Music videos have always served the welcome purpose of providing a visual storyline to chaperone a band’s latest single to their demanding audience. Often times comprised of studio performance footage, and occasionally used to provide an insight into the perspective behind the artist who penned the track, these videos have been reduced to little more than a second thought as far as new rock and metal releases were concerned; however, this has changed in recent years, and as this art form continues to rebuild it’s momentum, we’re reflecting on the most standout of these releases in our countdown of the Top 10 Music Videos of 2014.
10) “So Divine…”
Sacramento rockers Tesla reemerged with their first studio album of new material in six years, ‘Simplicity,’ which showcased a fitting return to the band’s distinctive hard rock approach of their earlier efforts, only combined with relevant and reflective lyrical content as we found on such selections as the transition to the digital medium on “MP3” and the references to Ted Nugent on “Ricochet.” The anthemic “So Divine…” is no exception, and was accompanied by an engaging music video comprised of a young female reflecting on the loss of a loved one through music, as well as energetic footage of the members of Tesla performing in an abandoned warehouse.
9) “All of My Friends Are Dead”
Former Skid Row frontman Sebastian Bach has done an admirable job at resuscitating his solo career in recent years, since delivering his comeback effort ‘Angel Down’ in 2007 and since releasing the predominantly heavy metal 2011 offering ‘Kicking & Screaming.’ While these previous albums featured choice contributions from the likes of John 5 and Guns N’ Roses lead vocalist Axl Rose, this year’s Bach installment stands as one of his strongest and more varietal to date. ‘Give ‘Em Hell‘ was centered around tracks crafted with the aid of such names as Duff McKagan, John 5, Billy Idol guitarist Steve Stevens and drummer Bobby Jarzombek from Halford. “All of My Friends Are Dead” is largely centered around the members of the Sebastian Bach band doing what they’re best known for: kicking ass and taking names.
8) “Tin Soldier”
The members of Winger offer an admirable palette of musical styles on their newly released follow-up to 2009’s ‘Karma,’ often alternating from party rock vibes on the album’s title track, to synthesizer-laced glam metal derivative of their earlier efforts on “So Long China,” to melodic ballads ala “Out of This World” and “Be Who You Are Now.” However, it’s when Winger embrace the assaultive hard rock-oriented attitude of their chemistry that ‘Better Days Comin’‘ becomes truly standout; such is evident on the high octane “Tin Solider,” which is formulated upon crunching chord progressions, protruding percussion and soaring primal screams from mainman Kip Winger. The music video’s occasional redirection to foreign scenery before transitioning back to studio footage compliments the song’s aggressive nature.
7) “Call to Action”
It’s one thing to be able to craft a ferocious eponymous studio album, but it’s an entirely different story when you’re attempting to create an engaging music video to accompany one of the effort’s strongest cuts, particularly when you’re a rising glam metal collective in the current music industry. The members of Crazy Lixx manage to achieve this rarely witnessed feat with great success on “Call to Action,” which features lead vocalist Danny Rexon as the Walter Rogers-esque tyrannical leader in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. We occasionally spot the remainder of the Crazy Lixx lineup performing beneath showers of pyrotechnics and blazing scenery, in what is a frequently rewarding music video from the up-and-coming rock group.
6) “The Burden of Being Wonderful”
“It’s a burden being wonderful like me,” Michael Starr ironically muses in the Steel Panther power ballad “The Burden of Being Wonderful.” The track earns the title of the band’s most easily digestible song in their live arsenal, considering it’s shockingly minimum use of profanity and sexual innuendo which were already present in glam metal, but the members of the mock rock unit used to their advantage and developed their own signature approach. How exactly is it a “signature” songwriting method? Because no other group would dare run out on stage in full spandex attire and perform such songs with a straight face – something which few fans could claim they had after watching Steel Panther’s music video for the ‘All You Can Eat’ number.
