The year 2016 has been an amazing one for country music videos, from the traditional to the experimental, so far. Heavy topics, cool animation, stunning storylines -- the stars have been bringing it in this year's first six months.
Below, The Boot selects 2016's five best music videos ... so far.
"Unlove You" covers some difficult material -- what it feels like to be married but suddenly attracted to someone new -- and its corresponding video dives right in ... literally. Shots of Nettles at a bar drinking whiskey and waiting for a date are interspersed with dreamy water shots, in which bar stools, high heels, clocks and eventually Nettles herself are seen floating underwater. As an artistic choice and a reference to the song's line "They call it fire, but it just feels like drowning," it works.
McGraw's music video for "Humble and Kind" -- like the song itself -- is relentlessly good-natured and hopeful. The clip features people from all walks of life and corners of the Earth (McGraw has said he "really wanted a video that showed the universality of the message of "Humble and Kind"") celebrating the positive messages the song proclaims, from the specific ("Visit grandpa every chance that you can") to the universal ("Don't take for granted the love this life gives you"). McGraw admits that he cried through every take while recording the song -- and we dare you to try to watch the video without tearing up yourself.
"Brace for Impact (Live a Little)" is the first single from Simpson's album A Sailor's Guide to Earth, which the artist has described as a letter to his first child. The song's music video veers between real shots of Simpson and an expansive world of animated illustrations -- dark and beautiful, if not a little creepy. We'll say this: You won't see another video like it this year.
If Cam wanted to fly (pun intended) in the face of what's expected, then channeling Amelia Earhart for a vintage-flavored "Mayday" music video was the perfect choice. It's a dark choice, too -- we all know how Earhart's journey ended -- but from the gorgeous 1930s colors, props and costumes to the haunting shots of Cam plunging into the water herself, she perfectly captures the aesthetic of the tune.
Stapleton's music video for "Fire Away" is deeply somber -- and necessarily so. The clip follows a couple -- played by Ben Foster and Margarita Levieva -- in love as they navigate a life that viewers soon learn has been transformed by depression and suicide. The gorgeously shot and acted clip aims to bring attention to mental health awareness through the Campaign to Change Direction.