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The best local music videos of 2019

This is what 2019 looked like to us, apparently.

This is what 2019 looked like to us, apparently. YouTube

I have so many tabs open on my browser right now.

In contention for 2019’s farcical-but-fun best-of rundown: 51 weeks, 51 editions of Local Frames, 255 individual music videos. The field brims with hard-grinding rappers, wispy indie bands, and basement-dwelling punks. Did they know they were vying for the honor of placement on this list? Well, I’ve been doing it for three years now, so... maybe?

Anyway, before we launch headlong into 2020 and forget everything about the year prior, let’s take a moment to remember the highlights—as I’ve determined them. That is to say, arbitrarily and in a single Chrome window.

Most “Old Town Road”: NFG Mayhem – “Hotel Room”

Let 2019 be remembered as the year City Pages wrote 18 articles referencing Lil’ Nas X’s superhit “Old Town Road.” Even if the song may be long forgotten this time next year, its grip on our writing staff was iron. Local rapper NFG Mayhem felt it, too, and his raunchy remix “Hotel Room” attempted to cash in on the TikTok-borne craze. This year was a weird ride, and seeing NFG in a leather 10-gallon hat is the haw we all wanted to yee.

Most Touching: Ben Noble – “Daughter”

Being a musician and a father is a test, but it’s one that Twin Cities singer-songwriter Ben Noble relishes. Noble’s February video for “Daughter,”directed by Paul Hjellming, left a lasting impression for its heartfelt look into fatherhood. Though Andrew Thoreen, Mayda, and See More Perspectiveoffered their ownworthy soul-stirrers, no video overpowered my ingrained cynicism quite like “Daughter.”

Best Fever Dream: Catbath – “Check Byways”

When all else fails, go weird. Plenty of local bands and music video directors live by this axiom, and as such, there was some truly strange music media created in 2019. NFG Mayhem cosplayed as Arthur, 44 ruined NASA, Mr Submissive went door to door sowing paranoia, and MNFOBIA got so twisted it warped reality. But nothing was as fucked up as Catbath’s “Check Byways,”a psychedelic infomercial brought to cursed existence by director Gravey Graves (who might not be a real person?).

Hunkiest Bois: Yam Haus – “Simplicity”

Yam Haus played First Ave earlier this month, and moms and daughters alike were fainting at the sight of the well-coiffed boys in their pinkish suits. The Yam boys are, conclusively, hunks. Try to resist their charms in the October video for “Simplicity.”Whether barreling downhill on Big Wheels or sitting oceanside soaked in rain, their appeal is frustratingly undeniable. The rascals can sing, too, as evidenced by the live cut of “Stargazer”released all the way back in January.

Most Horny: Illuminatè Steele – “Anima Animus”

Speaking of sex appeal, we challenge you to suppress your lust as local R&B dominatrix Illuminatè Steele writhes all over the dancefloor at First Avenue. “Anima Animus” was a too-hot-for-the-Current electro-pop sexfest that topped evenSteele’s earlier effortat being the horniest vid of the year, not to mention Rhymesayers’ own horndog Prof hitting the strip clubandHot Pink Hangover’s wiggling, fishnetted booty. Hats (and pants) off to you, Madam Steele.

Most Minnesota: Rebel Queens – “Hey Yeah”

The October 1 edition of Local Frames was some of the most Minnesota shit of the year. We Are lit up a lake house, Nova Human stood tall in downtown, and Gabe Barnett reprised the song that won this award two years ago. Before that, there was Alex Matthew’s no-punches-pulled love letter to the North Star State. But through it all, no video quite captured the spirit of the state like Rebel Queens’ homecoming hoe-down “Hey Yeah.”The way the small town turns into a barbecue at the light of the first coal briquette, the way the neighbors get together to crush cheap beer—this is the Minnesota we all aspire to live in.

Most Fuck Trump: The Prizefighters – “Stop Them”

Fuck Trump is Local Frames’ official position, and if you ain’t down with that, you won’t be down with the lyric video for The Prizefighters’ single “Stop Them,”either. Don’t let the peppy ska tune confuse you, this is a stone-cold disavowal of white nationalism and everything the modern Trump faction stands for. Also, big ups to Vicky Emerson for her Me Too anthem “The Reckoning,”which was also in contention.

Most Fuck City Pages: Charlie Doesn’t Surf – “Lynlake Punk”

Whether you’re sick of me pot-shotting our newly impeached president every week or your faith in our humble alt-weekly was shaken during the Village Voice days, you’ll find great pleasure in Charlie Doesn’t Surf setting a copy ablaze in their video for “Lynlake Punk.”Whatever the case, you gotta have a sense of humor or you might not make it out of 2020 alive.

Dream of seeing your video appear in Local Frames? Email writer Jerard Fagerberg at [email protected]