Generally speaking, the Popblerd crew has been able to come to a consensus when it comes to the best videos of the Eighties and Nineties. When it came to counting down the best videos of the past 11 1/2 years, though, we were all over the damn place. It makes sense: MTV became less of a cultural signpost as they shifted towards reality programming (buoyed by the success of “The Real World”), the music industry witnessed a severe decline in sales due to the rise of file sharing on the internet, and artists weren’t blessed with the ginormous video budgets that had become commonplace in the Nineties. Sure, there was still the odd video equivalent of a Michael Bay flick, but more videos (from a much more diverse group of artists) took a DIY/indie approach and resulted in a wider array of cool, quirky video treats.
Here’s what we came up with. Enjoy the list.
50. “Come Into My World” | Kylie Minogue (2002)
By 2001, Kylie Minogue was well established as an international superstar, most notably in the UK and her homeland of Australia. To that point, the only real splash she’d made in the States was her bubblegummy cover of Grand Funk Railroad’s “The Locomotion” in 1988. The US quickly forgot about Kylie. When she reemerged in 2001 with the Fever album, it was a little shocking for audiences in this country to grapple with the fact that this was “the locomotion girl.” Kylie had refined her dance pop by adding greater muhere sical depth and let’s face it – sexiness. This is all so obvious in the album’s fourth single and video, “Come Into My World.” Director Michel Gondry does it again in this clip, here bringing a taste of his typically surreal into the everyday. Pay attention – each time Kylie comes out of the store, it’s actually the “old” Kylie, which sounds simple but it’s rather dizzying to sort out. Moreover, the fact of the matter is that guys around the world have swooned over Kylie for years. This video reminds us swooning fanboys that the only thing better than Kylie would be multiple Kylies!-Dr. Gonzo
49. “Mosh” | Eminem (2004)
Eminem has worn many hats (metaphorical, but I suppose actual as well) throughout his storied hip hop career, but his 2004 song “Mosh” marked a new turn for Slim Shady: political activist. A pre-release from his then upcoming album Encore, the track and accompanying video were released online before the 2004 elections to encourage voters to get out there and get Bush out of there. The animated video features various individuals becoming aware of the wrongdoings of the Bush administration (a soldier forced to return to Iraq, a single working mother evicted while the rich get tax cuts) and symbolically donning Eminem’s trademark black hooded sweatshirt to go protest in front of what looks like the US Capitol. The video culminates in the hooded mob bursting into the building and signing in to vote, with the message “Vote – November 2” appearing on screen (a cut released after the election shows the same crowd yelling demands to Bush, Congress, and the Supreme Court). – Stephen
48. “Walk” | Foo Fighters (2011)
While true appreciation for this video will come if you have seen the Michael Douglas film “Falling Down” (as the video is a complete tongue in cheek nod to it), viewers of this video need not necessarily be familiar with the film to get a kick out of it as it is simply yet another entry in the Foos ongoing humorous music video series.
This song wound up being used for promotion of the major motion picture “Thor”, so kudos to the Foo Fighters for not going the easy route and splicing film footage with performance footage like most acts do for videos associated with big budget Hollywood summer blockbusters.
