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The 25 Best Music Videos of 2013

For better or worse, the music video was surprisingly central to the way we thought about music in 2013—for better and for worse.

The 25 Best Music Videos of 2013

For a medium that’s supposed to have become irrelevant years ago, the music video was surprisingly central to the way we thought about music in 2013—for better and for worse. This was the year that clips for Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” and Miley Cyrus’s “We Can’t Stop” spawned 1,000 think pieces, the year that we ran around our cities trying to find a place to watch Kanye West project his face onto the side of a building. It was the year that artists from Arcade Fire to Bob Dylan continued to push the boundaries of what a music video can be, and it ended with the surprise, Internet-breaking release of Beyoncé’s self-titled “visual album,” which included a whopping 17 videos. If it’s all not quite enough to declare a new golden age, it’s certainly cause to be eager for what lies ahead. Chase Woodruff

Editor’s Note: Watch the full playlist at The House Next Door.

25. Kronos Quartet with Bryce Dessner, “Tour Eiffel”

The average road trip, like this collaboration between Kronos Quartet and the National’s Bryce Dessner, is an exercise in endurance. Here, though, a man’s journey across an epic stretch of American highway, its duration noticeably felt via a series of fast-motion montages, is a test of spiritual resolve. By the time his car reaches its destination and the purpose of the man’s trip becomes clear, your heart may break as he peers across the Grand Canyon, its immensity matching the agony in his soul. Ed Gonzalez

24. Dillon Francis ft/ T.E.E.D., “Without You”

Mister Whitmore and Devon Gibbs’s clip for Dillon Francis’s breakup anthem “Without You” is a disorienting, cleverly edited evocation of the tortured thought processes that afflict us all when enduring heartbreak and loss. Woodruff

23. The Killers, “Shot at the Night”

The simple, sweetly romantic video for the Killers’ collaboration with M83’s Anthony Gonzalez is a modern Cinderella story starring Bella Heathcote as a daydreaming casino maid who meets cute with a dapper young tourist played by Max Minghella after almost running him over at a traffic light. No glass slippers here—just one brief shot at a different life. Sal Cinquemani

22. Tyler, the Creator, “IFHY”

If the first concept that pops into your head at the refrain, “I fucking hate you,” isn’t a loose recreation of Henrik Ibsen by way of Duracell’s ‘90s ads featuring the Puttermans and set inside a life-size Barbie Dream House, well, not everyone can be as good at being troubled as Tyler, the Creator. Eric Henderson

21. Iggy Azalea, “Work”

Leaving the trainers, tricycle, and swing set of her youth behind (literally, behind her, in flames, conjuring both Madonna’s “Like a Prayer” and George Michael’s “Freedom”), Australian model-turned-rapper Iggy Azalea struts her way into adulthood in the video for her aptly titled debut single “Work” Cinquemani

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