I have said it before. I am saying it again: If there’s one thing I’ve learned from running this site, it’s that people love music videos. Here’s the proof: The videos below — the most popular clips on the site this year — have amassed tens of thousands of views. And there’s plenty more where they came from: Just click the Video Premiere and Sponsored tags at the bottom of the page to see tons of others clips that debuted and screened here in 2021. Now, on to the countdown:
1 | Leeroy Stagger | More Love Than Money
Leeroy Stagger delivers a slice of sweet simplicity with More Love Than Money. The third single from Stagger’s album Dystopian Weekends is a sunny, laid-back charmer that speaks to finding happiness and looking on the bright side of life amidst a world of darkness. “More Love Than Money is about making major life decisions based on happiness and intuition rather than fear,” says Stagger, who makes a Hitchcockian cameo in the endearing pizza-delivery video. “There are plenty of voices that can talk you out of a dream, but if you follow the ones that guide your heart, you realize that anything is possible — even if it means giving something up to start fresh, or at the bottom of something different. It’s about new beginnings and running off of the love of the people that support you.”
2 | Mihi Nihil | Falling Star
Mihi Nihil make a wish in their darkly beautiful video for the wistful single Falling Star. The fourth and final preview of the band’s self-titled debut album takes a deep dive into the Los Angeles outfit’s delicious, decadent sound. As the woozy ’50s-style waltz slowly and seductively unfurls, singer Mihi Vox’s soulful yearning flirts with the throbbing, low-slung twang of guitarist Benjamin Montoya’s menacing fretwork. Imagine the last dance at a sock hop in a David Lynch film and you’ll be right at home.
3 | Elliott Waits For No One | Megalomanic
Elliott Waits For No One speak truth to power in the passionate, intensely cathartic Megalomaniac. The third single from the American alt-rock outfit’s self-titled debut album serves as an “a pinnacle anthem for what individuality means, and has become in the world today,” says bandmember Jenny Franck. “People truly believe they are larger than life itself, and yet they still cannot defy death.”
4 | Gregg Garvey | American Fight (Hold On)
Gregg Garvey issues a wakeup call from a fever dream in his surreal video for the topical American Fight (Hold On). The latest release from the Minnesota-raised, L.A.-based singer-songwriter takes the socio-political temperature of a divided nation, setting its timely message against a backdrop of soulful retro-rock with echoes of Lou Reed and The Kinks. A reflection on our tumultuous and polarized reality, the song casts Garvey a drifter sharing wry observations on American society, while maintaining a steadfast optimism with his urgent plea to hold on.
5 | Tristan Armstrong | Periscope
Tristan Armstrong dives deep into romantic isolation in his gorgeous video for Periscope. A beautifully bittersweet waltz that gently floats past on rippling currents of guitar, effected electric violin, and lush orchestration — all buoyed by Armstrong’s heartworn lyrics and tenderly intimate vocals — Periscope is both a revealingly personal work and a song with universal relevance for anyone who’s in over their head in these turbulent times.
6 | Kyra And Tully | Monarch Butterfly
Kyra And Tully find love to be as delicate and elusive as the title pollinator of their gorgeous single and video. The latest release from the Kingston folk duo’s recent fifth album Time, the homespun piano ballad flits and floats along with all the natural grace and uneven beauty of its namesake, as M.P. Tully spins a tender tale of romantic yearning sweetened by Kyra Walker’s angelically soaring harmonies and melancholy strings.
7 | Son Of Dave | What A Life
Son Of Dave takes a scenic cruise through the seedy underbelly of the American dream in his darkly witty What A Life. Fueled by sordid visions of nuns, guns and hot cross buns, the one-man blues band and his trusty harmonica serve up a bittersweet slice of American pie in another modern blues masterpiece, enjoying the wild ride to hell like Slim Pickens straddling a nuke all the way down to the soon-to-be-scorched earth.
8 | Larissa Tandy | Drive
Larissa Tandy puts a toxic relationship in the rear-view mirror in her powerful, purposeful single and video. An earthy roots-rocker that belongs on a playlist between Lucinda Williams and Roy Orbison, Drive’s bouncy beat, rich melodies and vintage touches are offset by Tandy’s defiantly dark vocals and dramatic lyrics about a resilient woman who packs her bag and heads off into the night, tired of “being a passenger in my own life.” Fittingly, the creation of the song was a journey all on its own for the Australian-born singer-songwriter, who divides her time between Vancouver, Nashville and Melbourne.
9 | Victory Chimes | The Pelican
Victory Chimes share a tale of love, loss, loneliness and longing in lockdown in The Pelican. The second song from the Montreal band’s most recent album Spinning Wheel, the hauntingly powerful and quietly intense track — illustrated by a bittersweet video depicting one man’s emotional implosion — has never been more relevant. Not bad for a track that was written, recorded and released long before recent events.
10 | Tristan Armstrong | Sing In Your Sleep
Tristan Armstrong listens to you Sing In Your Sleep in his dreamy, romantically rootsy video. Reminiscent of Gord Downie, Wilco and Stephen Malkmus, the Toronto singer-songwriter’s ode to simplicity and the modest charms of domestic life is sweet without being saccharine and soothing without making you sleepy, taking an unexpected shift into ’90s rock energy in its third act — and taking its inspiration from his own daily life. “The first thing I hear every morning is my girlfriend asking me the same question: ‘Did you have any interesting dreams?’ ” he says. “It got me thinking about the seamless quality of dream narratives and how to explore that in a song.”