Best Videos of 2013
Some of country’s top artists offered up great new videos in 2013.
Established genre superstars like Carrie Underwood, Tim McGraw and Blake Shelton gave fans some intriguing new approaches in videos this year, while groups like the Band Perry, Lady Antebellum and Little Big Town also filmed some great new work.
Our list of the Best Videos of 2013 takes in fun, serious, and visually stunning productions for a cross-section of everything that was good in the country genre this year.
Lady Antebellum broke away from their more serious side for ‘Downtown,’ the first single from their album ‘Golden.’ The group drafted director Peter Zavadil to direct, and Beth Behrs from TV’s ‘2 Broke Girls’ to appear as a friend who drags Hillary Scott into trouble on a wild night out on the town.
Little Big Town went from the fun of ‘Pontoon’ to the extremely serious ‘Your Side of the Bed,’ a track that addresses the growing distance between a couple in love. Directed by Becky Fluke, the video takes that a step further, with singers Karen Fairchild and Jimi Westbrook — married in real life — playing a couple of traveling performers who are great onstage, but experiencing a growing estrangement offstage. The clip was one of the most emotionally honest of the year.
Blake Shelton had a huge year with his ‘Based on a True Story . . .’ album and tour. He showed fans a new side with ‘Boys ‘Round Here,’ with its talk-singing near-rap vocal style. Trey Fanjoy directed the video, which features all-star guests, including Pistol Annies, in a giant house party for one of the year’s most fun-filled clips.
Newcomer Kacey Musgraves had a hit right out of the box with her major-label debut album, ‘Same Trailer Different Park.’ The album’s first single, ‘Merry Go ‘Round,’ offered fans their first dose of her razor-sharp observations on small-town life. Directed by Perry Bean, the accompanying music video introduced viewers to Musgraves’ unique visual sensibility, as well as her individualistic approach to modern country music.
Kellie Pickler gave fans another dose of her more serious side with ‘Someone Somewhere Tonight,’ the first single from her album ‘The Woman I Am.’ Director Roman White’s video reunited Pickler with her ‘Dancing With the Stars’ partner, Derek Hough, who helped her win the show. The pair’s elegant, understated dancing around an empty house made the video one of the most eye-catching of the year.
The Band Perry are becoming one of the video artists to watch in the country genre, consistently coming up with videos that are visually and thematically more interesting than the standard fare. ‘Better Dig Two’ is a dark, moody song about a woman who swears she’ll die and be buried next to her husband if he goes before her. Director Declan Whitebloom used dark colors and a murky, threatening visual palette to put that idea across in the video, which is one of the most dynamic of the year.
Miranda Lambert has made a little bit of a cottage industry out of crazy. She’s perhaps the only artist in Nashville who could get away with a song like ‘Mama’s Broken Heart,’ which centers around a woman’s adverse reaction to a breakup. Directed by Trey Fanjoy, the accompanying video features Lambert at her loony best for one of the year’s outstanding clips.
Despite her outwardly sweet demeanor, you just really don’t want to mess with Carrie Underwood. In videos past she’s trashed a guy’s truck with a baseball bat and let her abusive father die in a storm, but ‘Two Black Cadillacs’ takes the cake. Directed by P.R. Brown, the video tells the story of a vengeful wife who colludes with her husband’s lover to punish him after they both discover the other’s existence, then murders him by running him down in an alley. The visually arresting clip is one of the year’s best.
Tim McGraw hit a new career peak this year with the release of ‘Two Lanes of Freedom,’ his first album for Big Machine. ‘Highway Don’t Care’ featured performances from Taylor Swift and Keith Urban, making it one of the musical events of the year. The video, directed by Shane Drake, used the framework of the song to warn viewers about the dangers of driving distracted, making it one of the most powerful clips of the year.
‘Wagon Wheel’ took Darius Rucker to new heights in his country career this year. The song was a huge No. 1 smash hit, but it was the video that put the icing on the cake. The incredibly infectious clip featured guest appearances from cast members of ‘Duck Dynasty’ and Lady Antebellum for the most entertaining video of 2013.