10 Best R&B Videos of 2013
When it comes to videos for some of the best R&B songs this year, creativity and color were put on full display. Some singers like Robin Thicke and Rihanna offered over-the-top sexual imagery while others told a story by showing off iconic fashion at the same time. In visuals supplied by the genre’s major players, museum displays came alive to funky beats, South Africa served as a playground and time travel existed. Then others like John Legend kept it simple and focused more on special effects to gain fans’ attention. If there’s one thing to agree on it’s this: these artists’ songs were given life with riveting visuals. Check out 10 Best R&B Videos of 2013.
Solange plays an around the way girl in Cape Town, South Africa for the video to ‘Losing You,’ featured on her ‘True’ EP. In the visual, the songstress sings and dances in front of a local barbershop while dapper dudes pose and bust smooth moves around her. She later hops in a van with a group of her friends and eventually ends up at a pool for an impromptu dip. Solange ditches the all-black everything trend and embraced bright colors and patterns, making this video nothing less than a moving fashion editorial.
The Weeknd and Drake join forces for ‘Live For,’ an ode to the friends who rock with you until the end. In the supporting clip, the singer appears in a dark warehouse, flashing lights concealing his face at times. This only adds to the air of mystery that has surrounded the Weeknd since he stepped out from under Drake’s wing. The rapper arrives to deliver his verse as speeding images surrounding him, including that of his Canadian friend. The minimalistic video puts focus on Weeknd’s lyrics and finds him standing alone in the midst of his issues.
Robin Thicke‘s ‘Blurred Lines’ video highlights awkward spontaneity, but isn’t that always where in all the fun lies. Long-time collaborator Pharrell Williams and rapper T.I. make an appearance here, dressed up in tussled blazers, pants and hard bottoms. Three ladies (including overnight sensation, Emily Ratajkowski) accompany the dapper gents, but they opt for the “less is more” mantra with lots of skin showing. The video has props galore: dominoes, ice cream, a dog, bikes, cars and the spirits being poured. The eye candy prance around while Thicke, Pharrell and T.I. bust loose with their best moves.
Daft Punk, Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers catch disco fever and put on an energetic performance for the ‘Get Lucky’ video. The foursome rock navy blue sequin suits as they stand in front of a black backdrop. There’s glowing stars twinkling and an orange sunset in the background to add to the fact that the party is about to get started. The addictive rhythms are enough to make you sit there and watch this jam session all the way through.
Luke James lets his feelings for an ex-girlfriend get the best of him in the visual for ‘Oh God.’ The dramatic video, which grabs viewers for its tribute to ‘The Great Gatsby’ era, starts at the end of the story, with James sitting on a chair in a dark room with blood on his face and a cup in his hand. Time rewinds as he stands in the middle of a fancy party — rocking a suit and tie — and spots a mysterious woman with a hat across the room. Rapper/producer Hit-Boy makes a cameo, spitting sad rhymes of a love lost. Soon after, James grabs the lady he’s been eyeing outside the party, hesitating to kiss her. While they’re grabbing and groping, her “new man” appears in the background and a fight ensues. She sits calmly and watches the brawl unfold. Sadly, James can’t get over the mess and is still sitting there the next day caught up in his sorrow.
‘Made to Love’
With a combination of art and special effects, ‘Made to Love’ is a beautiful video that tickles the imagination. John Legend is a narrator of sorts, who only appears in black-and-white as the song plays on. In the meantime, the main characters — two naked couples who have statuesque bodies — are intimately making love in color. There are close-ups of flowers dripping with water and bodies begin to transform and dissolve into liquid form. In the end, Legend turns into a white waxy figure that changes into a cloud of glowing particles. Love in color is the message here.
In the ‘Q.U.E.E.N.’ video, Janelle Monae is the main exhibit in the “Living Museum,” where rebels throughout history are frozen in suspended animation. Members of her Wondaland crew and her dangerous accomplice, Badoula Oblongata (played by Erykah Badu), break out into a energetic routine when two visitors throw the white vinyl of ‘Q.U.E.E.N.’ on the record player. Monae immediately twitches and comes alive — her band and backup dancers, all dressed in her staple of black and white, follow suit. The visual is nothing less than a theatrical display.
‘Pour It Up’
Rihanna gets the crown for being risque and provocative with the ‘Pour It Up’ video. The singer opens the scene by letting viewers know she’s R&B royalty. She sits on a throne in the middle of a dark room, literally walking on water in sky high heels, a floor-length fur, a blonde wig and diamond Carnival-inspired bar. While other strippers climb their poles and perform tricks, Rih Rih breaks out a few of her own moves. She grinds on the chair and gropes herself while throwing out dollar bills. Big money and big booty are in abundance in this visual — this is a strip club anthem after all.
‘Back to Love’
Relationships can take a toll on the mind and body, and the ‘Back to Love’ video tells that story with some added humor. Bilal and his lady go through the motions of a rocky union that develops into a more respectful romance. She keeps texting him as she sits alone waiting for his reply. He watches as one couple reconciles and gets back to love, which inspires him to do the same. The crooner also plays a psychologist by the name of ‘Dr. Love,’ who attempts to solve his crazy clients’ relationship problems. The Philadelphia native ends the clip on a positive note, however, as he and his lady hug it out over a few laughs.
‘Suit & Tie’
Justin Timberlake decides to take a trip back in time with his ‘Suit & Tie’ video. Shot in warm black-and-white film, the effort is full of pizzazz as the ’50s version of J.T. shows off slick moves in a crisp suit and tie. Jay Z joins the singer onstage, looking dapper as he coolly sits on a chair in the concert hall. With shades on, a drink in his hand and his tie undone, Hov raps effortlessly. The video concludes with the two dapping it up for a job well done.