After the video for “Thriller” dropped in 1983, every single person in the music video business was forced to step their game up and start making mini motion pictures wrapped within musical compositions. Since then, some great pieces of art have emerged, but MTV’s unfortunate pimping of reality shows has forced most of the world to get their music video fixes on the internets. Luckily for us, the bar has once again been raised in 2008.
By Dustin Sussman
The following article does not represent the opinions of Spike TV or its affiliates.
25. Of Montreal – "Id Engager"
Directed by Marc Reisbig and Hanne Berkaak of SSSR, “Id Engager” supplies us with some weird animated characters getting stop-motioned into a wonderful morphing bonanza.
24. Pharrell, Julian Casablancas and Santogold - "My Drive Thru"
Based on the huge Converse billboard campaign, Pharrell, Julian Casablancas and Santogold combine forces and try to sell a few gym shoes with "My Drive Thru."
The power trio gets cut into cool looking stick characters that multiply to a catchy single-riffed blend. The only annoying part is when Pharrell tries to sing like Prince.
23. Goldfrapp – “A&E”
22. Bloc Party – "Mercury"
Most political music videos piss me off, but this Bloc Party digital post-punk number really does the trick.
In the vid, a bunch of ape scientists create a disgusting Minotaur crab creature in a Frankenstein-like experiment and send him into suburban American. I wonder what they’re trying to say?
21. Britney Spears – “Break the Ice”
20. The Black Ghosts – “Anyway You Choose To Give It”
This music vid was kinda off the mainstream charts, but its brilliant creativity has to be recognized. I was sold the second The Black Ghosts hit a science lab to build robots that bust out dope synthesized dance rock.
19. Hot Chip - “Ready for the Floor”
Hot Chip has been pumping out some brilliant videos in the last few years and they keep getting better and better if you ask me.
For “Ready for the Floor,” frontman Alexis Taylor dresses up as the Joker and toys with his fellow band mates in a colorful torture chamber. Joker + Awesome Electro Jamz = World Peace.
18. M83 – “Kim And Jessie”
A lot of people seem to think this video blows, but I’m pretty sure they have their heads up their b-holes. A tutu-wearing duo straps on roller-skates and does some synchronized dance moves to a ‘80s-like throwback tune. What's not to like?
17. Vampire Weekend – "Cape Cod Kwassa"
It’s nice to know that the most hyped band of the year can also put out an amazing music video. In this one, Vampire Weekend frontman Ezra Koenig plays a smooth '80s hunk who tries to woo a goth chick during a preppy beach party. Yah!
16. Beach House – “Gila”
The grand Baltimore troupe performs a brilliant lo-fi indie number while conducting a spooky candle séance. It's pretty trippy, but it fits the track like a glove. What a great video for one of the best singles of the year
15. Lloyd – “Girls Around The World”
Hype sends the R&B superstar to the year 2088 with Lil Weezy and has him spit his smooth game at some futuristic space broads. Hype Williams has still got the directing goods and it truly shows in this Lloyd banger.
14. Gnarls Barkley - "Who's Gonna Save My Soul?"
If you have yet to see the video, a young man stabs himself in the chest and removes his beating heart for his unsympathetic ex-girlfriend. The heart then comes alive and does a bloody singing performance in the middle of a small restaurant. I love me some bloody music videos.
13. Kanye West – “Flashing Lights”
It is simply impossible to go wrong with a really long camera shot of a big booty serial killer walking through the desert during magic hour in some serious short shorts. It also doesn’t hurt that this broad murders Kanye West Goodfellas-style.
12. Hercules & Love Affair – “You Belong”
The Brooklyn dance outfit Hercules & Love Affair deliver a digital house anthem while models vogue in a black and white disco. If you do not own this record you need to go buy it right now. Now!
11. Albert Hammond Jr. – “GfC"
Some of you may not have seen this video, but it is truly one of the year’s best. The Strokes guitarist and his house band get hypnotized by rotating instruments in a dimly lit practice space. It’s a pretty lovely combination.
10. Kanye West – “Good Morning”
I can’t stand Kanye, but he is friends with some really talented people. In this Takashi Murakami-animated masterpiece, Kanye West's fly teddy bear alter-ego suffers a few setbacks on his way to the Kanye UniverseCity graduation ceremony. In the end, teddy/Kanye finally gets his diploma and takes in some sun with his Japanimated homies. He finally graduated!
9. Metallica – "All Nightmare Long"
For their Death Magnetic opus "All Nightmare Long," the boys of Metallica put down a progressive thrash epic while a scientific communist documentary about the 1908 Tunguska explosion in Russia plays out in a wide array of moving pictures. Metal! I know this video is brand spankin’ new, but the end product is so awesome it had to take up a big spot on the list.
8. Santogold – “L.E.S. Artistes”
I’m sure some of you find this chick to be rather annoying and overrated. I would like to agree, but her style, versatility and pop songwriting skills are pretty undeniable. This video will instantly make most skeptics believers at the drop of a hat.
7. Weezer - “Pork And Beans”
Not the greatest song on the planet, but it has some seriously great cotton candy for the ole’ eyeballs. Watching a bevy of internet stars finish off their last few minutes of fame around an addictive Weezer anthem can always be a nice experience.
6. MGMT - "Time To Pretend"
Whoever came up with the concept for this video is brilliant and completely disturbed all at the same time. I find nothing finer than watching hipster hippies drop hits of psychedelic light and dancing to one of the best singles of the year.
5. TV On The Radio – “Golden Age”
With one of the biggest critically-acclaimed records of the year, the dudes who brought us Dear Science also delivered one of the dopest music videos as well. With “Golden Age,” TVOTR throws on their favorite snazzy white robes and do some harmonious crooning over powerful golden instrumentation. Being an indie monk rules!
4. Feist - "I Feel It All"
Almost all of the Feist videos from her 2007 release The Reminder are unbelievably creative and this one is no different. What could be better than the Canadian darling using a giant conducting stick to blend choreographed fireworks around a dandy little indie tune?
3. Bjork – “Wanderlust”
This video is just plain brilliant. Who knew the Icelandic queen could still come correct after all these years? Bjork riding a giant mastodon puppet down a raging magical river is pretty freakin’ epic if you ask me.
2. Radiohead – "House of Cards"
Radiohead has done it again. It is well understood that the music video for the dreamy In Rainbows cut "House of Cards" doesn't make use of a single camera, but you have to give them credit for stretching the technical bounds of music video creativity. It also doesn’t hurt that Radiohead is one of the best bands on the planet.
1. Justice - "DVNO"
Some of you may think that this isn’t the best video on this list, but if you have been watching television since the early ‘80s you’ll understand why I think it’s so jaw-dropping.
When French animator So-Me decided to recreate classic ‘80s movie/TV logos for a for a slick electro banger he must have known that every single pop culture fiend on the planet would just eat it up with no questions asked. When I first saw the DVNO chorus break with a modified ‘80s HBO logo floating in outer space my pants totally got wet.