Top 100 Music Videos
Music videos can be very artistic, but because their purpose is to advertise new songs, they’re unfairly deemed as a lesser art, or not even art at all. However, they are the only medium right now where artists can play with symbolism and surrealism and other -isms and not be accused of pretentiousness, and they’re also the best place for creatives to experiment with the visual media. Avant-gardism has never been so present among the masses.
Rules and Disclaimers
This list doesn't weigh the quality of the songs or acts, but it takes into consideration if the music pairs with the visuals.
The order is relative and not very strict: the difference between #7 and #77 might be significant, but between #31 and #39 is non-existent.
No limits per artist or director, but a band or soloist might appear with only one video that represents their whole videography.
No clips taken from movies, e.g., Bob Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues, Beyoncé’s Formation, Daft Punk’s One More Time
100. Frontier Psychiatrist - The Avalanches
directed by Tom Kuntz & Mike Maguire
When you put every sample from your song on stage, don’t be surprised your TV performances turn out to be a complete disaster. Each voice and sound wants to shine, and that's when the quarrel begins: the Ghosts can’t keep their sheet on, the Monkey-Drummer won't stop chasing the giant bird, and Turtle-Man doesn't even know where he is. Kuntz & Maguire give an insane answer for an insane song. Watch.
99. Shadrach - The Beastie Boys
directed by Adam Yauch
What could have been some boring footage of just any other of their concerts, thanks to the rotoscope technique, the Beastie Boys have created a video as stimulating as their music. Shadrach is a psychedelic and anarchic feast of images and colours. Watch.
98. Be Good or Be Gone - Fionn Regan
directed by Si & Ad
Be Good or Be Gone's video has a simple structure that shows us the importance of context: it is not the same listening to a song on the beach, in a casino, or with farm animals watching you from behind. You know how tough cows can be as a crowd.
97. I’m Afraid of Americans - David Bowie (Feat. Trent Reznor)
directed by Dom & Nick
David Bowie plays a (paranoid) Englishman in New York. He sings he's afraid of Americans when lately it's been the Americans the ones who are suspicious of their own countrymen and the rest of the world. An eerily relevant video for the present times. Watch.
96. Humble - Kendrick Lamar
directed by Dave Meyers and The Little Homies
In Humble, Kendrick Lamar portrays so many ideas per second that his head bursts into flames. Literally. Sit down, be humble, Lamar sings while he's also portraying Jesus in the Last Supper, among other tableaus. Sure, Kendrick, if you say so. Watch.
95. The Rip - Portishead
directed by Nick Uff
Nick Uff, who works as a gardener, and has animated this video all by himself, has created a short film that predicts an overpopulated Apocalypse with no trees, no food, no way to escape, and definitely no hope. Uff’s lo-fi style makes the visuals way more creepier. Watch.
94. Here It Goes Again - OK Go
directed by OK Go
If video killed the radio star (no, it didn’t), then YouTube mercilessly murdered the video channel. (It was actually MTV who committed suicide, but that’s another matter). Here It Goes Again was an Internet sensation and somehow revived the music video as
an art form a good way of promotion. Not happy with the thought of becoming a one-video-wonder, OK Go have mastered the genre with one insane idea after another, even though they have now fallen into the trap of trying to surpass themselves with every single work. So far they’re doing a good job. Watch.
93. Close (to the Edit) - Art of Noise
directed by Zbigniew Rybczynski
Art of Noise's statement is straightforward: with the arrival of synthesisers and samplers, the hell with classical instruments! They smash pianos, break guitars and cut cellos in small pieces because this is the future now, man, though the future looks grim and desolated. Watch.
92. Tongues - Joywaves
directed by Daniels
The directors could've just settled with their original premise —rednecks hunting nudist and using guns that shoot gloves, scarves and jeans instead of bullets—, but they went ahead and gave this short film another twist which I’m not going to spoil. And then another. In less than four minutes, Tongues includes a funny introduction, a silly love story, and a horrifying climax of enormous proportions. Watch (NSFW).
91. Song 2 - Blur
directed by Sophie Müller
Sometimes in a video, the band playing the song should be enough, but if that track, such as Song 2, is so powerful that pushes, beats, knocks down and humiliates all of its band members, then even better. Watch.
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