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Don't get my sympathy, Hanging out the 15th floor
February 23, 2005 7:42 AM   Subscribe

The best music videos ever produced. A list, for those that like to watch.
posted by five dollars worth of thank you cake (60 comments total)

 
Virtual Insanity, I believes, deserves to be there...

But these things are entirely subjective of course.
posted by juiceCake at 7:50 AM on February 23, 2005


"I want your soul... I will eat your soul..."

W00t - great choon :-) Not too sure about some of the others on the list, though...

The White Stripes video that uses the lego animation is pretty cool and innovative; surprised it's not there.
posted by Chunder at 7:56 AM on February 23, 2005


Radiohead's "Just" would be my #1 pick. I'd also put Tool's "Sober" on the list.
posted by rocket88 at 8:01 AM on February 23, 2005


I also like Interpol's Obstacle 1.
posted by five dollars worth of thank you cake at 8:06 AM on February 23, 2005


Where is "You Might Think" by the Cars? "Land of Confusion" by Genesis is really good too.
posted by SisterHavana at 8:16 AM on February 23, 2005


What? No Talking Heads? How quickly people forget...

And if you have to pick a Duran Duran video why not pick Girls On Film or Wild Boys or even A View To A Kill?

And while the Johnny Cash video is good, this does smell like the sympathy vote to me.

Apart from that and a few other grumbles not a bad list.
posted by dodgygeezer at 8:16 AM on February 23, 2005


Funny they didn't put November Rain on that list...
Also, it's frustrating to see them worship Johnny Cash for his inferior rendition of a very good song.
posted by knave at 8:19 AM on February 23, 2005


I've forgotten the name (Intolerance?), but I would have gone with one of those Tool claymation videos. I don't really like the idiom, but I thought those were pretty effin' cool.
posted by psmealey at 8:23 AM on February 23, 2005


Glad to see both "Take on Me" and "Come to Daddy" on there - two of the most memorable, and two of my faves. Talk about polar opposites, though! I love "Take on Me" because it does such a wonderful job capturing that sense of innocence I felt growing up in the 80's; and I love "Come to Daddy" because, well, it's just one of the damned creepiest videos ever. An entirely pointless list, but fun reading anyway. Thanks!
posted by bwilliams at 8:33 AM on February 23, 2005


"Losing My Religion" was creamed all over when it came out. I didn't like it, but I'm kind of surprised it didn't make the list (even with wassisname on the panel. Stipe.)
posted by Cyrano at 8:36 AM on February 23, 2005


16 What's My Age Again?, Blink- 182, 1999

Is that the one with the nakedness and the midgets?

13 Two Tribes, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, 1984

They had a song other than "Relax"? Is this a UK thing?
posted by smackfu at 8:54 AM on February 23, 2005


I was moderately surprised not to see "Weapon of Choice" make the cut, but Fatboy Slim and Spike Jonze both had plenty of other nominations, so I can't hold it against the judges.
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:57 AM on February 23, 2005


Funny they didn't put November Rain on that list

Personally, I have always put November Rain on an all time worst music videos list (a very long list, to be sure). It's so full of cheesy rock and hollywood clichés it's just over the top embarassing. Then again, I think that's what MTV videos are supposed to be. My hunch is if you had the same people put together a "Worst Music Video List", it would come out looking nearly identical to this one.
posted by psmealey at 8:58 AM on February 23, 2005


Come to Daddy over Windowlicker? Ima playa list for real.! Playa playa.
posted by 31d1 at 9:02 AM on February 23, 2005


what does the fallen man say, in Radiohead's 'Just'? Any lip-readers here?
posted by seawallrunner at 9:14 AM on February 23, 2005


dodgygeezer, yes, "Once in a Lifetime" by Talking Heads should be on that list.

And, as a one-time Bowie fanatic, I thought "Ashes to Ashes" sucked huge when it first was released, and nothing has occurred to make me change that assessment.
posted by 1016 at 9:15 AM on February 23, 2005


Hmm

I always though Pearl Jam's Jeremy was thought to be one of the classics (maybe because it never got aired in it's entirety?)

or "Smack my bitch up" by prodigy was always a nice spin.

And though simplistic I liked "7 nation army" was a cooler video by the White Stripes
posted by bitdamaged at 9:27 AM on February 23, 2005


"Land of Confusion" by Genesis
I remember watching that video as a kid, and it scaring the shit out of me.

7. Sledgehammer, Peter Gabriel

Another video that scared me, specifically the stop-motion dancing chickens... shudder.

There is a video by Canadian hip-hop artist K-OS "The Man I Used to Be," which is the best video I have seen in a long, long time.
posted by Quartermass at 9:32 AM on February 23, 2005


what does the fallen man say, in Radiohead's 'Just'? Any lip-readers here?

