Little known fact: I originally went to film school because I wanted to make music videos.
Here are 50 that I like for some reason or another.
1.) The Moody Blues - Your Wildest Dreams
The saddest love story a band has ever told.
Matt Frost made these. He kinda rules. If only every narrative could tug on your heartstrings this much while still possessing a healthy sense of irony.
Don't Save Us From the Flames
3.) Foo Fighters - Everlong
Michel Gondry, of course.
4.) Smashing Pumpkins - 1979
SMP = childhood nostalgia
5.) Aha - Take On Me
This is like the Citizen Kane of music videos, only more relatable to the average person. You should have seen it already.
6.) The Cure - Friday I'm In Love
If you don't smile during this (reference #16), there is something wrong with you.
7.) The Human League - Keep Feeling Fascination
Production value a big, red dot. <Period>
8.) Eisley - Marvelous Things
9.) The Cars - Tonight She Comes
Aside from being one of my favorite Cars songs, this black-and-white colour video is a creative execution of a simple concept. Pure 80s music video fun.
10.) Green Day - Walking Contradiction
Entropy meets The Butterfly Effect. Perfect concepts for a punk band, no?
11.) My Chemical Romance - Helena
Don't make fun of me for liking this video. Feelings about My Chemical Romance aside, there is a pall-bearing dance number with umbrellas in the rain. That freaking rules.
12.) The Smashing Pumpkins - Adore
This must be the most lavish and beautiful one-take video ever conceived.
13.) Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - Last Dance With Mary Jane
One of the most celebrated on the list (at least in my circle), Last Dance With Mary Jane is such a perfect example of the power of narrative music video that I don't really care to ruin it with my comments.
14.) George Harrison - Got My Mind Set On You
Pee Wee's British Mansion
15.) Francoise Hardy - Mon Amie La Rose
ECU beautiful woman and flower. Done.
16.) The Smoking Popes - I Know You Love Me
One-take performance video recalling The Cure's Friday I'm in Love in all its staged absurdity.
17.) The Cure - Let's Go To Bed
This hilariously idiosyncratic video was difficult to find, so pardon the compression. Between this and 'The Lovecats,' the Cure should be making you laugh out loud.
18.) Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Maps
Maps is just a solid performance video. Lighting and editing deliver a satisfying emotional arc, even if you're not sure why.
19.) Johnny Cash - Hurt
Directed by legendary Mark Romanek
20.) Weezer - El Scorcho
Also by Mark Romanek, and I think it's probably my favorite Weezer, as well.
21.) Vampire Weekend - Oxford Comma
You can make fun of it for being posery but I see it as more of a loving tribute. They build an interesting world in their own right.
22.) The White Stripes - Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground
It's hard to choose just one from the White Stripes / Gondry cannon, but Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground has always had a special place in my heart.
23.) Ok Go - This Too Shall Pass
The sappiest of their one-takes.
24.) Bat For Lashes - What's a Girl To Do
This music video is impossibly cool and I'm jealous of it. There.
25.) Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin - Sink / Let It Sway
SO MUCH FUN.
26.) Weird Al - White & Nerdy
Weird Al has many "great" music videos to his name but, personally, I find this to be the funniest. It's unique in that the character derives from a pool of cultural stereotypes rather than any specific celebrity, giving it a more personal signature than his others. Maybe that's overitellectualizing Weird Al, but this video makes me laugh out loud like, REALLY hard. I have to justify that somehow.
27.) Erasure - Heavenly Action
Consider this a replacement entry for Tonight, Tonight.
28.) Gwen Stefani - Hollaback Girl
Possibly the most fun ever packed into 3:28.
29.) Aerosmith - Jaded
So beautifully produced, even Tarsem would be jealous.
30.) The Cure - The Lovecats
Robert Smith & Puppets
31.) Tears For Fears - Head Over Heels
The Granddaddy of cherrypicker music videos.
32.) The Danielson Familie - Rubbernecker
If Howard Finster made a music video.
33.) Radiohead - Street Spirit (Fade Out)
Black and white, slow motion, things going backwards... Just the right amount of song for this much pretension. BOOM ROASTED, Enigma.
34.) Robyn - Call Your Girlfriend
A one-take light show reminding me of Romaneck's El Scorcho (#20), this video is tyyyyte. Robyn, please teach me how to be as awesome as you dance.
35.) Shakespeare's Sister - Stay
So maybe it's not the best ever, but I'm a sucker for this bluegray interpretation of silent film, and with no-holds-barred performances by Siobhan Fahey and Marcella Detroit, Stay is nothing if not cinematic.
36.) Papa Don't Preach - Madonna
It's like one of her lesser-known eighties movies, only way more interesting.
37.) Tal Bachman - She's So High
Every girl secretly wants to be that rollerblading aviator.
38.) The Secret Machines - Lightning Blue Eyes
To quote my friend Justin, more than any movie I've seen, this video most closely recreates the feeling of being at a show.
39.) Bjork - Bachelorette
40.) Cibo Matto - Sugar Water
What makes this Michel Gondry trick video extra special is the interaction between frames.
41.) Janelle Monet - Tightrope
Janelle Monet just wins. She wins at life.
42.) Bjork - Human Behavior
Another by Michel, and my favorite Bjork tune.
43.) The Last Shadow Puppets - Standing Next To Me
Another wonderful one-take video with lots of dramatic light-play.
44.) Duran Duran - Rio
Their most iconic video, with too many striking and gorgeous images to mention. It gets no cooler than those suits on a speeding boat.
45.) Duran Duran - Save a Prayer
Equally iconic and even more epic, this is probably my favorite Duran Duran video.
46.) Men Without Hats - Safety Dance
47.) Massive Attack - Teardrop
An amazing feat of puppetry, and an image that will haunt both your dreams and nightmares.
48.) Darwin Deez - Constellations
Poetic commentary on man's relationship to the universe, plus lots of enviable art direction.
49.) Antbrain - Martin
Something you should know about Antbrain: They're awesome.
50.) Solange - Losing You
Gentlemen of Bacongo?! Say no more.
51.) Richard Marx - Hazard
A story that rivals any karaoke music video.
52.) The Honeycombs - Have I The Right
Just a girl drummer in 1964. No big deal.
Thanks for sticking around and nerding out with me. :)