Plus 10 points for the subtle jab at Justin Bieber too. Can you spot it?-Nick
47. “Imitation of Life” | R.E.M. (2001)
More than any other band of its era, R.E.M. has made the wise decision to explore this collision of the visual and aural arts we call “music video”. It yielded fantastic results throughout the ’90s, and it does here too: there’s only about 15 seconds of actual footage, but the camera zooms in such impeccable time that those 15 seconds capture the attention (and imagination) for the duration of a 4-minute song. And then some: the effect is dizzying, thrillingly creative, and lingering. – Drew
46. “Hung Up” | Madonna (2005)
Let’s not forget-even though she went all Kaballah mystical on us for a while, Madonna’s still MILF material for a very large segment of the population. This video, recorded as she was well into her mid forties, reins as proof. Taking advantage of years of dance school and yoga classes, the ABBA-sampling Top Ten hit features Madge dancing her bony booty (at least according to Pete Nice) and lithe frame off. Maintaining “now” status while still nodding sideways at the disco movement that spawned her, it was yet another iconic clip from a lady who’s pretty much made being an icon her daily gig.-Blerd
Michel Gondry and The White Stripes have a track record of excellent collaborations, all but one of which appear on our list of videos from the Aughts. This time around, Gondry and the Stripes take us on a Wonderland-esque journey through the set of Late Night with Conan O’Brien, the streets of New York, and what is presumably supposed to be Meg and Jack’s apartment. Throughout, Jack, Meg and Conan alter size and shape, as do their environs, creating a dreamlike disorientation to comedic effect. The clip also shows the Stripes’ chummy relationship with O’Brien, who on two separate occasions hosted the band for a week-long stint on Late Night (in 2003 and 2009).-Dr. Gonzo
44. “Flashing Lights” | Kanye West featuring Dwele (2007)
Kanye’s racked up a boatload of contenders for this list since 2000 – his aggressively ambitious clips for his last solo album alone could be brilliant and kooky enough for any number of short-film fests – but it’s this Spike Jonze-directed snippet (literally – the video ends about a minute before the proper song does) that really does the trick. The slo-mo shots of a model in the Nevada desert shedding her clothes and setting them aflame should pique the interest of the viewer; still, the video really earns its placement when we finally catch a glimpse of Kanye and then… but, no. If you don’t know what happens, you really need to see it for yourself. (Proposed hashtag: #tarantinochic. See also Gaga, Lady – “Telephone”.) – Drew
43. “Sleep Now in the Fire” | Rage Against the Machine (2000)
How many bands can claim they were nearly arrested filming a music video? Rage Against the Machine can, after they shot their 2000 music video for “Sleep Now in the Fire” on the steps of Wall Street against the wishes of New York City. The video (filmed by a then somewhat unknown Michael Moore – yes THAT Michael Moore) is memorable for the guerilla-style filming of Zack de la Rocha and company tearing it up while annoyed police officers look on and crowds of excited people (a few of them day traders) pump their fists and bang their heads, culminating in a full lock down of Wall Street. Throw in a satirical jab at the Regis Philbin-hosted TV juggernaut of the day (now called “Who Wants to be Filthy Fucking Rich?”), complete with real world trivia highlighting the imbalance of wealth in the world, and the final package is easily the closest any RATM music video has come to capturing the socio-political commentary and not-always-so-peaceful protest that the band embodies. – Stephen
42. “Harder Than You Think (Classic Tours Version)” | Public Enemy (2007)
2007 marked the 20th anniversary of Chuck D. Flavor Flav, Professor Griff and the S1Ws melting faces on wax and on stage. The pioneering hip-hop group celebrated that milestone with a video that encapsulated everything the fellas stood for. Film of political icons is interspersed throughout the video, in addition to footage from P.E.’s legendarily energetic live shows. There’s also footage of the group members meeting with fans. It’s a fairly low-budget, simple clip, but if you were going to produce four minutes of video that completely and efficiently told Public Enemy’s story, this would be it.-Blerd
41. “All Caps” | Madvillain (2006)
The genius of Daniel Dumile aka MF Doom, aka Madvillian lies in his ability to keep lines blurry. No one can know for sure if his art imitates his life, or if his life is an imitation of his art. His iconic reputation for not showing up for gigs and never being photographed or filmed sans chrome alloy mask keeps those lines blurred, his mystique nearly palable and his fans appetites whet for more and more Doom. The man is part genius, part lunatic but on the mic he is 100% beast.
When Doom and Madlib joined forces like the Wonder Twins (cartoon references are inevitable, I can’t help it) on the Madvilliany album, Hip Hop fans rejoiced anticipating unavoidable heat. The pair did not disappoint. The dynamic duo blended together and created a masterpiece. The video for “All Caps” mirrors that mastery. The man whose very identity is tied in with a comic book character had himself drawn up and inserted into the live action pages of the comics for the tracks video. Perfect.
The story is told frame by frame–including the classic comic book advertisements that drove kids crazy. Remember ‘Sea Monkeys’? Check the ad for ‘Sea Chimps’. No stone is left unturned. The video for All Caps is brilliant. If you didn’t know better you may think you’re looking at a Dick Tracy strip circa 1937. It is aesthetically that great. No 97 pound weakling, Madvillian will have no sand kicked in his face…..so just remember all caps when you spell the mans name!-Chuck
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