What's better than our favorite music videos of the year? How about our favorite sci-fi themed music videos of the year? Here's the best that 2012 had to offer.
This year's crop featured music from virtually every genre, and included such science fiction staples as space travel, telekinesis, enhanced humans, robots-run-amok, and, of course, zombies.
Here are our favorites from the past year (in no particular order):
For their most recent album Hurry Up, We're Dreaming, ethereal French pop band M83 released music videos starring a bunch of telekinetic children escaping from their grown-up pursuers. It's like Akira meets Escape To Witch Mountain meets Close Encounters — but with guitars and synthesizers. And it works.
The Flaming Lips & Lightning Bolt: "I'm Working at NASA on Acid"
This one's a bit twisted, but don't say we didn't warn you. Musically, it's bit of David Bowie's "A Space Oddity" intermixed with generous amounts of Pink Floyd psychedelia.
Flying Lotus: "Putty Boy Strut"
Electronic musician Flying Lotus teams up with surrealist British animator Cyriak for, "Putty Boy Strut" — and it's super cute. The video is clearly inspired by the popular Japanese game, Katamari Damacy, which features hungry robots who get increasingly larger as they collect everything around them in order to rebuild the Cosmos.
Niki & The Dove: "Tomorrow"
Some nice retro-futurism from these up-and-comers. In the video, Niki is desperate to get back home to her man, but en route she must endure the perils of faster-than-light travel, a depressurized cabin, and a hazardous re-entry once at her destination.
When Saints Go Machine: "Mannequin"
A trippy journey through space, time — and whatever else you can think of. The vocals remind me a bit of Antony Hegarty.
King Loses Crown: "My Revenge"
We're not entirely sure what's going on in the "My Revenge" video from San Francisco indie rockers King Loses Crown — but it features a bunch of robots who are seriously pissed off and clearly up to something.
Miike Snow: "The Wave"
Picking up where "Paddling Out" left off, "The Wave" video depicts a (trans)human man who was surgically altered by aliens and transformed into a giant-nosed, black-vinyl-pants-wearing freakshow. It's an Andreas Nilsson-directed clip that starts with an object falling from space that kills a bunch of kids, and it just gets weirder from there.
Bon Iver: "Towers"
This NABIL directed video features some really neat cinematography and special effects. A very tasteful short film for such a beautiful and delicate track.
Squarepusher: "Dark Steerling"
The thing about electronic artist Squarepusher is that both his videos and his music sound like they come from the future.
Frankie Rose: "Gospel/Grace"
Formerly of Vivian Girls, Frankie Rose's debut solo album is as spacey an affair as it gets. Be sure to check out the track "Interstellar" to hear what I mean.
Cat Power: "Cherokee"
Chan Marshal (aka Cat Power) returns! And with an awesome video to boot (which she directed herself). This one features people who are fighting zombies with triangles on their shirts, using big shiny rayguns. And there are mysterious buried crystals and flashbacks to life before the crystal zombie apocalypse.
Baron von Luxxury: "Glass Candy"
Shot in Death Valley, electro-pop singer Baron Von Luxxury meets a mysterious bonde woman in a white jumpsuit. Who promptly collapses, so he drives her around for a bit. Until she zaps him with her eye-beams, and then finally drags him away to be confronted by a whole host of her sexy, sexy evil clones. Leading to an unscheduled space flight.
Guardian Alien: "See the World Given to a One Love Entity"
This music defies classification, so "psychedelic metal" will have to do. Guardian Alien features drummer Greg Fox, formerly of the black metal outfit, Liturgy.
Mister Lies: "False Astronomy"
Directed and animated by Nick Torres, "False Astronomy" is a gorgeous journey through the depths of pulsating space, and backdropped by some impressive downtempo electronica.
Let's Talk About Space: "Sailing To The Moon"
This video started as an educational project to get kids interested in space, and turned into a full-blown music video. "Sailing to the Moon" is performed by science educators Chris McGarry and Kieran Heather, and directed and designed by Jessica Ashman; it's delightful and silly — sort of like Doctor Who gone completely twee.
In this six-minute animation tornado by Fantasista Utamaro and Kubotabee, a pink-haired girl runs the same exact route through twenty-five or so different animated realities, each zanier than the last.
Swimming: "I Do"
Taken off the album, Ecstatics International, this video features an astronaut who deliberately strands herself on the beach of an alien planet. But is it really alien?
Bjӧrk: "Mutual Core"
This isn't really science fiction, but it is science — and we just wouldn't feel right by leaving it off the list. Because Bjӧrk. Get ready for the most bizarre — and sexy — geology lesson you've ever experienced.
Let us know if we missed any of your favorites!