I’ve always been a fan of music videos. I still remember recording them onto my VCR during MuchMusic’s Video Countdown on Fridays. I’m sure I can dig up some old VCR tapes with plenty of 90’s music videos. Not much has changed since I’ve grown up, only now I use YouTube to watch my favourite videos (since MuchMusic doesn’t play music videos anymore).
Here are my favourite music videos from the past decade (or so):
10. Beyonce – Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It) 
Let’s get it started with Beyonce’s “Single Ladies”. A video shot in black and white inspired by a 1969 dance routine. The video showcases Beyonce dancing around with two others against a plain back-drop. The concept of the video is incredibly simple. While it appears to be done in one take, there were three major parts of the video filmed. With over 190 million views on YouTube, this dance number has reached the masses. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to see Beyonce strut her stuff for 3 minutes in a leotard?
9. OK GO – Here It Goes Again 
If you haven’t seen a single OK GO music video on the Internet, get out underneath that rock. These guys have established themselves in the music video business for putting out creative and unique performances. “Here It Goes Again” was the first of many OK GO music videos to go viral on the Internet. Who knew running on treadmills could be so entertaining? It took the band 17 attempts to get it right. Seems like it was worth it.
8. The White Stripes – The Hardest Button to Button 
This video is plain and simple bad-ass. The stop motion like animation technique used in this video is fun and effective. It blends nicely with the music as it synchronizes to the rhythm of the song. I would have loved to have been on the set for this video shoot with all the matching gear and equipment needed to make the video happen.
7. Foo Fighters – Everlong 
I like music videos that tell a story. Foo Fighters’ “Everlong” is a bit of an oldie, but it’s certainly a classic and one of the first music videos I’ve seen that kept me fully engaged with the “story” being told. The plot is pretty funky and amusing. I wonder if Inception took any inspirations from this video? Oh, and did I mention? The song is amazing and easily my favourite Foo track.
6. My Chemical Romance – Helena 
MCR’s Helena is directed by Marc Webb, a household name in the world of music videos. You may recognize his name as he recently entered the film industry with entries, (500) Days of Summer and The Amazing Spider-man. Webb has directed plenty of videos including big ones and lesser known ones. They all have a common trait: quality. The man knows how to shoot good quality and sexy looking music videos. Helena is no exception. Choreographed dancing at a funeral combined with a Gothic colour palette and a pop punk band rocking out makes this video shine.
5. Korn – Freak On A Leash 
Another oldie, but again another classic. Korn’s “Freak on a Leash” touches on the subject of gun violence and shows the destruction of many objects and the near misses of humans. The video has some real clever special effects and interesting camera work.
4. Coldplay – The Scientist 
The music video for “The Scientist” is a great story. Except it’s not told in a conventional way. The video uses a reverse narrative technique that tells the story backwards. The footage is essentially played on rewind. But did you notice Chris Martin’s lips are moving in sync with the song? The Coldplay frontman shot this video singing the song backwards. A feat that took him one month to learn. Good on you Chris Martin. An amazing music video, made possible by a unique technique and touching story.
3. Johnny Cash – Hurt 
There’s something incredibly chilling about this music video. I’m not sure if it’s Johnny Cash’s fragile appearance, or the flashbacks of his life. Nevertheless, this video is truly remarkable and hit me on an emotional level. The video was filmed months before June Carter’s death who’s featured in the video. Cash’s own death would also come a few months following the release of this video. Many fans consider this to be Cash’s epitaph.
2. M.I.A. – Bad Girls 
The first time I watched this video, I was in utter amazement and shock. I’ve already seen some of M.I.A.’s impressive music video work, but “Bad Girls” took it to another level. It was unlike anything I’ve seen before. There are plenty of wonderful ideas in this music video: The imagery of middle eastern folks embracing American rap culture, the wonderful shots of cars drifting, a horse galloping across the desert and Saudi women carrying AK-47s. This video might cause your jaw to drop a little. It’s been received both positively and negatively with plenty of controversy. It is a must see.
1. Arcade Fire – The Suburbs 
We’ve arrived at #1, and it’s another music video with a great story. The method to which the kids and suburbs are represented in this music video, brought back memories of my own childhood growing up in the suburbs. This video really struck a chord with me. There’s something about it, that keeps me coming back to watch it over and over again. The track is also incredibly beautiful and calming. The music video shows snippets from the short film, “Scenes from the Suburbs” directed by Spike Jonze. Check it out.
That’s my list. Have I forgotten any notable videos? What are your favourite music videos? Leave your thoughts in the comments!
The Smashing Pumpkins – 1979 – Similar to the suburbs, a great story of kids growing up.
M.I.A. – Born Free – Another collab between Romain Gavras and M.I.A. You need to watch this one. It’s NSFW
Fatboy Slim – Praise You – Come on, you’ve seen this already right?
Daft Punk – Da Funk – Great song. Great video. Great dog.
Deftones – Change (In The House of Flies) – A trippy and weird video for a great song.