In Wavves’ latest video, “Demon to Lean On,” the indie band reveals the seedy underbelly of trash dumps, and shows a group of lost boys—as dirty as Pig-Pen from Charlie Brown, and as fierce as the tykes in Lord of the Flies—wreaking havoc in a landfill. From Jack White to Calvin Harris, see the most creative and thought-provoking music videos portraying the youth as bad-ass kids and reminding us of what it’s like to be young again.
Danny Brown: “Grown Up”
Oh, so that’s how Danny Brown lost his teeth (see 1:00)! In this comedic peek into the rapper’s rebellious childhood, his young doppelgänger—decked in impeccable, stylish swag—runs around town pushing over trashcans, swiping books off the shelves at libraries, and rapping out by the schoolyard.
M83: “Midnight City”
Is this a school for the children of X-Men? In M83’s “Midnight City” video, we get to see the power of these telekinetic young’uns as they bust out of their boarding school for the gifted with the goal of being normal kids—you know, the kind that have glowing eyes and like to telepathically spin trailers in the air. These special little ones return in M83’s “Reunion” video.
Jack White: “Sixteen Saltines”
These kids are some serious badasses. This “Sixteen Saltines” video montages depraved teens at their worst, from huffing drugs in gas masks to holding onto dismembered digits. Rocker Jack White shows up in the video hogtied in the backseat of a car, struggling to get out, while a demonic, Smurf-tinted lad pours gasoline all over the vehicle (see 2:20).
The Black Keys: “Tighten Up”
Boys will be boys. Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney’s mini-versions of themselves in their “Tighten Up” video soulfully lip sync to the song, fall in love with the same girl, and get into a brawl (see 2:17). The Black Keys duo try to break up the fight with disastrous results.
Bon Iver: “Holocene”
In this gorgeous and moving video featuring a tow-headed boy exploring the sprawling and breathtaking landscapes of Iceland, Bon Iver reminds us about the innocence and wonderment of childhood. The youth skips rocks over streams and runs across vast meadows, with the soft and dreamy music of “Holocene" in the background.
Skrillex: “First of the Year (Equinox)”
Already hitting nearly 110 million views on YouTube, this Skrillex video shows a hooded, innocent-looking girl followed by a pedophile. It’s unnerving to watch, like a Law and Order: SVU episode, but the man gets his comeuppance when the hunter becomes the prey (see 1:25). Impressive special effects ensue.
Foals: “Blue Blood”
In this Foals video, the British rock group showcases a child mature beyond his years, lip syncing to the lyrics of “Blue Blood” for his school’s talent show contest. The boy wipes out the competition as he performs dance moves similar to Napoleon Dynamite, complete with back flips (see 3:55). This kid might be the next Billy Elliot!
Calvin Harris: “Feel So Close”
Electronic music producer Calvin Harris reminds us of what it’s like to be young again in his beautifully shot video for “Feel So Close.” In the video, we follow teens from different walks of life—from punk misfits to cheerleaders— and see them go through their day in suburbia, without a care in the world.