5 ick in a Box – The Lonely Island ft. Justin Timberlake
No. I’m not kidding. And if you think I am, just go back to (shudder) YouTube and watch the video again. It is brilliant and hilarious and raunchy in all the right ways. What makes it unique is that the visual and musical concept was created at the same time. One cannot exist without the other. In fact, the song on its own is just kind of sad, and the video without the song is really lascivious. But together it is a comical, musical, and visual feat achieved by none other than a group of improvisational actors and an ex-boy-band-heart-throb. Who would’ve thought!
4 Here it Goes Again – OK Go (Trish Sie& OK Go)
When this video came out, there was not a single person on my college campus that wasn’t talking about it. Not because the song was anything really worth hearing, but because the video was so damn cool. I mean, watching a group of guys do a choreographed dance on treadmills?! The number of treadmill related accidents post Here It Goes Again must have skyrocketed with people trying to mimic the brilliantly filmed video. While power-electro-alt-pop-rock isn’t my…preferred genre, there is no doubt about it – this video is just an amazingly fun thing to watch.
3 El MaÃ±ana– Gorillaz (Jamie Hewlett and Pete Candeland)
Firstly, the video for El Mañana is actually part of a feature length movie spanning multiple Gorillaz songs, so to examine in separate and apart of its other pieces is a bit odd, but it has to be done. For a full plot write up, check out the Wikipedia page. The bottom line is that El Mañana is a brilliant song, and the brief clip of the larger movie is equally as brilliant. We watch Noodle, a character you either know and love, or are just being introduced to as a peaceful looking young woman, playing in the sunshine with a flower – until helicopters come and bomb her floating island to pieces. The obvious overtones of dystopia and themes of destruction of nature are done in this brilliantly animated world. By making all of their music performed by animated creatures, we as an audience accept that these animated people are in fact real. Like children acting out doll therapy, or the reason so many people are creeped out by puppets, we as people attribute life to these inanimate objects. The video for El Mañana is as horrific and heart wrenching as any environmental/human rights documentary. Oh, and the song is really dope, too.
2 Otherside – Red Hot Chili Peppers (Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris)
If the lyrics to Kiedis’ songs weren’t strange enough as is, the visual imagery in Otherside makes you feel like you’ve stepped into one of his drug-addled dreams. As the dream sequence goes on, the listener is not spared a break from the surprisingly un-RHCP-esque darkness and gloom. There is no shortage of the surreal, and yet those surreal images make for a very real musical and visual experience. Regardless of how much you know about RHCP, or Kiedis’ own drug use, it’s easy to empathise with the protagonist of the video. The ability to craft that kind of character in around three minutes takes both musical and visual prowess that RHCP and Dayton/Faris are capable of.
1 razy – Gnarls Barkley (Bryan Louie)
Who says you need to spend buckets of dollars on a therapist in order to have a Rorschach test? Just watch the video for Gnarls Barkley’s Crazy, and you’ll have your answer: you are crazy, just like he. Not only is the song brilliant, but the dual complexity/simplicity of the video makes the whole thing feel poignant. It isn’t just a music video, it is a visual representation of the meaning of the song. How much store do you really set by ink blot tests? If you set anything by them, are you crazy? How do you know you’re crazy? The video evokes all these questions and feelings, as his voice croons angelically and hauntingly in the background. It is one crazy hell of a good time.