Nobody knows what the mans says at the end, and there is no use asking as the band have said that they are never going to reveal the answer. Jamie Thraves, the director, has said, "To tell you would deaden the impact, and would probably make you want to lie down in the road too."

The video for Just has never been explained by either the band or the director, so there simply is no official explanation for the video.

Although, I heard it was, "Last one on the floor's a rotten egg."

And, in reference to this post's title. It's 'much sympathy'. Not 'my'.
posted by armoured-ant at 9:43 AM on February 23, 2005


Funny they didn't put November Rain on that list

And where's Estranged? Axl being saved from drowning by dolphins? Slash rising out of the water as he plays his solo? Brilliance. Although neither of them top my favourite moment in the November Rain video, where it starts raining on the wedding ceremony and one guest is in such a hurry to get inside he dives through the wedding cake. Acid rain is nasty, but I don't think it melts you on contact...anyway, comedy gold.
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:43 AM on February 23, 2005


Oh, hang on. It might be 'my'. I always thought it was 'much'. It should have been 'much'.
posted by armoured-ant at 9:44 AM on February 23, 2005


The Card Cheat, that was hilarious, thanks for reminding me!

Speaking of creepy videos, what about Tool's Sober? I like that one even though it scared me when I was younger...
posted by knave at 9:54 AM on February 23, 2005


They should have included R.E.M.'s "Everybody Hurts". That moment at the end, where everybody just gets out of their cars and walks away from the traffic jam--genius. I kinda dig Jay-Z's "99 Problems" video, too--yeah, the black & white thugged-out style is kind of a rap cliche, but they managed to put a compelling storyline in and actually create some emotional tension with it instead of just trying to look tough. That Kanye West video in the airport is really great as well. And the ultimate anti-video, the Replacement's "Bastards of Young"--two minutes of some guy (Westerberg?) sitting on the couch listening to the song on a huge stereo, then at the end he kicks the speaker over and walks away.

There's an aesthetic question here, though: Does a good rock video merely need a good visual hook, or should it aim for some greater element of storytelling and/or visual poetry? Consider Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit": all those muddy colours and listless cheerleaders not only matched the band's paradoxically mopy rage, they revolutionised what videos looked like for a good ten years--yet to my eyes, it looks pretty quaint and ultimately empty today, whereas something like "Take On Me" today seems as compelling for its narrative qualities as the half-animated visual gimmick. Ten years from now, are people still gonna dig Michel Gondry's work for the White Stripes, which looks hella cool but ultimately seems like mere packaging?
posted by arto at 10:06 AM on February 23, 2005


I love this list. I'd switch out "Human Behaviour" with "Bachelorette," though.
posted by dougunderscorenelso at 10:20 AM on February 23, 2005


Good list, but if they're going to give a trailblazer award to Bohemian Rhapsody, they shouldn't leave out the promotional films for Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields Forever, which pretty much invented the concept of the music video as we know it.
posted by Dr. Boom at 10:43 AM on February 23, 2005


arto, your (valid) observations about Gondry's videos (which I love) are yet another reason why Cash's Hurt truly is the best video of all time (to date).

Dr. Boom...I know The Who did some promos for Happy Jack and Cobwebs and Strange, which I believe predate Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields.

/off to consult my issues of UNCUT and MOJO
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:51 AM on February 23, 2005


'Perfect Drug' - NIN, dir. Mark Romanek
posted by NationalKato at 11:14 AM on February 23, 2005


smackfu: Yes indeed, and it's a better song than Relax, in my opinion. The video features the overweight leaders of two countries who, instead of letting their armies fight their war, actually bareknuckle fight it out themselves, in a pit, watched by a cheering crowd. I still say that's the way it should be done, if one country declares war on another. Mind you, the UK would have been conquered long ago - Blair's a weedy little git. Boris Yeltsin would probably rule the world.
posted by ralphyk at 11:24 AM on February 23, 2005


Personally, I have always put November Rain on an all time worst music videos list (a very long list, to be sure). It's so full of cheesy rock and hollywood cliches it's just over the top embarrassing.

See, now I feel the same way about Whitesnake's "Here I Go Again." But I still think it's a great video. "More power chords!" "Gimme some more Tawny!" "David, make the rock star face!" "Rudy, lick your guitar again!"

And they were being totally un-ironic about it, too. Whatever scale they set out to be measured against they totally nailed it. A special kind of brilliance, that is.
posted by Cyrano at 11:34 AM on February 23, 2005


I'd switch out "Human Behaviour" with "Bachelorette," though.

And then I'd switch out "Bachelorette" with "All Is full Of Love".