5) “Faith is a Room”
Heavy metal supergroup KXM unveiled their self-titled debut album this past March, gallivanting a hard hitting approach and an all-star lineup featuring prominent names from several of the genre’s forerunners. Centered around lead vocalist and bassist Dug Pinnick of King’s X, guitar virtuoso George Lynch from Dokken and Lynch Mob, and drummer Ray Luzier of Korn prominence, the members of KXM deliver impressionable hard rock and metal compositions that are propelled by exceptional musicianship, as we find on the anthemic “Faith is a Room.” The music video alternates between otherworldly scenarios in which each of the performing artists participate, whether in be Lynch nailing articulate arpeggios beneath a dazzling cosmos, or Pinnick joining some otherworldly temptress in a psychedelic garden.
4) “Rock or Bust”
Need further proof that AC/DC are one of the most resilient forces in rock? Aside from having successfully thrived for more than four decades, despite the dramatic alternations within the music industry, and having to persevere for the first time without founding member Malcolm Young as an official member of the band, the members of AC/DC suffered another hardship when it came down to the recording of two promotional music videos and a photo shoot for their latest studio album, ‘Rock or Bust.’ Just when it came time for these activities to take place, it was revealed that drummer Phil Rudd wouldn’t be participating after being placed under arrest for “attempting to procure a murder” and drug possession. Determined that nothing would be able to put a cease to their freight train of an itinerary, AC/DC pressed forward with the video shoot with the assistance of former Asia drummer Bob Richards; the video for “Rock or Bust” is perhaps the most fitting, as it shows the members of the veteran rock group cranking out anthemic hard rock for an audience of their diehard fans.
3) “Spike in My Veins”
Alternative metal heavyweights Korn took a societally and politically-influenced stance when it came down to the formation of their music video for “Spike in My Veins,” the third single off of the band’s 2013 studio album, ‘The Paradigm Shift.’ The members of the nu metal collective can be found appearing before footage of Miley Cyrus’ MTV Video Music Award performance, Toronto mayor Rob Ford’s controversial drug addiction interview, Kanye West’s attack on paparazzi, and other clips of similar pop culture incidents. Regarding the inspiration behind the effort, lead vocalist Jonathan Davis offered, “We are all so caught up in watching crazy media on the internet and TV that we are manipulated into ignoring that our privacy has all but disappeared.”
German heavy metal forerunners Accept have taken careful consideration into formulating attention capturing, often literally explosive music videos to accompany the release of the lead singles from their past three studio albums with newly appointed lead vocalist Mark Tornillo at the helm. When it came down to the topic of the first track from their latest studio album, ‘Blind Rage,’ the members of Accept ultimately came up with one of their more striking ideas to date. After all, what is more badass than having lead guitarist and founding member Wolf Hoffmann nail piercing guitar arpeggios atop a towering desert plateau? Very little, which is why this music video comes in at the second position of our countdown.
1) “Louder Than Words”
Pink Floyd will always be considered one of those heavyweight artists who left such a profound impact on not just the progressive rock community, but music in general; their impressionable catalog of material has left a significant impact on a diversified collection of artists, and there will always be an audience of those listeners that the music of Pink Floyd has impacted that will continue to encouragingly demand new material. After a period of two decades, these calls were responded with the first studio album to be released underneath the iconic moniker. ‘The Endless River‘ served as Pink Floyd’s tribute to their late keyboardist Richard Wright, and placed particular emphasis on the vinyl platform which was once carelessly abandoned and has been making a gradual comeback. Similarly, the accompanying music video for the album’s lead single “Louder Than Words” is one of the most exceptional efforts we’ve paid witness to in some time; the latest in studio animation paints an atmospheric landscape, where the album’s otherworldly cover artwork is brought to life before our eyes. Considering the art of the music video, like the vinyl format, is often little more than a second thought, Pink Floyd’s “Louder Than Words” is anything but, and as such stands as the top contender on our run through of the Top 10 Music Videos of 2014.