The following are a list of some of the most entertaining music videos. Including several genres and spanning many years, this list, compiled in no particular order, contains groundbreaking music videos ranging from the beautiful to the bizarre. Enjoy.
1) “Hang Me Up To Dry” — Cold War Kids (2007)
Poignantly shot in black and white, this video, cleverly directed by Santa Barbara’s hometown heroes the Malloy Brothers, is a fun blend of post-war film noir and early movie trailers. Is there an actual plot or is the video just a montage of clichés? You be the judge.
2) “Hurt” — Johnny Cash (2002)
Cash’s Nine Inch Nail cover created not only a very powerful video but a look into a lifetime of dramatic ups and downs experienced by the Man In Black himself. Supplemented with years’ worth of video footage, the elderly Cash clearly channels his memories to make one of the most evoking videos on the list. Cash and his wife June Carter both passed away just months after the video was produced.
3) “All These Things I’ve Done” — The Killers (2004)
A campy tale of a group of cowboys being attacked by a group of femme fatale, which includes plenty of mustaches, midgets and donkeys. With most of the video’s mise-en-scène inspired by ’50s-’60s era accessories, the video is an entertaining blast from the past. And be sure to pay attention to the number cards held by the femme fatales, to keep better track of the story.
4) “Spirit In The Sky” — Norman Greenbaum (1970)
What’s better than one hippie dancing in a field? Several hippies dancing in a field! Some would say this video is a great representation of the era of peace and love while others would say it’s reminiscent of the Manson Family, but no one can deny its interesting use of psychedelic themes. Coming at the tail end of the decade that brought many firsts in the liberalization of music and culture, this is also one of the first videos of its kind.
5) “Somebody That I Used To Know” —Gotye feat. Kimbra (2011)
As a very high concept work, this video shows great art does not require high production costs. Through the use of stop motion, the video stays tight on its characters, never going further out than a three-fourths shot. Gotye’s chorus vocals, reminiscent of Police front man Sting back in his prime, harmonize fantastically with featured partner Kimbra’s excellent range. Overall, an impressively original creative effort by the Aussie and Kiwi performers.
6) “The Scientist” — Coldplay (2002)
Following a reverse narrative, lead singer Chris Martin had to learn the song backwards to pull off the appearance of singing normally while the footage is in reverse. The video combines its reverse footage with great pans and neat locations. The inventive narration is topped off by an ending (or beginning?), which works well with the overall inspiration of the song. Just think about it.
7) “Prehistoric Dog” — Red Fang (2011)
Who said metal is dead? In this video, one of Portland’s favorite metal bands explores Oregon’s thriving Live Action Role-Playing community while drinking copious amounts of beer. Low in production value, yet highly entertaining, the video stars a newer band that’s worth looking into.
8) “Touch the Sky” — Kayne West feat. Lupe Fiasco (2006)
An homage to genre films of the ’70s, this video features Pamela Anderson, Nia Long, Tracee Ellis Ross and Lupe Fiasco, as well as an entire high school marching band. Kanye West stars as Evel Kanyevel as he parodies Evel Knievel’s unsuccessful jump across Snake River Canyon in 1974. For more great Kanye West videos, please see “Runaway”, “Gold Digger,” “Diamonds From Sierra Leone” and “Jesus Walks.”
9) “Pressure” — Killer Mike feat. Ice Cube (2008)
The sheer volume of different clips and the quickness of their montage make this video an editing masterpiece. Commenting on serious social and racial issues, much of the footage used in this video is quite shocking, however it coincides well with Killer Mike’s passion toward the subject. Try not to settle for the “clean” or “censored” version when searching for this video; get yourself the real thing.
10) “99 Problems” — Jay-Z (2004)
This video features a series of black and white clips displaying an exaggerated depiction of everyday street life and legendary producer Rick Rubin, and is one of many well-directed videos from Jay-Z’s repertoire. Unfortunately the Hova dies in the end. For more great Jay-Z videos, see also: “Girls, Girls, Girls,” “Big Pimpin’” and “On To The Next One.” Actually, just watch them all.
11) “Windowlicker” — Aphex Twin (1999)
With a run time of 10:35, the full length version of this video could be a short film. Many words come to mind when describing this video (odd, random, disturbing, among others), however it’s the video’s strangeness which makes it so unique and worthwhile. Fans of the cult comedy film “Grandma’s Boy” should recognize this song from the movie, if the name is not already familiar.