This year, Oregon-raised rap star Wynne cosplayed as Marilyn Monroe, Nonbinary Girlfriend's Anaïs Genevieve burned a wedding dress, and rapper-singer Mal London searched an abandoned barn for his missing date. That's right, we're showing love to the music videos that Portlanders made this year.

A good video might be your way into a group—whose whole catalog you subsequently inhale. With enough thought, visual accompaniments can explain, compound, or even elevate a song's meaning. In 2023, the Portland music community put out a ton of great material, but here are our five favorites: 

“Jaw Morant,” Wynne

Wynne put out several impressive music videos in 2023, including “What Would Comb Do?” And “High Standards,” but we just can’t stop playing the song and visual for Some Like It Hot lead single “Jaw Morant.” Directed by acclaimed music video maestro Riley Brown, the video sees Wynne embodying a handful of highly different roles, and doing it well—ranging from a money-counting Catholic nun, to an impassioned women’s basketball coach, to cosplaying as Marilyn Monroe in the iconic white-dress-above-a-Subway-grate look. Wynne looks right at home in each scene, seemingly showing off her newfound confidence—which is coincidentally the inspiration behind the whole EP—but in a later interview with the Mercury Wynne revealed she’s actually quite nervous in front of the camera. After watching this video, we never would have guessed! 

“Body,” Nonbinary Girlfriend

From Nonbinary Girlfriend’s excellent debut full-length, Big And Kind, the 7-minute witchy blues of “Body” and the corresponding video feels like a significant contribution in 2023. Through powerful imagery, the video poignantly depicts how the clothes and outward appearance we wear can change how we feel about our own body, sometimes in dramatic ways. The black-and-white music video depicts lead singer Anaïs Genevieve’s relationship with their physical form, and journey toward finding a personally authentic gender expression. The video starts off with a borderline creepy scenario: Genevieve (they/them) singing in hushed agony while wearing a constraining wedding dress and being pawed at by disembodied hands. Then the last minute feels like a relief, and a joyful rebellion when Genevieve burns the dress and unearths a more comfortable and true gender expression.

“Yikes,” Mal London

Rapper-singer Mal London’s music video for “Yikes” is a whole vibe; it's simplistic, summery and serene, showing a mastery of light and style. Filmed in a scenic field in the countryside, the narrative focuses on Mal London’s picnic-style date with a love interest, who's played by model-actress Madisen Talton. As the two sip on rosé and enjoy mother nature, Mal London continues runs his mouth, as rappers do, waxing poetic in wishy-washy fashion: “I’ve got way too many muthafuckin’ issues/ To be acting like I miss you,” he sings. After a while, his date becomes irritated and walks off, and Mal goes to look for her in the forest, even searching in an abandoned barn. Once he catches up with her, Talton spends the rest of the video brooding and intensely pulling apart flowers from a bouquet, throwing each and every petal in Mal London’s direction. Co-directed by Caed Folkestad and Danté Ammon, the video was shot and edited by Folkstad, and feels both romantic and bitter. 

“Dummy,” Portugal. The Man

Alaska-to-Portland band Portugal. The Man put out one hell of an album in 2023 with the Jeff Bhasker-produced Chris Black Changed My Life. Filmed on location in Alaska, the video for its first single, “Dummy,” is in keeping with the project's palpable tinge of the appropriately dark, eerie, and melancholy. Directed by Noel Paul the “Dummy” video is the only true music video from the album, and while we would really like to see a couple more visuals for perhaps “Heavy Games” or “Grim Generation,” or “Thunderdome,” this one is also simple and well done. Contrasting the song’s heavy themes that deal with fear of death, “Dummy” stars the band’s new honorary member and mascot Tank Dog hilariously tromping around like an asshole, atop a stunning backdrop of the snow-covered Alaskan wilderness. He wreaks petty havoc, gets pulled by dogsled, stares down sea lions, hitch-hikes, and slaps car windshields with a giant fish. He eventually gets his ass beat, and we’re still trying to dissect what all this means… but it resonates.  

“IRL,” Jay Si Proof

We love a celebratory throwback vibe! Portland band Jay Si Proof’s joyful, quirky, and fun music video for “IRL,” from their 2023 album Care About It, was partially filmed in North Portland at Broughton Beach. Director Josh Rivera of Rollstar Productions created a silly and endlessly euphoric tone for the video: The band and a host of extras dance and roller skate around the parking lot by the M. James Gleason Memorial Boat Ramp; they're horsing around in retro basketball gear, failing miserably at eating ice cream, and socializing with a herd of goats. It honestly looks like a lot of work, but making that workl look like fun is quite commendable.