The 6 Most Radical Music Videos Of 2015

Few artists have the courage to go against what’s traditionally popular or mainstream.  However, as the barriers of the entertainment industry begin to shift, many artists are taking more control of their content and creating powerful, dark and sometimes hilarious videos expressing their disgust and rage with certain aspects of popular culture.  2015 has been a great year for this type of art and this list consists of artists that have done an exceptional job of using performance, avant garde and story telling to capture the madness of the mainstream. 

1.) Song: “City On The Hill”

Artist: The Desaperecidos 

Director: Rob Soucy

“Bodies stacked like hundred dollar bills

To build that shining city on the hill”

This radical music video uses archive footage from the past 50 years of American culture to show the bad, the ugly and the truly atrocious.  The way the shots are cut together emphasizes a relationship between the advertising industry and military industrial complex.  Lines like “All the stolen melodies they played, at the hit parade” describe Conor Oberst’s disgust with the commodification of life and art and how that’s affecting our lives.  The Desaparecidos have a bleak and desolate take on the American Empire but it makes for a powerful and stimulating music video, not to mention a great song. “The City On The Hill” is off The Desaparacidos second album, Payola, which was released in June

2.)“The Night Josh Tillman Came To Our Apartment”

Father John Misty

Director: Drew Pearce 


“Of the few main things I hate about her one’s her petty vogue ideas

Someone’s been told too many times they’re beyond their years.” 

This Father John Misty video features a surreal romance between Josh Tillman and... Himself.  Tillman’s take on narcissism, self indulgence and utter lack of substance prevalent among millennials, celebrities and some adults comes across hilariously, but one gets the sense that this humor is really coming from a very dark reality he’s chosen to acknowledge.  The video expresses a love-hate relationship many performers have with themselves, and the schizophrenia that comes with having a public persona.  “The Night Josh Tillman Came to Our Apartment” is a track off his sophomore album, I Love You Honeybear.

3) Song: Carriage

Band: The Felice Brothers

"It's getting hard to pretend that the new great depression will end."  

This Christmas tune pierces into the dark truth that corporate media is afraid to confront but looms in the mind of all thinking citizens. The Wall Street Journal described it as a "Scattering of not safe for work lyrics." Ian Felice's rough blooded country poetry can freeze the soul and illicit emotions that may not be comfortable but are necessary for human growth. The song is off their  Christmas EP Felice Navidad. 

4.) Song: “Burn It Down” 

Artist: Sam & Margot 

Director: Brendan Jones


“And now there’s 99% who have trouble paying rent

And where do all the sports cars go when all that moneys spent?”

Sam & Margot’s music video features two young artists struggling to make ends meet and deciding to take the current financial system into their own hands. This is a folk ballad about the despair and triumph of being an artist and the video depicts a radical heist. The duo breaks into The NYSE and “burn that mother down.” “Burn It Down” is a single off Sam & Margot’s debut album, Cloudsick For Land.  

5.)Song: “Pedestrian At Best”

Artist: Courtney Barnett  

Director: Unknown


“Give me all your money and I’ll make some origami honey”

“Pedestrian At Best” is the single off Courtney Barnett’s debut LP Sometimes I sit and Think, and Sometimes I just sit. This video features Barnett dressed as a sad clown struggling to perform for an angry audience at an amusement park, being abused, robbed, and others failing to find value in her money.  This satire is Barnett’s eerie take on the entertainment industry and an unapologetic examination of her fear and disinterest with success. Similar to FJM she uses humor to depict this almost Kafka-esque interpretation of the performance and self-loathing.

6.) Song: Life Like This

Artist: Kurt Vile

Director: Adam Avilla


This video depicts Vile's approach to making music as a radical escape from the banality of existence. Many people romanticize recording as being glamorous but now making great music often just takes lots of time in a basement recording studio with some fancy equipment.  The video, directed by Adam Avilla, uses animation to show the spiritual magic of the process, but also confronts music as a virtual phenomenon separated from our dull physical selves and existing in some digital science fiction.  Life Like This is off b’lieve I’m goin down, the 6th studio album by Kurt Vile . 

Nice article...I had no clue that the FJM and Kurt Vile had videos...I never even look for videos...all of these are well done...I have no basis for concluding they are the most radical, so I will take your word for it.