The two best music videos ever are Spike Jonze productions, says VH1.
April 26, 2002 12:14 AM   Subscribe

The two best music videos ever are Spike Jonze productions, says VH1. Weapon Of Choice wins, followed by Sabotage. Personally I'd go for Island In The Sun out of the Jonze oeuvre, but the top of my head I'd probably go for Lionel Ritchie's comedy classic 'Hello'. What do you reckon to be the top dog of music promos?
posted by boneybaloney (79 comments total)
Chris Cunninghams' 'All is full of Love' for Bjork, and probably even better 'Come on my selector' for Squarepusher.

I also adore shynola's clip for radiohead's 'Pyramid song'.

I really am a product of the MTV generation because I can't think back much further than that.
posted by mrben at 12:20 AM on April 26, 2002

Jeez, I'd forgot Chris Cunningham. Maybe Aphex Twin's 'Come To Daddy' edges out 'Hello'....
posted by boneybaloney at 12:25 AM on April 26, 2002

Games Without Frontiers.
posted by willnot at 12:37 AM on April 26, 2002

The Prodigy's 'Smack my bitch up'
posted by slater at 12:38 AM on April 26, 2002

Michel Gondry's my favorite. He turns out good video: Bjork's "Bachelorette", The White Stripes' Lego-y "Fell In Love With A Girl", and The Chemical Brothers' "Star Guitar," for starters.

Jonas Akerlund's also good. He did the outstanding "Smack My Bitch Up" for Prodigy (the only miscue was the very end, too pandering). And like her or not, the Ray of Light video he did for Madonna managed to outshine the song it was based on.

Let's not forget Hype Williams, David Fincher, Jonathan Glazer; oh, and 3 other good videos:
- Luke Losey's "The Box" for Orbital (starring Tilda Swinton)
- Sophie Miller's "Say It Ain't So" for Weezer
- Jamie Thraves' "Just" for Radiohead

(BTW who cares what VH1 thinks?)
posted by maschnitz at 12:38 AM on April 26, 2002

Nine inch nails' Closer, by Mark Romanek.
posted by dong_resin at 12:40 AM on April 26, 2002

I think Spike Jones' Weezer video Buddy Holly was the all-time king of nostalgic, ironic, gen-x, throwbacks, and set the bar for the hundreds that followed.
posted by mathowie at 12:41 AM on April 26, 2002

Overlook Michel Gondry and David Fincher and you've lost me.
posted by artifex at 12:46 AM on April 26, 2002

"Mammy" by Al Jolsen
posted by Optamystic at 12:55 AM on April 26, 2002

I agree with Frank Black - the best video is to Talk Talk's It's My Life.
posted by Dan Brilliant at 1:30 AM on April 26, 2002

My absolute favorite video ever is Run-Dmc vs Jason Nevins "It's Like That" .. because .. um. I like break dancers. Radiohead, Tool, and Bjork always have amazing videos. The video for Madonna's "Frozen" is beautiful. U2 is my favorite band but their videos generally suck. The video for the Beastie Boy's "Sabotage" is definitely high on the list, VH1 is right about that.
posted by misscolleen at 1:34 AM on April 26, 2002

ZZ Tops 'Legs' is my all time favorite followed by Sawyer Browns 'Some Girls Do'. Because they are very funny.
posted by Mack Twain at 1:40 AM on April 26, 2002

"Sabotage", "Just", "Praise You", "Rabbit In Your Headlights". So, yeah, Jonze and friends, but mainly Jonze.
posted by riviera at 1:44 AM on April 26, 2002

nun chunks! obviate the banisters!
no wait... this isn't the psychedelics thread...
posted by quonsar at 1:58 AM on April 26, 2002

Save A Prayer by Duran Duran still makes me go all gooey.
posted by Summer at 2:20 AM on April 26, 2002

all time? difficult. those mentioned above are all good.

but if you're gonna talk spike jonze, i still think his best was also his least gimmicky: wax - 'california'

one slow-motion shot of a man on fire. running down a suburban street.

