I grew up on music videos. MuchMusic, MTV were my after school entertainment and I loved watching videos that stepped outside of the lines and pushed the limits of music video creativity. I’m talking about those videos that weren’t just about the artist but about making a unique video that really made you think.
So to those creative musicians and the video directors who worked with them to make it all possible, I salute you. Thanks for not making just another garbage video and for taking risks.
Here is my list of the top 5 music videos of all time. All of these videos are clever clever clever and unique. They have done something that hadn’t been done before in any other video and that is why I like them.
5) Artist: Madonna
Video: Ray of Light
Why is this video great?: Madonna has always been an originator. The queen of reinvention has had some great videos over her career but when she made a comeback with her album of the same name, after some disappointing albums, she made her presence known in a big way, snagging the Video of the Year award at the MTV VMA’s in 1998. The “Ray of Light” video is a simple concept but visually it is stunning! I can’t even picture how else this video would look like if time wasn’t sped up and people weren’t moving at the speed of light.
4) Artist: Blur
Video: Coffee and TV
Why is this video great?: This has to be the cutest video ever! How much do we sympathize for the missing milk carton? The audience is put in its shoes and we feel sad when he is lost but happy when he finds a female companion to keep him company in heaven. Too cute!
3) Artist: Blink 182
Why is this video great?: Blink 182 have always had goofy videos but this one showed their maturity as artists. The idea of splicing the screen into three to represent all three of the band members after the same girl at different times was original and well done, especially since at the end of the video she didn’t choose any of the Blink 182 guys and decided on someone else.
2) Artist: Radiohead
Why is this video great?: Of course one of the best alternative bands in the world would have equally alternative videos to match. Of all the great Radiohead videos, this has got to be the best. Maybe the best part of this video is its ambiguity. At the end when everyone is lying on the sidewalk and no one knows why, you can imagine what the man said to the other people and it can be anything you want.
1) Artist: Korn
Video: Freak on a Leash
Why is this video great? The aggressiveness of this video coupled with its unique concept make Korn’s “Freak on a Leash” my favourite video of all time. The video’s concept of a bullet passing through objects and coming through the bullet hole-filled room where the band is playing is brilliant! I love the dark undertones in this video and Todd McFarlane’s animation is the icing on the cake.
I grew up on 1990’s alternative rock and remember seeing a pattern in all rock videos at the time. When I watched “Freak on a Leash” for the first time, I was pleasantly surprised to witness a video that that didn’t follow the traditional rock music video formula.
Artist: The Bravery
Video: Honest Mistake
Why is this video great? The concept was simple but clever and who doesn’t like an elaborate domino sequence?
Why is this video great? Ok, so there is a little bias here. Incubus is one of my favourite bands and I had to include this video that put them on the map for the mainstream. The band drew all their own drawings for the video and the idea of including an escher inspired hand drawing itself was brilliant.
Artist: Michael Jackson
Why is this video great? One of the most expensive videos ever produced, when the music industry was actually a viable business and Mikey was the biggest artist in the world, it just doesn’t get any bigger. The video is a reflection of the music business and the celebration of the music video at the time and the zombie dance sequence is a classic!
There are so many videos that I’ve seen over the years, that I would have put on this list but that would be a very long blog post. So, if you think of any other goodies that I didn’t include, let me know!