Best video ever: Cibo Matto - Sugar Water
Michel Gondry is GOD.
posted by mr.marx at 11:34 AM on February 23, 2005


Gondry's video for the White Stripes "Hardest Button to Button" never fails to amaze me. The collection of his music video work and more, is well worth checking out.
posted by Hillman Cobs at 11:50 AM on February 23, 2005


See, now I feel the same way about Whitesnake's "Here I Go Again." But I still think it's a great video. "More power chords!" "Gimme some more Tawny!" "David, make the rock star face!" "Rudy, lick your guitar again!"

I thought that was John Sykes licking his guitar.

(yes, I realize that knowing this makes me a dork)
posted by jonmc at 11:50 AM on February 23, 2005


The Johnny Cash video is good, but the best music video EVER produced? I don't know about that. If he didn't die shortly after this was made (if he made it 10 years ago) would it still be No. 1? It seems like the choice was influenced more by his death than the quality of the video.
posted by Hillman Cobs at 11:59 AM on February 23, 2005


mr.marx, gondry didn't direct "all is full of love", but if you know gondry is god, you probably know that.
posted by Silky Slim at 12:01 PM on February 23, 2005


Can't speak for anyone else, of course, but I saw Hurt before Cash died, and it knocked me for a loop. Even if the choice was influenced by his death, what of it? The video is all about the contemplation of mortality, the frailty of old age, and the foreknowledge of approaching death. The video couldn't work as well as it does if the subject were younger or in good health.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:05 PM on February 23, 2005


I thought that was John Sykes licking his guitar.

You're right. Looks like Rudy Sarzo came later.
posted by Cyrano at 12:12 PM on February 23, 2005


Don't feel bad, Cyrano, I'm pretty sure every single lead guitarist from the '80s managed to play for Whitesnake at least once.
posted by arto at 12:22 PM on February 23, 2005


mr.marx, gondry didn't direct "all is full of love", but if you know gondry is god, you probably know that.

I know that, I should've been more clear: cunningham's "all is full of love" is the best björk video. however, my favorite music video ever is "sugar water". and overall, michel gondry is number one. chris cunningham is second. spike jonze a distant third.
posted by mr.marx at 12:23 PM on February 23, 2005


You're right. Looks like Rudy Sarzo came later.


*knocks fists with arto and cyrano*

Actually, Whitesnake is the ultimate version of halfway decent (in that "I Can't belive It's Not Deep Purple" kind of way, they used to call him "David Coverversion" for a reason) who started to suck once they had some success with video. They would've been much more tolerable if they had broke big with "Slow an' Easy" than "Here I Go Again."

Don't feel bad, Cyrano, I'm pretty sure every single lead guitarist from the '80s managed to play for Whitesnake at least once.

And those who didn't spent the seventies as members of Status Quo, Uriah Heep or Hawkwind.
posted by jonmc at 12:29 PM on February 23, 2005


Virtual Insanity should definitely be on the list.

However, I'm very glad Blur's 'Coffee & TV' made it.
posted by Camel of Space at 1:14 PM on February 23, 2005


The panel included Natasha Bedingfield, Björk, Tim Burgess of the Charlatans, Norman 'Fatboy Slim' Cook, Jamie Cullum, Tom Fletcher of McFly, Avril Lavigne, Mike 'the Streets' Skinner and Amy Winehouse.

How did Bjork and Avril even agree on what to order for lunch? Did they find a herring-and-poutine place that delivers?
posted by teg at 1:43 PM on February 23, 2005


I always had a soft spot for New Order's "True Faith" video. That thing was pretty nuts.

And if they are throwing in Fatboy Slim, that Rockefeller Skank video was pretty damn fun, especially the fat rapping cowboy. And for Bjork, Big Time Sensuality

Elvis Costello's "Accidents Will Happen" is a classic.

Rollergirl, by Dire Straits.

Jokerman by Bob Dylan.
posted by dglynn at 1:52 PM on February 23, 2005


Funny they didn't put November Rain on that list

Best. Video. Ever. (Thanks, Waxy!)
posted by Galvatron at 2:04 PM on February 23, 2005


Oh, hang on. It might be 'my'. I always thought it was 'much'. It should have been 'much'.
posted by armoured-ant at 9:44 AM PST on February 23


I always thought it was "much". But then again, I always thought that it also was "and that's what really hurts", though now I am told otherwise by ateaseweb.com. Not that I'd trust them entirely, of course. (abcde, should you come by, consider that an affectionate site-wide head rub.)