posted by gangcandy at 2:24 AM on April 26, 2002

Pure schadenfreude, but one of my favorites is the video for "Scrape" by the band Unsane. The video is just a string of horrid, heinous skateboard wipeouts. It's so drawing/distracting, that I have absolutely NO idea what the song sounds like. However, I can spot the video a mile away. Does that make a good video?
posted by RubiX^3 at 3:06 AM on April 26, 2002

sugar water - cibbo matto by gondry
posted by juv3nal at 3:14 AM on April 26, 2002

I think "Weapon Of Choice" is an amazing video. One of my favorites, though, is Pearl Jam's "Do the Evolution". I don't think it ever got much attention, but it's one of the few videos I've seen that nicely brings out the point of the song while being interesting in its own right.
posted by epimorph at 3:19 AM on April 26, 2002

What is WRONG with Walken in that photo? He shouldn't try to smile amiably - it just isn't his thing.

Oh well, good choices, those videos are superb. A personal favorite of mine remains to be Chris Isaak's Wicked Game starring Helena Christensen. *sigh*
posted by cx at 3:31 AM on April 26, 2002

I adore the "Vidrar Vel Til Loftarasa" (realplayer/windows media player) video for the band Sigur Ros - the first time you watch it it's jaw-droppingly different (and, yes, quite controversial).

I love the Squarepusher video as well, even though I don't think much of the song.

Pretty much all of the Radiohead promos are excellent.
posted by jzed at 3:32 AM on April 26, 2002

'My Perfect Cousin' by the Undertones
posted by zimbobzim at 3:59 AM on April 26, 2002

Does anyone else remember when the standard for video excellence was set by Godley and Creme's Cry and Peter Gabriel's Sledgehammer? I'd quite happily never see either ever again. Worst video ever: Addicted to Love, Robert Palmer.
posted by Summer at 4:11 AM on April 26, 2002

I have yet to understand what's good in the Weapon Of Choice video, really.

My fav band is Radiohead, so of course I dig (most of) their videos (yeah, I do know what the guy says at the end of the Just video. No, you don't wanna know. Trust me on this one), and Street Spirit indeed is a grrreat video. But any pre-The Bends video is quite lame, really (Pop Is Dead, anyone ?).

Björk always has some excellent videos. But then again, if it wasn't for the people she hires, there wouldn't be much interest in her releases, right ? (and I love bjork's music). Gondry is one hell of a video director, too bad his first movie is only "funny" at best.
posted by XiBe at 4:18 AM on April 26, 2002

Bjork is always good for a few "ahs". I'm going to go against my own grain and mention U2. They have good videos that display the human drama, ie., The Sweetest Thing, Stuck in a Moment, and those from Achtung Baby, to name a few. And I'm not even a rabid U2 fan.

Duran Duran will always rank up there for storyline and those early effects.
posted by ashbury at 4:39 AM on April 26, 2002

I second "Praise You". It makes me cringe. And laugh.
posted by pracowity at 4:40 AM on April 26, 2002

Where's Your Head At
posted by poodlemouthe at 4:53 AM on April 26, 2002

I loved a-ha's "take on me" when I was a teenage girl, and I still think it's neat.

Then again, I also enjoy the dancing in Michael Jackson's "smooth criminal"

but all time, top dog music promo? mouline rouge! :-)
posted by dagny at 5:03 AM on April 26, 2002

posted by machaus at 5:13 AM on April 26, 2002

"Praise You" by Fatboy Slim was always enjoyable (and it helps that the song is catchy too).

That video by Radiohead, where it's full of subtitles and that guy is just lying in the street and everyone tries to make him stand up...absolutely haunting. Just can't remember it right now.

"Where the Streets Have No Name" by U2 is great because the song is good and I like crowd reactions in the video.

"Take on Me" by Aha is a classic and still my favourite animated video.

"Clint Eastwood" by Gorillaz was mesmorizing the first 10 times, but since then has slipped to "neat".

