18 December 2009

Music: Best Music Videos of the Decade


Animal Collective – “My Girls”
Directed by Jon Vermilyea
The least head-scratching video they've ever done. But that's not to say it's not weird by everyone else's standards.


The Avalanches – “Frontier Psychiatrist”
Directed by Tom Kuntz and Mike Maguire
Literal interpretations rarely work, but the Australian band employs a full band to tell this story, ripped from hundreds of vinyl samples.


Bat for Lashes – “What’s a Girl to Do?”
Directed by Dougal Wilson
Simple yet haunting, this video is a bit creepy but nevertheless beautiful.


The Black Keys – “10 A.M. Automatic”
Directed by David Cross
Further proof that David Cross is good at everything.


Boards of Canada – “Dayvan Cowboy”
Directed by Melissa Olson
A sure-fire contender for the
“Ho-ly...” video of the year. Parachuting from nearly 20 miles above the earth? Risky but makes for dern good watchin'.



Johnny Cash – “Hurt”
Directed by Mark Romanek
The most poignant video ever made. Cash's final on-screen appearance brings the pain.


Coldplay – “The Scientist”
Directed by Jamie Thraves
The backward walking and singing seems gimmicky at first until the heartbreaking ending, er, beginning.


Fatboy Slim – “Weapon of Choice”
Directed by Spike Jonze
Few things in life are more joyous than watching Christopher Walken dance and fly. Peter Pan who?


Feist – “1 2 3 4”
Directed by Patrick Daughters
More or less done in one take, this is cheesy choreography (made popular by fellow list-makers Fatboy Slim and OK Go) on a grand scale.


Girl Talk – “Still Here”
Directed by Chris Beckman
Actually, any of YouTube user BunnyGreenhouse's videos could make this list. Painstakingly culling clips for every one of Greg Gillis's myriad samples, this must have been a whole lot of work. But it definitely paid off.


Gnarls Barkley – “Who’s Gonna Save My Soul?”
Directed by Chris Milk
Poor Jorma. Kid can never catch a break.


Junior Senior – “Move Your Feet”
Directed by Shynola
Proof animation doesn't need to be fancy for the audience to have a good time.


Justice – “D.A.N.C.E.”
Directed by Jonas & François
A buoyant, seamless blend of animation and live action. Eat your heart out, Urban Outfitters.


R. Kelly – “Trapped in the Closet”
Directed by Jim Swaffield and R. Kelly
The first five chapters brought ridiculousness to new heights. And then things got out of hand... ("But the man is a midget. MIDGET! MIDGET! MIDGET!")


Jenny Lewis – “See Fernando”
Directed by Alan Tanner
Someone let this guy direct the next James Bond movie. This was a million times more entertaining than Quantum of Solace.


OK Go – “Here it Goes Again”
Directed by Trish Sie
The DIY video that made DIY videos popular again. The Chicago band pretty much staked their entire future into the making of this video. Luckily for them (and us), they have this to show for it.


OutKast – “Hey Ya!”
Directed by Bryan Barber
Both the song and its video went over the heads of most everyone. But whether you're into subtext or not, both are amazing works.


R.E.M. – “Imitation of Life”
Directed by Garth Jennings
Jennings is a true technical wizard here, as everyone walks, sings and dances at different speeds. It all adds to theme of disconnection common in R.E.M.'s music.


She & Him – “Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?”
Directed by Ace Norton
O Zooey, how I love thee. The clip brings to mind Lily Tomlin's fantasy from 9 to 5, but remains a true original.



U2 – “Window in the Skies”
Directed by Gary Koepke
They've made plenty of great videos over the decades, but this is their standout from the 00s. If it wasn't so poignant, it would feel like a cola commercial. But, like all of U2's music, there's real heart here.


Usher featuring Young Jeezy – “Love in this Club”
Directed by Robert Whitcomb
There's something terrifying about the band from Showbiz Pizza singing "searching for a n***a that'll take you out and do ya right, yet there's something endearing about it, too. Chris Thrash is on to something here.


We are Scientists – “After Hours”
Directed by Akiva Schaffer
Schaffer's work with the Lonely Island definitely could have made the list, but I had to go with this video because it captures his sad but humorous outlook.


Weezer – “Pork & Beans”
Directed by Matthew Cullen
It's really only been about 10 years since video on the Internet has been decently available and the band sums up the most viral of those videos (shame they couldn't get Rick Astley though) in their hilarious clip. It's homage and parody all at once.


Kanye West – “Can’t Tell Me Nothing”
Directed by Michael Blieden
After his breakout performance in The Hangover, there's no reason this shouldn't be one of the most viewed videos on YouTube. He's a genuinely funny man and this clip is the antithesis of Kanye's flashiness. And here's the kicker: West loved it.


The White Stripes – “Fell in Love with a Girl”
Directed by Michel Gondry
Is Gondry the greatest director (of film and music videos) to emerge in the last decade? He sure makes a case for it here, crafting thousands of LEGO bricks for the millions of shots, all lasting just a few seconds. Only minimal CGI was used, and it showcases one of Gondry's many talents: mind-blowing lo-fi special effects. Wow.

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