In Depth

Nudity, Seapunks & "Gangnam Style": 2012's 8 Music Video Trends

From adults in animal costumes to the pony dance copied around the world, here are eight weird things that happened in music videos this year
 / December 11, 2012

The Year in Music Videos

1 / 9
Getty Images, 3

When we think about all the music videos we watched in 2012, we're a little overwhelmed. Of course we think about Christina Aguilera's "Your Body" video first (wink, wink), which you guys voted as the best video of the year. (Shout out to you, zealous Xtina fans.) But a whole bunch of other important stuff happened on the music video front this year, too. We should talk about it.

It was a weird year—Psy's "Gangnam Style" arrived on YouTube and became the most watched video of all time, Taylor Swift reassured us that our furry fascination is perfectly healthy and "seapunk" was added to your vocabulary. In case you're having trouble remembering everything that happened, take a look back at the eight most random music video trends of 2012 to refresh your memory. 

Plushies & Furries

2 / 9

"Plushies" and "furies," once spotlighted in an MTV True Life episode, are grown adults dressed in animal costumes, and their presence in music videos was a very serious thing in 2012. See: Taylor Swift's "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together," which features her band dressed as forest animals for no real reason. More animal-friendly videos we watched this year: Circa Survive's "Suitcase" makes falling in love with a furry look super romantic, while Valente's "It Don't Matter" reveals just how hard it is out there for a dude dressed in a camel mask.

Seapunk 101

3 / 9

Following Rihanna's November appearance on Saturday Night Live, the Internet was up in arms demanding to know where she got the idea for that bizarro green screen with images floating across it that looked like they were stolen from a 1996 PowerPoint presentation. Turns out it's actually inspired by an aesthetic movement called "seapunk," and Azealia Banks is a fan, too. Her "Atlantis" video, which premiered just after Ri's SNL appearance, had people yelling "Copycat!" but many actually credit M.I.A.'s "XXXO" video as the first time seapunk went mainstream.

Confused? Us, too. Just sit back, watch the floating dolphins and enjoy the song.

The Return of Hammer Pants

4 / 9

Is it just us or was everyone's crotch area really sagging this year? We know that whole "Everything old is new again" idiom is true, but we were kind of hoping Hammer pants would stay back in the '80s where they belong. (Are they really too legit to quit?)

Rihanna actually makes a case for them in her "Where Have You Been" video, but let's not forget she's Rihanna, and she can look good in a garbage bag. Other pants perpetrators: Almost everyone in the G.O.O.D. Music "Mercy" video is rockin' the drop-crotch, and Justin Bieber is wearing 'em while trying to convince his video girlfriend's dad to let him date his daughter in "As Long As You Love Me." (Spoiler alert: It doesn't work.) Big Sean is the common denominator in both of those videos, so we blame him. 

Omnipresent Nicki Minaj

5 / 9

Did you make a music video in 2012? Chances are Nicki Minaj was in it. Besides releasing six of her own videos this year (!!!), Nicki also appeared in videos alongside David Guetta, Madonna, M.I.A., 2 Chainz, DJ Khaled, Chris Brown, Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, Cam'ron, Waka Flocka Flame, Tyga, Flo Rida, Cassie, Justin Bieber and Alicia Keys. All in one year! Did we forget anyone?

N00ds

6 / 9

Nudity isn't exactly an original tactic in music videos, but it seems like everyone was droppin' trou in 2012. Inescapable example: Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know," featuring Kimbra. The pair is covered in strategically placed painted triangles, but that's more than we can say for some other naked video stars: Shia LaBeouf got hella naked for Sigur Ros' "Fjögur Píanó" video (caution: weiner alert), while Erykah Badu stripped down and covered herself in glitter and blood (?) for her Flaming Lips collabo, "First Time Ever I Saw Your Face." (Suuuuuper NSFW.) Hide yo kids!

The Great Outdoors

7 / 9

Being a teen pop star and going outside is so fun, you guys. Just look at One Direction who got all zany (Zayne-y?) on us in their Monkees-esque "Live While We're Young" music video—Tents! Campfires! Haystacks! Rope swings! Al fresco tomfoolery all over the place. Carly Rae Jepsen and Owl City also got out of the city to have a "Good Time" camping in the country, and B.o.B introduced Taylor Swift to the hood way to hang out outside (see: lowriders) in their video, "Both of Us." All we can think about: the collective bug bite count for the crew on these video shoots.

Unexpected Collaborations

8 / 9

It's like all of our favorite musicians woke up one day and said, "F--k it, the world's ending this year, I'm just going to ask that dude/dudette to be in my video." Only in 2012 could Lana Del Rey be in a music video with A$AP Rocky where they play the Kennedys ("National Anthem"), only in 2012 would 50 Cent and Eminem agree to be seen next to Adam Levine ("My Life") and only in 2012 would Taylor Swift work her way into a B.o.B video ("Both of Us"). Maybe the world really is ending this year...

Psy Has Arrived

9 / 9

Long ago (July 2012) in a galaxy far, far away (South Korea), a little Asian rapper by the name of Psy premiered his music video for "Gangnam Style." Then he broke the Internet. (He also broke the YouTube record for most watched video of all time.) 

After becoming an instant viral sensation (even your grandmother has seen this one), Psy performed the international hit everywhere: Madison Square Garden, The Today Show, The Ellen Degeneres Show (with Britney Spears!) and even The White House. Never mind those pesky anti-American lyrics from one of Psy's 2004 songs (whoops), 2012 was the year of Psy. BRB, pony dancing our way into 2013.

User Comments

Advertisement

Photo of the day

November 26: A Thanksgiving Surprise

November 26: A Thanksgiving Surprise

Big Sean shows us the true meaning of Thanksgiving. The Detroit rapper made a surprise visit to his homestate of Michigan for a charitable cause, and happily gave out some frozen turkey. The All Star Giveback: Thanksgiving Edition, part of his Sean Anderson Foundation, is just some of the few ways musicians share their bighearted side during the holidays.

Advertisement