And "Thriller" by Michael Jackson is still a favourite (as long as it's the full-length version).
posted by Grum at 5:47 AM on April 26, 2002

I must give a shout out to the director of the FIRST VIDEO EVER PLAYED ON MTV! Thank you, thank you, thank you (and the award HAS to go to him for the MOST hyped video of ALL TIME) Russell Mulcahy for the Buggles Video Killed the Radio Star.

Historically, I have to say Steve Barron who directed Dire Straits Money for Nothing and A-Ha's Take On Me as well as Thomas Dolby's She Blinded Me With Science, Human League's Don't You Want Me Baby (it was so cool watching them watch themselves on film as they are acting in the film in a continual loop) and Michael Jackson's Billy Jean. Notable mention is Kevin Godley who directed Herbie Hancock's Rock-It.

Terence Donovan who directed the Robert Palmer videos... well, he sucks.

"Does anyone else remember when the standard for video excellence was set by Godley and Creme's Cry and Peter Gabriel's Sledgehammer" Sledgehammer was directed by Stephen R. Johnson btw.

I must admit, a personal fave of mine is Albert Magnoli who directed many Prince videos and Purple Rain. *grin* Yes I am a sick puppy!

posted by gloege at 6:04 AM on April 26, 2002

All of the Duran Duran videos were cool. This was before the current trend of videos just consisting of the 'artist(s)' singing with bottles of liquor in their hands.
posted by eas98 at 6:05 AM on April 26, 2002

I forgot to mention Kate Bush and the video Cloudbursting, featuring Donald Sutherland. The Sutherland is great at everything he does.
posted by ashbury at 6:14 AM on April 26, 2002

I like David Lee Roth's "Just a Gigolo". It was a madcap romp through music video history!

Seriously, though, I'm perfectly happy with Weapon of Choice. Jonze is easily the best video director ever. And, hey, at least they didn't pick Thriller. Other faves:

*Foo Fighters: Everlong

*Massive Attack: Protection

* Art of Noise: "Close (to the Edit)" (where the freaky little girl destroys the car).

*What's that recent Janet Jackson video where the women are chasing the guy? I like that one.

And I second poodlemouthe's choice of Basement Jaxx's "Where's Your Head At".
posted by jpoulos at 6:31 AM on April 26, 2002

P.O.D. - southtown!

pearl jam - do the evolution

beastie boys - shadrach

oh and those sorta new (coupla years ago) GNR"fastedit" newsclip videos from appetite for destruction

and outkast - BOB :)
posted by kliuless at 6:39 AM on April 26, 2002

Am I the only one that's amazed to find "Coffee and TV" and "Street Spirit" so high on the list? While both are great videos, and would probably both be very high on my list, were I to make one, neither got very much airtime. Blur's video I've only seen once, and I had to watch it online, because I couldn't find it on either of the music channels. Speaking of which, anyone know where I can find the full version of "Coffee and TV" online?
posted by emptybowl at 6:42 AM on April 26, 2002

bohemian rhapsody. they had like, kalaedoscope dealywhigs only they were really like, queen's head all folding in and out and singing and shit. scaramouche! will you do the fandango? could somebody please direct me to the psychedelics thread?
posted by quonsar at 6:50 AM on April 26, 2002

Me Company's video for Bjork's Hunter is super nice.
posted by SuperBreakout at 6:53 AM on April 26, 2002

I just remembered: The Cars 'Drive'...very different.
posted by Mack Twain at 7:04 AM on April 26, 2002

I like the one with the guy in the tunnel who keeps getting hit by cars. "Rabbit in Your Headlight" is the name I believe.
posted by smackfu at 7:04 AM on April 26, 2002

I'm a little surprised no one's mentioned Tool yet. They're not my very favorite videos but I would have ranked Prison Sex above that Jamiroquai one.
posted by furiousthought at 7:06 AM on April 26, 2002

Damn, I remember all the historical ones mentioned so far, from the days when MTV actually aired music videos, but very few of the newer ones. I had thought that based on the programming I was aware of that both MTV and VH-1 had in recent years chosen to ignore the "music" and the "video" portions of their names. Absent those outlets, where do you people even see all these videos?

