In a blink of an eye, we’re already onto the very last days of 2023 — and boy, what a year has it been. As a team that both works in music and personally advocates for the homegrown scene, we’ve beared witness to incredible releases all throughout the last year. And, as we continue to celebrate 2023 and all its musical gifts, we’re putting the spotlight on one of our favorite aspects of music: music videos.
Adding depth and gravity to already great songs, these carefully crafted visuals prove that music can be just as visually beautiful as it is sonically. 2023 has seen a wave of incredible music videos, from creatively intricate one-takes to nostalgic montages that hit close to home to cinematic visuals that look like it was made out of this world.
Next up on our year-end lists, we here at Billboard Philippines put together a list of our picks of the best music videos of 2023.
“You’ll Be Safe Here” – Rico Blanco
On the surface, Rico Blanco’s visualizer for “You’ll Be Safe Here” may seem too simple to be included in a Best Music Videos of 2023 list, but for the keen eye (and maybe the hardcore ‘Maya fan), the re-recorded version is a parallel to the original music video released during Blanco’s time in Rivermaya. The jacket worn by the singer-songwriter in the first frame of the video is a callback to the same furry jacket he wore in the original music video. The dark forest-fallen leaves motif in the visualizer also references the Rivermaya video, where the band performs the song in the middle of a dark forest. Just as the sun shines in the visualizer, lighting up the castle-like setting where Rico Blanco is in, in the original music video, the forest lights up in sunshine during the last chorus. It’s the subtleties and nostalgia that are the perfect lead-up to the Rivermaya reunion next year. — Kara Angan
“SANCTUARY” – ((( O )))
((( O )))’s music is always an ethereal trip to another realm, bringing you to otherworldly and mythical sonic spaces with every release—or as she calls them: “moondrops”. In the same vein, the singer-songwriter’s music videos are incredibly mesmerizing. In her latest video for “SANCTUARY” directed and edited by audiovisual storyteller Dominic Bekaert, ((( O ))) takes on the character of a “alien panther ninja shaman”, who is working on following their inner rhythms and bringing harmony to a world of chaos. — Jenny Fernandez
“IDWTEXTUBABY” – Kindred
Directed by one of their members, Jaime San Juan or artistically known as dot.jaime, Kindred’s music video for IDWTEXTUBABY is one of the most creative music videos that I’ve seen in recent memory. Not only is it a stunning visualizer to the track, but all the effort put into the video itself is awe-inspiring –– including the group’s synchronized choreography, the playful and colorful set pieces, and kinetic cinematography behind the camera. Filming a music video for a seven-minute track in one-take is an innovative, if not challenging choice for the task, but Kindred pull it off with such ease in this video well-worth checking out. — Gabriel Saulog
“Glue Song” – beabadoobee
This montage of scenic snippets from everyday Filipino life is high-key nostalgia fuel. While we all appreciate and are awestruck by big productions and creatively complex visuals, simple music videos that showcase the mundane beauties of our everyday life here in the Philippines have a special place in our hearts. beabadoobee’s music video for “Glue Song” brings to memory the 2001 Japanese film All About Lily Chou-Chou for its experimental format and visual poetry. Simple and succinct yet worth rewatching every time. — Ratziel San Juan, Jenny Fernandez
“TIKTIKTOKIN” – PLAYERTWO
Davao’s “DIY Kids” PLAYERTWO released an absurdist music video for their track, “TIKTIKTOKIN” off their debut album HAPPY ACCIDENTS VOL. 1. Directed by one of the group’s creative directors, Ven Villariza, the visual is dark, edgy, and artsy, with moments of social realism weaved in. — Kara Angan
“bad idea right?” – Olivia Rodrigo
We’re all capable of making bad decisions, but ultimately, we hate seeing just how embarrassing we can be making them. With Olivia Rodrigo’s music video to “bad idea right?”, she does exactly just that –– making the perfect visualizer that is wry and sarcastic in its humor, making it a great encapsulation of our bad decisions painted onto one big picture. It’s fun with its use of the literal forces of nature preventing Rodrigo from meeting up with an ex, yet it’s definitely relatable to any audience member who’s gone through extreme measures while making poor life decisions. Not many visualizers complement their songs as well as this does, especially as Rodrigo’s video to “bad idea right?” actually enhances the song further. For sure, this could stand as one of Petra Collins and Rodrigo’s best collaborations to date. — Gabriel Saulog
“Crashing” – O Side Mafia, Tus
What happens when two of the most exciting hip hop groups in the game collaborate? You get a song that slaps harder than your mother after she catches you throwing up gang signs on TikTok with the homies. O Side Mafia and Tus brothers link up and enlist the powerhouse director duo y.stacey & NAKI for a trip into a chaotic requiem for a dream. Showcasing a powerful 3D enhanced opening, overlays that scream “on sight” and a spinning fish eye that disorients in all the right ways, “Crashing” is an MV that proves the youth won’t be knocking at the door — they’ll be crashing through it. — Bret Jackson
“ERE” (Live Performance Video) – juan karlos
While the studio recording of “ERE” was good to begin with, it was the live performance video that skyrocketed the track into the mainstream. Although the video itself is simple — juan karlos with his band performing in a room — the emotion and gestures he shows in the live performance video outmatch the studio recording. What sets the video apart from other live performances is the POV-style of filming, where the camera is attached to Juan Karlos himself and follows his movements throughout the song. Other live performance videos tend to be static, making this one more memorable. — Kara Angan
“Atin-Atin Lang” – Al James, Flow G
Al James has always had the eye for visuals, and “Atin-Atin Lang” is a prime example of that. It’s a complete stand out in terms of hip-hop music videos — Wes Anderson-style colors, Tyler the Creator sunflowers, and mixed media animation. It’s a wholesome and vivid burst of color — with all credits to Director of Photography Sean Amador and Set Designer Jezziekha Alviz for the eye candy. — Kara Angan
“GENTO” (Performance Video) – SB19
Many consider the K-pop scene to be the home of the best musical performers in the biz, but SB19 proved the world wrong in their performance video for their viral hit, “GENTO.” Despite being covered in mud throughout the video, Pablo, Justin, Stell, Ken, and Josh exude a radiant essence that keeps the audience’s eyes peeled on them throughout. The group’s incomparable artistry is top-notch with every dance move and paired with their confidence and the impressive production for the video, it stands out as one of the most memorable music videos of the year. For sure (fan or not), you’ll probably want to try a few moves of SB19’s once you’ve watched their performance. — Gabriel Saulog