Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Quarter Life Crisis Countdown: 25 Favorite Music Videos

I'm posting a list of 25 items each day leading up to my birthday at the end of the month to celebrate 25 years of gathered wisdom and useless information.

Here is a list of some of my favorite music videos of all time. I'll probably leave something out! One thing I can guarantee you is that there is no Nirvana in here.

1. Talking Heads—"Once in a Lifetime"
This may be the first video I ever saw.

2. Simian Mobile Disco—"Hustler"
This video reminds me of most Tuesday nights.

3. Peter Gabriel — "Sledge Hammer"
This is an amazing musical collage from one of the '80s great eccentrics.

4. Bat for Lashes — "What's a Girl to Do?"
I will forever be in awe of BfL leading lady Natasha Khan's combined beauty and mystery, as demonstrated perfectly in this video for one of her early singles.

5. Michael Jackson— "Black or White"
I could really do without the corny Culkin-infused intro on this classic video, but the last 30 seconds are fantastic (and were probably twice as impressive when the video first came out).

6. Yelle —"A Cause de Garcons (TEPR Remix)"
In my final year of college (which was not so long ago), I must have watched this video a million times. The remix is catchy, the moves ("techtonique") were frenetic — and impossible to replicate comfortably.

7. Aphex Twin—"Windowlicker"
This video for crafty experimental glitch producer Aphex Twin is one of the weirdest music videos you'll ever see. It's grotesque and danceable; street and arthouse. Not for the kiddies...

8. Michael Jackson — "Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough"
I doubt anyone will hate me for including two from the King of Pop. The video matches the mood of the song perfectly: Jackson disco thrusting around a green-screen fantasy of juke-box rainbows and ambiguously lit marbles. The video makes me feel... well, it just makes me feel so—wwoooooOOOOH!

9. Tears for Fears— "Head over Heels"
Is it just me or could the librarian in this classic '80s vid pass for the next Vice "it" girl?

10. Digitalism—"Pogo"
This is like when your apartment dance party really starts to heat up and someone decides to take it to the next level by flicking the light switch on and off.

Digitalism - Pogo

11. MGMT—"Time to Pretend"
This fresh eye candy from bright-eyed electro-pop duo MGMT revived my faith in the music video during what I perceived to be a dry spell.

12. Air — "Sexy Boy"
I love the integrated cutesy cartoons in this one. The video is subtle; a sweet (as in precious) contrast to the grungy sensuality of the song itself.

13. Air — "Kelly Watch the Stars"
Air has taken a simple concept (a ping-pong match) and made it psychedelic and still managed to give it a story. Beautiful cinematography.

14. Beck—"Loser"
Beck likes to have fun with videos, and he's created some good ones during the breadth of his career. Still, I had to come back to this slacker-cool gem of a video that jump-started his career.

15. U2— "Mysterious Ways"
It's a miracle that this video didn't make me nauseated trying to dance along to it as a three year old.

16. Benoit Pioulard—"Idyll"
One of the shorter ones I've encountered, this video pairs retro song craft with matching vintage clips.

17. Blind Melon—"No Rain"
Who didn't love that pathetic bumblebee girl back in the '90s?

18. Bjork—"All is Full of Love"
Bjork provides a sexier vision of the future here. It's a good example of when a beautiful song meets an interesting visual concept and it hits the spot.

19. Chromeo—"Needy Girl"
I thank my sister for introducing me to Chromeo last decade. The white-dominant color scheme is a path not often chosen in music videos.

20. Joe Jackson—"Steppin' Out"
This song will always remind me of my dad. It's one of his favorite songs, and he always talks about how ugly Joe Jackson is.

21. Massive Attack—"Massive Attack"
I'm not really sure why I like this one. I can't tell if it's creepy or sweet.

22. M.I.A. —"Galang"
OMG it took me about five views to process the intense level of coolness exhibited in this M.I.A. vid. Those moves! Those outfits! The spray-painted warfare! I didn't know what to do with this information. I just... wanted... to be her.

23. Lady Gaga— "Poker Face"
Ya feelin' me?

24. Cooler Kids—"Punk Debutante"
As a 13-year-old, this song showed me how to be both punky and cute at the same time. The lead singer is not a hag, either.

25. Daft Punk— "Around the World"
This video couldn't have come at a better time. My eardrums were being flooded with the likes of Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears on the radio and at school dances, so it was some minor relief to stumble upon this catchy, stupidly simple electronic song with matching quirky video (directed by M. Gondry).

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