My vote, though, goes to Peter Gabriel for "Sledgehammer".
posted by yhbc at 7:07 AM on April 26, 2002

I like the video where these really cool people are riding around in a sports car and the girl in the pink hat is popping in the passenger seat...

oh no wait. That's a car commerical.
posted by jennyb at 7:10 AM on April 26, 2002

Karma Police, Street Spirit (Radiohead)

Come to Daddy (Aphex Twin) still scares the hell out of me. So does Windowlicker, btw. Yuk!
posted by swordfishtrombones at 7:16 AM on April 26, 2002

Coffee and TV is a FABULOUS video. So glad to see it rank so well. Also greats:
NIN Closer
Radiohead (he one where the guy can't get up)
Bjork Human Behavior and Allis full of love
Afghan Whigs Gentlemen
posted by rev- at 7:33 AM on April 26, 2002

"I had thought that based on the programming I was aware of that both MTV and VH-1 had in recent years chosen to ignore the "music" and the "video" portions of their names. Absent those outlets, where do you people even see all these videos?"

Thank god for MuchMusic and cable! :)
posted by gloege at 7:44 AM on April 26, 2002

New Order - True Faith. That one always stuck with me. Was never sure if it was the battling scary Eastern European clowns, or the tethered Turtle woman sign-language translator.

The Beatles "You're Gonna Lose That Girl" from one of the Beatles movies is sublime, with the boys singing in silhouette in the studio.

Hurt by Nine Inch Nails gets points for best use of footage shot from underwater of a Kingfisher strike in a live concert setting.

You Must Learn - KRS-One w/ BDP
Road to Riches - Kool G Rap w/ DJ Polo
If I Had No Loot - Tony! Toni! Toné!
Big Time Sensuality - Bjork

Good calls on Cloudbusting and Close to the Edit.
posted by dglynn at 7:50 AM on April 26, 2002

Some Def Leppard videos (Let's Get Rocked, Two Steps Behind, Slang, Work It Out)
Most Duran Duran videos (Rio, Save A Prayer, Ordinary World,...)
A bunch of Blur videos (Coffee & TV, Park Life,...)
Most Beatles videos (Real Love, Free As A Bird, Fool On The Hill,...)
All Marty Callner directed Aerosmith videos.
posted by riffola at 7:53 AM on April 26, 2002

Cyndi Lauper. Girls Just Want to Have Fun.

A great tune, and good, cheezy, unrehearsed fun for all!
posted by groundhog at 7:56 AM on April 26, 2002

"You're Gonna Lose that Girl" was from Help!, but the better movie, A Hard Days' Night, could well stand as one of the best, if a trifle longish, music promos by itself.
posted by yhbc at 7:59 AM on April 26, 2002

where is the list?
posted by Burgatron at 8:19 AM on April 26, 2002

The Chemical Brothers Let Forever Be or Star Guitar.

Both have the most amazing visual effects and flow to them... Incredible.
posted by KnitWit at 8:20 AM on April 26, 2002

No such discussion would be complete without a mention of the great Chuck Statler. I have very fond memories of watching Statler's videos being screened at the M-80 music festival in late '79 at the U of Minnesota:

Devo, "The Day My Baby Gave Me a Surprise"
Elvis Costello, "Oliver's Army"
Graham Parker, "Local Girls" and "Protection"
Suicide Commandos, "Burn It Down"

Pardon me while I sink even further into golden nostalgia. MTV? We didn't have any MTV!! And we liked it!!
posted by gimonca at 9:11 AM on April 26, 2002

UNKLE (with Thom Yorke) - "Rabbit in Your Headlights".

Radiohead - "Just" (the one with the people lying on the sidewalk, for those who asked.)

A Perfect Circle - "Judith" (directed by David Fincher) and "3 Libras".

