '90s lovin’ candy baby Charli.

KYGO - Stole the Show (Directed by Saman Kesh)

As a fan of a few of KYGO’s remixes, I did have high hopes for this song but it’s a bit of a slow burner so I guess it will have to grow on me. We’ll definitely be hearing it in some party mix tapes though and that is totally fine. At first glance it’s kind of a boring messy house party but if you can stick it out till about 2:47 you’ll be rewarded with some SERIOUS dance moves and then the storyline morphs into a cute extra terrestrial love story. Also, the FX graphics at the end of the clip are excellent. A quick FYI…music videos generally have a really shitty budget so either KYGO has splurged for this or Saman Kesh has some excellent 3D graphic mates who put in the hard yards on this and that deserves credit.

Ed Sheeran & Rudimental - Bloodstream (Directed by Emil Nava)

This song is getting a mention because the film clip is TERRIBLE and I’m annoyed that director, Emil Nava probably had triple the budget of most of the better clips. The big issue here is that the director is using shots that are clearly meant to make us sympathise with the protagonist but we have ZERO back story except for his walls full of gold and platinum records in his big expensive house. Poor you middle aged musician with your expensive scotch and all your awards in your big beautiful house full of groupies ready to bang you. I feel SO BAD for you, WHAT DID YOU DO TO DESERVE THIS? Give me a break, if you want to make anybody feel bad for a dude like that you need a feature length film with an excellent back story and an Oscar worthy lead. This clip has zero heart in it and makes me sad that it even made the short list.

Lindsey Stirling - Take Flight (Directed by Joe Sill)

Lindsey is a two-time YouTube music winner & performer so it only felt right to include her in this list. The song is what I imagine classical music students would consider a banger and the clip is a trippy Escher-esque wonderland. Chasing down the remedy to cure her dying flower, Lindsey scales buildings in a very Insurgent manner whilst donning a cape that looks like it belongs to Frodo Baggins. It’s all very ethereal and reminds me a bit of a dark Japanese video game. The graphics are pretty awesome and I can only imagine how much time and effort went into producing this.

MAX feat. Hoodie Allen - Gibberish (Directed by Greg Jardin)

I am clearly not young enough to know who MAX is (apparently he came to fame covering songs on YouTube) and I kind of never want to hear this song again because it sounds like Jason Derulo and Nick Jonas had a baby but if you can stomach it, you have to see this one. The clip is a piece of technical genius, which would have been a total bitch to shoot and cut together (I work in Post Production ordinarily and just watching this makes me anxious at how many hours would have gone into getting it right). On video merit alone this could win some awards but I’m hoping it does not beat out the few excellent songs that also made the cut.