10. JARINA DE MARCO / “SPELL ON YOU” / DIR. PABLO LOZANO [USA]
Since last year, Jarina de Marco has been blasting our senses with her clever spins on instant classics, like Jay Z’s “Big Pimpin’,” and she took it a step further by converting Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ classic, “Spell on You,” into an all-out, Caribbean empowerment anthem. The video, directed by Pablo Lozano, is a vivid splash of color and wit, where Jarina playfully (and a bit menacingly) guides us from the botánica to a full-on santero ritual, with a mixture of Haitian voodoo thrown in, hens included. It’s fun, catchy, tongue in cheek, and it also serves as a reminder of how rich and awesome Caribbean cultures are. That said, it’s also a reminder not to fuck with her, and that’s pretty badass, too. -Amaya García
9. ALEX ANWANDTER / “TORMENTA” /DIR. ALVARO APONTE [CHL]
One of the more radical approaches to music video making this year came by way of Chile’s own Alex Anwandter. Although we usually get glitter camp and synchronized eight counts from Anwandter, “Tormenta” presented a more intimate side of him. To obnoxiously quote myself, the video, directed by Alvaro Aponte, works as an “inclusive taxonomy of sexuality,” a collection of sexual portraits that work to reify our expectations of bodily encounters (encounters with both others and ourselves). This is an important video because it gives agency to the dispossessed, to the misidentified. It celebrates a new non-normative context where bodies are allowed to act in the service of pleasure without shame and, most importantly, without categorization. Here, empowerment comes from one self coming into contact with an other. – Paola Capó-García
8. SOUR SOUL / “UNDERMINE” / DIR. KANE LEE KWIK ALLAN & JULIO CESAR RODRIGUEZ [MEX]
If Guillermo Del Toro had started his film career doing music videos, they would’ve probably looked something like this. Sure, it’s a bit film-school artsy but it beats any other video of its kind in originality and the photography is superb. If we had an Oscar-like award ceremony I’d also nominate it for the costume design category, just for those beautifully creepy masks.
Like the song, it’s slow and gloomy, which could’ve made the watching experience a bit tedious. But just when you’re starting to feel like maybe skipping to the next video, the directors throw in a decent dose of T&A to recapture the viewers’ attention and voilà, you’ve got a masterpiece! – Juan Data
7. LA MALA RODRIGUEZ / “33” DIR. ALBERTO BLANCO [ESP]
When La Mala María became La Mala Rodríguez and left the Sevilla underground hip-hop scene to become a worldwide crossover sensation, many orthodox rap fans were disappointed and accused her of getting soft and losing her edge. With “33,” the now-veteran rapper goes back to her “jarcor” roots and the raspy throat flow that made her stand out from all other femcees back in the late ‘90s. Her lyrical blade is sharper than ever.
The video manages to reflect this by taking La Mala away from all the pop glamour she indulged in in her previous work and showing her in the raw. As a result, she finally looks like the badass she claims to be while not wasting the opportunity to be sexy in her own way (upskirt alert for my fellow pervs). – Juan Data
6. JULIETA VENEGAS / “TE VI” / DIR. HERNAN MARCELO CORERA, LUCIANO BENJAMIN CIEZA, OSCAR HECTOR FERNANDEZ, SEBASTIAN SUTTON [MEX]
I think it’s impossible for Julieta Venegas to write something that isn’t cute in some way. Like, she could join a death metal band called Kill Everyone Repeatedly In Many Ways and dress in all black with scary face paint and the results would still be cute. As you’ve probably guessed, “Te Vi” is a cute little song whose video focuses on a puppy love triangle. Guy and girl are in cutesy love but Mr. Third Wheel is also in love with the same girl who isn’t in love with him at all. Typical! The video is pretty amazing thanks to some stellar use of light and some excellent cinematography that could tell the story on its own. – Afroxander