Tool - "Sober"
posted by Danelope at 9:23 AM on April 26, 2002

u2 - "numb"

and others already mentioned:
radiohead - "karma police"
tool - "prison sex"
wax - "california"
weezer - "buddy holly"
posted by carsonb at 10:23 AM on April 26, 2002

Van Halen- "Hot for Teacher"

I got my pencil...
posted by Ty Webb at 10:38 AM on April 26, 2002

Rabbit in Your Headlights - Glazer.
Come to Daddy - Cunningham.
Anything by Gondry / Akerlund / Singh / Fincher.

Predictable, I know.
posted by catatonic at 11:10 AM on April 26, 2002

Complete List (via Cock-a-hoop)
posted by jewishbuddha at 11:14 AM on April 26, 2002

doh! that's last year's list. sorry for the interruption. i'll just go hide in the corner.
posted by jewishbuddha at 11:15 AM on April 26, 2002

Foo Fighters: Everlong

I'll second this, what a great job that video did of visualizing "dream logic."
posted by kindall at 11:27 AM on April 26, 2002

The apex of music video, the achievement that should make the rest of the video directors out there put down their cameras and walk away with full knowledge of the shame that they'll never be able to match its brilliance, the creme de la creme, the best video ever, is "Bastards of Young" by The Replacements.
posted by geneablogy at 12:12 PM on April 26, 2002

But the Art of Noise video with the band and a midget destroying a grand piano, directed by Zbigniew Rybczynski comes a close second.

Damn, now I gotta go dig up those old Betamax tapes of USA Network's Night Flight....
posted by geneablogy at 12:16 PM on April 26, 2002

But the Art of Noise video with the band and a midget destroying a grand piano, directed by Zbigniew Rybczynski comes a close second.

Damn, now I gotta go dig up those old Betamax tapes of USA Network's Night Flight....
posted by geneablogy at 12:25 PM on April 26, 2002

my list looks like a list of the usual suspects, i guess...

peter gabriel, sledgehammer
bjork, all is full of love
gorillaz, clint eastwood
tool, sober
smashing pumpkins, tonight tonight

more of my faves on launch
posted by mmanning at 12:44 PM on April 26, 2002

I have to go with the bjork video that looks like a musical from back in the it "Quiet"? I can't remember. the yellow dress and the spontaneous dancing. fabulous!!!

I really like weapon of choice if for no other reason than most everyone I know had to watch it at least three times: First time you just keep going "No WAY is that Walken!", second time you watch it closely for the double or the cg effects, then and ONLY then do you enjoy it...the third viewing.

(an aside on New Order: Did anyone notice all the weird similarity that True Faith had to She Drives Me Crazy by Fine Young Cannibals? Same director and he liked the pillow guys or something. God bless pop up video!)

Everlong is an amazing video. I'm curious about the meaning of the song, though (having my own theory).

I have to vote for the first video U2 put out for One (it's just the images, the buffalo and "one" on the screen in different languages), and the video for Stay.

I just can't believe we're this far down in the thread and nobody has mentioned a SINGLE creed video yet!

* verso ducks and runs trying to avoid every object imaginable now being thrown at her
posted by verso at 1:03 PM on April 26, 2002

oh yeah....that Moby video where he puts on the Elton-esque sunglasses and sees a whole different world through them. That one's pretty good too.

And Enjoy The Silence by Depeche Mode. It's one of the few that seems to be an extension of the song, instead of just a contractual obligation to do a video.
posted by verso at 1:06 PM on April 26, 2002

*grum@work flings a paperweight at verso

I think I'd like to throw an honorable mention out there for Nirvana "Smells Like Teen Spirit". It does a pretty good job of capturing the angry tone of the song without being too over the top.

And let's not overlook the parody videos by Weird Al Yankovich. They always get a chuckle out of me.
posted by grum@work at 1:17 PM on April 26, 2002

And let's not overlook the parody videos by Weird Al Yankovich.

