Year-end roundups have everyone with a pulse creating their Top 10 lists. Best-of selections abound and you see everyone dying to tell everyone else what the coolest "whatever" is, be it albums, movies, moments etc. It's enough to make you want to hole up in your room, watch Star Wars and listen to the Beatles' White Album on repeat.
In an age when the "M" in MTV doesn't stand for anything, the music video format surprisingly took a front seat in 2012 and came blazing back to life online.
The sad part is that despite our expanded options in this digital age, we still managed to collectively distill our watching to a scant few clips, almost like it was 1983 all over again when you could see either Michael Jackson, Madonna, Lionel Richie, the Eurythmics or nothing. You'd think the open frontier that is the Internet would even out online views, but quite the opposite happened.
By now, and after 1 billion hits on YouTube, "Gangnam Style" is a worldwide phenomenon. For anyone who's been living under a rock, "Gangnam Style" is a song by South Korean singer, Psy. It's accompanied by a signature dance both a three-year-old and a 90 year-old can ape.
I was living under a rock since I only became familiar with "Gangnam Style" around the 917.3 million views mark. Upon watching the video (on Dec. 9 at 12:55 p.m.) and seeing the view count, I promptly tweeted this to the world:
"This Gangnam Style phenomenon is more proof we are on a planet overrun by village idiots."
Instead of getting the usual avalanche of hate tweets I get for my online rants, I got over 100 retweets and 100 per cent support. Now, I must be clear, I don't hate the song. I hate the fact that over a billion people were drawn to it.
I don't weep for the future because the future is now and it's in the form of a chubby-looking dude who thinks wearing sunglasses indoors makes him cool. I also fail to see what differentiates this song/video from the endless parade of all the other vapid dance songs/videos that we're inundated with.
And although 2012 was a landmark year for music videos, where bands like Walk Off The Earth got 142 million views for simply covering Gotye's "Somebody That I Used To Know," a 358 million-viewed song that sounds like some Sting/Police knockoff while the actual Police themselves have only a mere 31 million views for "Every Breath You Take," it was also a year in which the greatest video I have ever seen was released to comparatively little fanfare.
That is Nekrogoblikon's "No One Survives."
Squeaking in at 1.5 million views in the last three months isn't anything to sneeze at, but endowing it as "greatest video ever made" definitely requires answering why. How can a semi-active death/folk metal band suddenly produce the greatest video ever in the history of everything?
Nekrogoblikon's "No One Survives" video contains no silly synchronized dance moves, no rusted out electronic beats, no silly looking guy in sunglasses. It's a music video containing a classic music video narrative (remember those?) about a misfit boy working in an office who likes a pretty girl. Only in this case the misfit boy is a goblin. And the pretty girl is played by Digital Playground contract girl, Kayden Kross. (That means she's a porno star in real life.) Describing the plot here does the video disservice. If you're thoroughly confused, curious or both, go watch the damn video.(Note: It borders on NSFW if you work in a really crappy place.)
When I first saw "No One Survives" it was, interestingly enough, while we were making our own music video, "Just A Beautiful Day," and our directors Josh and Jason Diamond showed it to us for inspiration purposes. We didn't exactly reach the Citizen Kane-esque heights of Nekrogoblikon, but at almost 100,000 views to date, I'd say we're doing just fine.
Criticizing something that's so widely popular and then propping up an alternative will more than likely set up whatever is being paraded for a fall. So it's with some trepidation that I even venture to suggest Nekrogoblikon over Psy. It's a tall order and a thorny request, but if you're over "Gangnam Style" you need to watch this because Nekrogoblikon's the best.