Lists like this are really only useful as talking points, so I'll throw in another vote for Once in a Lifetime... and also, out of sentimentality, the video for I Don't Like Mondays, which was the first video with film-style production values (and a coherent narrative) that I saw, back in early 1980. And let's not forget that Tool's Sober would have been nothing without the work of the Brothers Quay and Jan Svankmajer.
posted by jokeefe at 2:30 PM on February 23, 2005


I'm with The Card Shark. "Hurt" really got me the first few times I saw it. I, too, am surprised no Tool videos were listed. I'd remove Sinead and add "Sober", "Prison Sex", or "Schism". Don't get me wrong, I like "Nothing Compares 2 U", I just don't think think it's Top 20 worthy.
posted by Miss Beth at 2:41 PM on February 23, 2005


I have never seen about half of these videos. I have never seen any Guns N Roses video. Yes.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 2:52 PM on February 23, 2005


Oh, and if we're talking Radiohead videos, Pyramid Song is a hit of mystery and beauty that hasn't yet worn off for me, and is directly responsible for my continuing love affair with the band. In purely economic terms, and considering that a video, on its most crass level, functions as a commercial for the song, the return for Radiohead from that one piece is looking good from their end, selling me on not only on every single one of their albums (legally purchased, I might add) but DVDs, concert tickets, magazine specials, and all the other detritus of fandom. Well done, Shynola! You can watch the video here. (Caveats: MTV link, loads up with their own media player, and video runs in a visual field that is about the size of two postage stamps.)
posted by jokeefe at 2:58 PM on February 23, 2005


What? No Talking Heads? How quickly people forget...

That's because those who STILL watch MTV get to vote.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 3:02 PM on February 23, 2005


Chris Cunningham did the "All is Full of Love" Video Clip. Another good video by Chris is "Squarepusher Come on my selector" clip, that one is all awesome, and the small vids he's put on the Director's DVD are pretty damned amazing too. he's got a certain dark blue mood with all his clips that simply takes your breath away.

Michel Gondry is the shizznitz too. His director's DVD is pretty special too. I love all his clips, the paranoiac-mesh detail that he puts into them, I watched Eternal Sunshine for a Spotless Mind for the Kaufman, but ended up enjoying the Gondry experience without even realising it was directed by him. It was only after I bought the DVD 6 months and realised who the director was, I was like... all fanboy - "OMFG HOW COOL IS THAT???!!??"

Man these guys are so cool they make me feel stupid.
posted by JGreyNemo at 3:18 PM on February 23, 2005


Gondry's video for the Foo Fighters' "Everlong" is one of my favorites of all time.
posted by kindall at 3:52 PM on February 23, 2005


Anyone know anywhere that some or all of this videos, or the ones you're mentioning, can be seen?
posted by Sangermaine at 4:08 PM on February 23, 2005


I'm surprised that they went with Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer" instead of his earlier "Shock the Monkey". That video completely and utterly entranced me, and to this day I get a certain sort of chill when I see it.
posted by John Smallberries at 4:43 PM on February 23, 2005


If Queen's BH is eligible, what about the fantasy segments of The Song Remains the Same? You might object to the tunage as a bit bloated--I wouldn't--but those were pretty cool for 1975. And as for The Who, well they did a bunch of films over songs in the late '60s/early '70s which were collected as part of The Kids Are Alright. Plus, how could they leave out the sublime, understanding I'm on Fire?
posted by billsaysthis at 4:49 PM on February 23, 2005


Pyramid Song is definitely an incredible video, I forgot all about it. Very, very moving.
posted by deafmute at 5:11 PM on February 23, 2005


#1: girls on film - duran duran.

also: chris cunningham is a ruler.

that is all.
posted by soi-disant at 5:22 PM on February 23, 2005


50 odd comments into a thread on the best music videos ever and nobody's mentioned Twisted Sister? For shame...

I'm of the opinion that MTV's uberprescence is part of what did rock and roll in, but that's beside the point
posted by jonmc at 6:34 PM on February 23, 2005


Also, in the category bad song/good video: "Oh Sherrie" by Steve Perry.
posted by jonmc at 6:35 PM on February 23, 2005


I'm pretty sure the first music video was for Ricky Nelson's "Travellin' Man" (or so, when watching The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet in reruns with my father at the tender age of 8, I was told.) It was basically a clip at the end of the show, with Ricky Nelson walking around backprojected clips of assorted places around the world, and he was singing.

What the Beatles and the Who and whomever else did after that, I'm less sure on. But yeah. Ricky Nelson.
posted by thecaddy at 10:23 PM on February 23, 2005


Someone else already said it, but "What's My Age Again"? For real? 16th best EVER?

"Hey guys, let's run around naked and shock all the squares!" "Yeah! That's totally a whole video!"

On the early music video front: Don't forget the Monkees!
posted by SoftRain at 12:20 PM on February 24, 2005


November Rain - isn't that the one where Slash walks out of a church into the desert because he's about to play a guitar solo so huge, so gargantuan that trying to contain it within four walls could put the entire fabric of the universe in peril?

Thought so.
posted by dodgygeezer at 3:39 PM on February 24, 2005


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