*jpoulos flings a paperweight at grum@work
posted by jpoulos at 1:52 PM on April 26, 2002

So, I think we can all agree that the winner of the MetaFilter Video Award for All Time Best Video is... Jamie Thraves for Radiohead's song "Just" !

rounds of applauses
posted by XiBe at 1:58 PM on April 26, 2002

It ain't any of the videos for this disc, which I hope I never have to endure, and which, hopefully, do not exist.

(this is near the end of a thread, afterall)
posted by ParisParamus at 3:40 PM on April 26, 2002

Hmm, videos I like (I admit I'm starting to show my age):

REM, Everybody Hurts
Devo, Beautiful World
Van Halen, Jump-Panama-Hot For Teacher
INXS, Don't Change
Huey Lewis, New Drug
Billy Joel, Pressure
Beastie Boys, Hey Ladies
Faith No More, Epic
posted by ArkIlloid at 5:33 PM on April 26, 2002

But not *the* end, Paris, until somebody mentions "Nothing Compares 2U" by Sinead O'Connor.

On preview: Ooh, yeah, "Epic."

And I also kinda dug "Sweet Dreams are Made of This" by Eurythmics. Nobody had ever seen Annie Lennox before, and there she was with an orange buzzcut. Rrrowr! Also, a cow hanging its head over Dave Stewart's computer keyboard.
posted by diddlegnome at 5:45 PM on April 26, 2002

I'll vote for the Eurythmics. How many videos are worth watching two decades later? Not many.
posted by ParisParamus at 5:54 PM on April 26, 2002

And I completely forgot about "Beautiful World". I change my vote.

It's not for me!
posted by yhbc at 6:34 PM on April 26, 2002

Every video Talking Heads ever made.
posted by Hogshead at 10:57 AM on April 27, 2002

I'd also say anything by Russell Mulcahy, which includes the seminal Duran Duran videos (everything pre-Notorious except Girls on Film) as well as Billy Joel's Allentown and Pressure, Ultravox's Vienna Spandau Ballet's True, The Vapors Turning Japanese (!!!) and Elton John's I'm Still Standing which is as decadent a romp as has ever been filmed. The clips certainly captured the sensibilities of the high 80's era of rock stars as glamorous mega-idols in ridiculous, grandiose, fantastic era, but they still stand on their own today. He was the first director to get the MTV video vanguard award, for what it's worth, but he certainly deserved it. (Shame he's never had a breakout hit film.)

Also, I don't know who directed them, but the series of INXS "Vienna videos" including New Sensation and Never Tear Us Apart stand out. (But not the award-winning Need You Tonight/Mediate which I've always thought to be a mediocre video effort, especially from them.) The combination of setting and effects in the Vienna series still rank as just good, solid filmmaking which allowed the song to tell the entire story, which is what a good video really ought to do, I think, instead of usurping the song and telling a story on its own.

But the Art of Noise video with the band and a midget destroying a grand piano, directed by Zbigniew Rybczynski comes a close second.

She wasn't a midget, she was an actual little girl. I think she was about 8 years old. She just had a punk hairstyle and a ton of makeup on. That video still freaks me out, especially when viewed with the knowledge of what a violent person Zbigniew Rybczynski is.
posted by Dreama at 11:33 AM on April 27, 2002

I've seen it dozens of times, and I'm still thrilled by Aphex Twin's "Come To Daddy" video. It's mind-blowing.

But I have to admit that Michel Gondry, Chris Cunningham, David Fincher and Spike Jonze are the best directors of music videos. All their videos manage to delight, innovate and amaze.
posted by Down10 at 1:47 AM on April 28, 2002

I'm so late to this it's eight miles from relevant now, but -- "I'll Be You" by the Replacements really said everything a video could possibly say, in one still shot of a guy smoking and watching his stereo while it played the song.

Thought I'd share.
posted by chicobangs at 2:31 AM on April 28, 2002

massive attack - unfinished sympathy (bailie walsh), was quite a good one. all shot in one take.
these people seem to have their eyes permanently pointed at the video display, and it pays off with a bumper selection, perhaps more representative than VH1?
posted by asok at 3:21 PM on April 28, 2002

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