Madonna writhes around in a leotard, Dave Grohl channels Michael Douglas in “Falling Down”, and The White Stripes do “Conan” (in other words, #50-#41) can be found here.
Now, here’s the next batch of new millennium video hits! (said in douchey DJ voice)
40. Burning Beard | Clutch (2005)
“Burning Beard” by Clutch had me the moment Neil Fallon opened his maw and barked “Everyday/I wake up/Drink a lot of coffee and watch the CNN” (He also actually barks later in the song.). The song, off of Robot Hive/Exodus, is killer Clutch. It’s got a repetitive, heavy as all hell, riff complemented by one of the best rhythm sections in modern hard rock. You’ve also got those southern fried licks and organ flourishes making the church-y feel of the video even more potent.
The video itself is pretty indicative of how you should imagine Fallon singing to you: behind a pulpit, preaching. If you’ve ever seen them live, you’ll know this to be true. Then there’s the chanting, the levitating, the worshiping masses of robot believers. You know, a typical Sunday sermon from Clutch. And his beard actually burns.-Jesse
It’s no surprise that “Helena” director Marc Webb went on to a film career that, after “(500) Days of Summer” and the forthcoming “Amazing Spider-Man”, we can officially call successful: his clip for aggressively mediocre band My Chemical Romance’s “Helena” is pure cinema, perhaps the most evocative and stirring clip of the decade. Say what you will about singer Gerard Way, but the frenzied melodrama he employs on stage transfer perfectly to this medium; as a funeral mourner giving an exuberant eulogy, his guylinered eyes tell the bulk of the story. The rest is handled by choreographed pallbearers and attendees; and, of course, a dead ballerina, who contributes the most simultaneously heart-stoppingly beautiful and unbearably creepy sequence perhaps ever caught on film. Breathtaking. – Drew
38. Pussy | Rammstein (2009)
Leave it to German metal industrialists Rammstein to make the definitive NSFW music video. No if’s, and’s or but’s about it, this is a porno. The “meaningless plot” at the beginning before it gets to the action, female and male genitalia, penetration, money shots…it is all there. The first time I watched it (yeah, that’s right, I watched it more than once), I thought the first few explicit images might have been my imagination, but Rammstein had indeed taken it to that level.
On the surface, this video is not all that surprising if you only pay attention to the chorus of “You’ve got a pussy, I have a dick, So what’s the problem? Let’s do it quick!” as presumably the song is simply about sexual intercourse, but rumor has it that the song is in actuality a commentary about German pedophiles who travel to countries like Thailand to have sex with underaged children forced into prostitution. Rammstein has always been known for their political commentary, keeping their tongues planted firmly in cheek and making controversial videos and this is no exception. As long as they continue to make music, then I have no doubts that they’ll find another way to push people’s buttons with their videos. If you’ve ever had the distinct pleasure of seeing them live, then you know they are just as much a visual performance group as they are a band.
For the record, the song is insanely good, catchy and well written and stands on its own apart from the video. This is no way a case of a band trying to compensante for poor music with a visually attractive video (what’s up OK Go?).-Nick
37. Maps | The Yeah Yeah Yeahs (2003)
In 2003, there was quite a bit of buzz about the New York City based band the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. They seemed to be a band that all of the hipsters and indie rockers were chattering about, so I have to admit that my interest was immediately the opposite of piqued. I seem to remember catching a glimpse of a photo of lead singer Karen O at some point and saw the bad bowl haircut and outfit that looked like she had a blind person working at the Salvation Army dress her and my interest declined even further. Then, by coincidence, I happened to be watching MTV (or maybe it was MTV2) one evening and the video for “Maps” came on. I remember thinking I would give it around :30 seconds just to see what they sounded like. What happened is I watched the entire 4 minute plus clip and was instantly in love (both with Karen O and the song….a love for the band would soon follow). I don’t know how to verbalize why, but this rather simple video of the band performing on stage to a room full of (presumably) nothing but people working on the video set really conveys the emotion of this song. Karen O with a tear running down her face by the end of the song really drives that point home.
