2012 has been such a great year for music (some of it at least) but most definitely for the music video. The concept of dance taking a front seat in the visual imagery of a song has trended upwards for the past few years and really come to the forefront in the past year. Everywhere you turn, artists are tossing in dance breaks, molding concepts around dance, and working with big name choreographers all in an attempt to stay at the top of their games and increase their reputation and image. As I see it, asian pop has set the bar in the choreography game this year. J-pop & K-pop artists are using movement to match the stories and concepts in their videos better than their American & UK counterparts. I’m really excited to see what the advent of 2013 will bring to the fusion of music & dance internationally. Until then, let’s do a quick reflection of what I think were the best dance-based music videos of 2012. Starting at number 10…
Be aware, I’ll only be highlighting some of the videos here. Click the link to watch them in their entirety!
#10. Chris Brown, “Turn Up The Music” – Mr. Michael Jackson clone had some nice moves in this video, but I’m ready for him to experiment with more movement-wise. He branched out into dance music in 2012, will 2013 be the year of CB finding some fresher choreo? Besides, Daichi Muira did it better.
#9. TVXQ – “Catch Me” – Alrighty, Exhibit A of what I’m talking about with the uptrend of asian artists. TVXQ came flying out the block on their comeback single “Catch Me”. The duo took the focus off of themselves and with choreography by the amazing Tony Testa, made a great conceptual video portraying strength and the power we wield when we work together as one.
#8. Madonna, “Girl Gone Wild” – Imagine my excitement when I first watched this video and saw Miss Madonna going in with these boys in heels (whom I immediately recognized were my guys from Ukrainian group Kazaky). Always athletic, sexy, and controversial, Madonna pushed the envelope with the homoeroticism and everybody ate.it.up! See my take on the club hit here
#7. SHINee, “Sherlock” – I devoted a whole post to the awesomeness of this video. Another masterpiece by choreographer Tony Testa.
#6. Daichi Muira, “Right Now” – Daichi is coming for that blond hair of yours Chris Brown! He took a great dance song, paired with smooth choreography (which he did himself with Keone Madrid) and had me super impressed from beginning to end. The actual video edited out too much of the dance, so I included the practice video so that you could see the dance in its entirety to appreciate its composition and overall swag. Study and take notes, there will be quiz later.
#5. Rihanna, “Where Have You Been” – RihRih surprised me when she dropped this piece of fire. I’d written her off long ago as just a dancehall queen (she can work a waist), but she showe me she could be a choreography queen on this video. The footwork, those jazz isolations, and especially that eye in the second verse (*insert illuminati reference here*), Hi-Hat did a nice job on this choreo and gave Rihanna her life!
#4. Bobby Newberry, “Dirrty Up” – The first single from dancer/choreographer Bobby Newberry, “Dirrty Up” was a grimy little ditty beckoning you to get on the floor and dance! It was different seeing men objectified in the video with the Grindr app and Cocksox product placement, but believe me, I’m not complainin’! Bobby & Miguel Zarate choreographed this banger and you’ve got to check out that dance break and get into its musicality. I murdered the replay button on the piece when it dropped and still watch it today. I’ll be spotlighting Bobby Newberry soon, so keep an eye out for that. Until then, enjoy “Dirrty Up”!
#3. Ciara, “Got Me Good” – Ciara made a big return to music with this banger, I’ll admit that I’m a little sad it didn’t do better on the charts. It’s halfway because this song is stuck in 2005 with the fanga snapping and JV cheerleader chant, but I still blast it anyway. I’ve got a fierce little combo waiting in the wings for just the right opportunity. What really sold me was the dance crew 8 Flavas and their cameo – those girls gave me life in a Backyardigans backpack!!! The buildup before the break was EVERYTHING to me! Ciara step yo music game up Miss Ma’am…we’re rooting for you!
#2. Diplo ft. Nicky da B, “Express Yourself” – Now don’t get caught watching this in public, but WOW. just WOW. Never in my life did I expect this craziness from Diplo. It’s something straight off Twerk Tuesdays on WorldStarHipHop.com. I loved every minute of it though. At my essence, I’m ghetto ratchet all day every day, so yes I got my life off this beat. Sad to say, but you know hoodrat chicks everywhere are using this as a Twerk Team 101 guide. Oh, and Diplo is cute. Go white boy!
#1. BoA, “Only One” – (drum roll please!) And now presenting the best dance-based music video of 2012, BoA’s “Only One”! Yes, I chose someone non-American for number one because nobody else gave me reason enough to snatch the top spot from her! Smooth, precise, with an understated sexy, BoA quietly released this song and its B-side, “The Shadow”, and shut the game DOWN. Digital downloads, YT views, physical sales, she took it all. In my opinion, it’s a combination of the wonderful movement from NappyTabs (Napoleon & Tabitha D’Umo), and the lyrics and arrangement from Boa herself that made such a successful video. It seems to me that asian artists are outsourcing to the US for a lot of their choreo, and the choreographers, seeing that it’s about the full concept being highlighted as well as the artist, give them amazing pieces that are dynamic and exciting. So many US artists just want to be at the forefront that the staging, formations, and choreography are never given the chance to shine. BoA found a perfect balance of each and for that reason she’s number one in my book!
So whaddya think? Agree? Disagree? Post your opinions below? And don’t forget you can post links to anyone you think I missed…but you better give a good reason why it should be there!