Top 25

Top 25 Music Videos

With the introduction of MTV, the music world was launched into a new era of promotion.

The music video became an advertising vehicle for an artist’s next single. Some musicians opted to stand in front of the camera and lip-synch while others expanded their artistry or in some cases shared their sociopolitical views.

Some big name directors have also gotten their starts via the medium. And other artists, namely photographers like Herb Ritts, painted their creativity on a new-found canvas.

I’m a big fan of Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game”, which was directed by Ritts. Even though it features a half-naked Helena Christensen dancing across a Hawaiian beach, it doesn’t make this list.

What does is a video that combines great rhythms, creativity, and storytelling. And a couple of supermodels don’t hurt either. So, without further ado my top 25 music videos:

25. Song: “Tighten Up” (2010)
Artist: The Black Keys
: Chris Marrs Piliero
Why: Laissez-faire dads try to split up a fight between their sons, only to find themselves fighting over a woman.
24. Song: “Da Funk” (1995)
Artist: Daft Punk
: Spike Jonze
Why: Dog-faced boy tries to fit in to the urban scene but doesn’t have much luck — not with that ghetto blaster blaring.
23. Song: “Hungry Like The Wolf” (1982)
Artist: Duran Duran
: Russell Mulcahy
Why: Indiana Jones-inspired montage that gave guitarist Andy Taylor a bad case of the trots.
22. Song: “Everything is Everything” (1998)
Artist: Lauryn Hill
: Sanji
Why: New York City transformed into a giant turntable.
21. Song: “Island In The Sun” (2001)
Artist: Weezer
: Spike Jonze
Why: A bunch of critters — humans included — enjoying a day in the sun.
20. Song: “Knights of Cydonia” (2006)
Artist: Muse
: Joseph Kahn
Why: Post-apocalyptic spaghetti western with a smattering of science fiction.
19. Song: “Here It Goes Again” (2006)
Artist: OK Go
: Trish Sie
Why: The dudes were choreographed dancing on treadmills.
18. Song: “So Pure” (1999)
Artist: Alanis Morissette
: Alanis Morissette
Why: Alanis Morissette explores different eras of dancing.
17. Song: “Steve McQueen” (2002)
Artist: Sheryl Crow
: Wayne Isham
Why: a homage to an American acting legend with references to Le Mans, The Great Escape and Bullitt.
16. Song: “Take On Me” (1985)
Artist: a-Ha
: Steve Barron
Why: The comic book world crosses over into the real world. Almost like Last Action Hero, only without Arnold Schwarzenegger.
15. Song: “You Might Think” (1984)
Artist: The Cars
: Jeff Stein, Alex Weil and Charlie Levi
Why: Bizarre and quirky – just like the Cars lead singer Ric Ocasek.
14. Song: “Experiment IV” (1986)
Artist: Kate Bush
: Kate Bush
Why: Creepy as hell. Plus Dawn French and Hugh Laurie (Dr. House) are in it.
13. Song: “Thriller” (1983)
Artist: Michael Jackson
: John Landis
Why: The most creative video I have ever seen. This will be one of the best for a very long time.
12. Song: “Fell In Love With A Girl” (2002)
Artist: The White Stripes
: Michel Gondry
Why: Jack and Meg White perform in Lego.
11. Song: “Days Go By” (2001)
Artist: Dirty Vegas
: Rob Leggatt and Leigh Marling
Why: The man’s dance tells a story — one of heartbreak.
10. Song: “Only” (2005)
Artist: Nine Inch Nails
: David Fincher
Why: The objects on the desk meet the beats, while Trent Reznor possesses the pin art.
9. Song: “Cobrastyle” (2004)
Artist: The Teddybears feat. Mad Cobra
: Milton Hays
Why: The references to the crazy world of being a rock star — the Beatles, the Police and Led Zeppelin included — make this video one of the top.
8. Song: “Howlin’ For You” (2011)
Artist: The Black Keys
: Chris Marrs Piliero
Why: Piliero channels the old sexploitation genre with Tricia Helfer and Diora Baird as his femme fatales.
7. Song: “Money For Nothing” (1985)
Artist: Dire Straits
Director: Steve Barron
Why: One of the first music videos to go completely CGI. Warning: ironic lyrics might offend.
6. Song: “Weapon of Choice” (2001)
Artist: Fatboy Slim
Director: Spike Jonze
Why: Christopher Walken dancing. Enough said.
5. Song: “Come Into My World” (2002)
Artist: Kylie Minogue
Director: Michel Gondry
Why: A French intersection on infinite loop, adding more chaos and Kylies to the mix.
4. Song: “Dashboard” (2007)
Artist: Modest Mouse
Directors: Mathew Cullen and Grady Hall
Why: The Lovecraftian references and allusions to Jules Verne, Herman Melville and Joseph Conrad make this video a leviathan of delight.
3. Song: “Around The World” (1997)
Artist: Daft Punk
Director: Michel Gondry
Why: All the dancers are in sync with an instrument, while their motion is exemplary of the rotation of a CD player.
2. Song: “Freedom ’90” (1990)
Artist: George Michael
Director: David Fincher
Why: George Michael was tired of being over-exposed, so he refused to be in the video for “Freedom ’90”. Plus you can’t go wrong with Cindy Crawford.
1. Song: “Do The Evolution” (1998)
Artist: Pearl Jam
Directors: Kevin Altieri and Todd McFarlane
Why: A visceral, animated commentary on the current state of civilization, and how we got here, by the creators of Spawn and Batman: The Animated Series.

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