I literally could not stop thinking about the song for days and one night after a couple of drinks at happy hour, I found myself wandering past a Tower Records (that was a record store for those of you who don’t remember those things) and went inside. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ debut full length “Fever To Tell” was on the listening post. I slapped on the headphones and eagerly previewed each track. While nothing on the album sounded like “Maps”, it all sounded good nonetheless. I paid $7.99 for the album (certainly a deciding factor in my decision making process) and thus my love affair with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs was born. I’ve bought everything they’ve released since and go out of my way to see them live whenever they pass through town. Incredible band.
Saw a video on MTV. –> Found the record priced and positioned at a record store. –> Purchased it. –> Listened excessively for weeks on ends. –> Fan for life. That’s how it used to work in the not so distant past.-Nick
36. Long Road To Ruin | Foo Fighters (2007)
By 2007, the Foo Fighters had firmly established that when it came to music videos, they could display a sense of humor if they were so inclined and “Long Road To Ruin” is a shining example. The video’s homage and references to the soap stars and pop musicians of the ’70s like David Cassidy is probably completely lost on the majority (if not all) of their younger fans, but that is somewhat irrelevant as they can still enjoy the sheer silliness of the video. The band ham it up like they never have before and you just know they loved the ridiculous hairdos and outfits they got to put on.
Oh, and bonus points for having “Karen” (Rashida Jones, daughter of Quincy Jones) from The Office (at the time) as the leading lady in the video.-Nick
35. The Scientist | Coldplay (2002)
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34. Knives Out | Radiohead (2001)
Calling a Radiohead video “weird” is a little like calling the sky blue. Hell, calling Michel Gondry (who must have directed more videos from this list than any other) weird is a little like calling the sky blue. Put the two together? Um, yeah. What comes across as a love story (if you squint really, really hard) to the naked eye is a surreal masterpiece featuring what seems like models from the board game Operation, guitar-playing brains and Thom Yorke himself on a puppet-mouse body. How high do you have to be in order for this to make sense?-Blerd
33. Kids | MGMT (2008)
Maybe it was the explosion of affordable video production tools in the past decade, or the freedom from having to appease the typical TRL crowd, but music videos have gotten increasingly surreal and bizarre since we hit the Aughts. Case in point: MGMT’s “Kids”. After a minute long symphonic build-up and a misattributed Nietzsche quote (yes, in a music video), the song proper kicks in and we meet the video’s protagonist of sorts: a toddler tormented by monsters dressed as every day people. It doesn’t help that his oblivious mother (played by Joanna Newsom, hardly recognizable to me without her harp) seems more interested in her phone than the H.R. Giger meets H.R. Pufnstuf abominations that may or may not be just smiling at her little baby (the fact they don’t have faces or mouths makes it difficult to tell). The child’s terror, however, comes across as so genuine that some viewers sent complaints to the band and director for child abuse (they countered with pictures of the little thespian laughing and playing with them).
The final minute shifts into some acid-infused, nightmare-stimulating animation courtesy of Superjail! director Christy Karacas, which is immediately recognizable to anyone whose ever seen an episode of Superjail! It’s pointless to describe the imagery of the video because it’s so damn out there (seriously, just go watch it), but I can say this with confidence: I doubt anyone outside MGMT would have assumed their light New Order-style synth pop would get paired with such dark imagery. But man I am glad it did.-Stephen
32. I Believe in a Thing Called Love | The Darkness
Turns out, Darkness frontman Justin Hawkins’ dog-whistle, Bruce Dickinson-by-way-of-Prince falsetto wasn’t the only gonzo throwback the camp-rock act had in their arsenal: there’s also this clip, which finds the band battling monsters in outerspace WITH THEIR ROCK. It’s pure candy for the cheeseball that lurks in all of the best rockers; it’s Tenacious D meets Bill and Ted meets “Kiss Saves Santa”. – Drew
31. Untitled (How Does It Feel) | D’Angelo (2000)
Who needs big budgets? For his breakthrough video, all soul singer D’Angelo needed was a black screen and his chiseled abs…nothing else. Was he actually naked in the video? I guess that’s something only D and the video director can answer truthfully. Whether he was or not, the video made the splash it intended to. The album it was culled, from, Voodoo, debuted at #1 on the Billboard charts and won that year’s Grammy for Best R&B album. Unfortunately, it has also (allegedly) served as D’Angelo’s albatross. Perhaps the fear of being stigmatized as “the guy who was naked in the video” has led to his (now) almost 12-year absence from music. Although a good way to get rid of that stigma might just be to make new music. Eh…it’s probably the drugs. –Blerd
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