Friday, March 30, 2007

The Greatest Videos of All Time

The most difficult aspect of making a list like this is the difficulty in separating the song from the video. There are some great songs with so-so videos and totally garbage songs with excellent videos. I will freely admit that if there is a song that I don't like, the chances of me ever actually watching its video from beginning to end are virtually nil, no matter how good said video may actually be. So this list is by no means perfect. But aren't all "best of" lists subjective by definition?

And what makes a "great video"? To me, they need not follow the song lyrics literally. Most of them stand on their own as visual vignettes with or without the music. Their style and feel augment the song such that it gives texture to the music.

Oh yeah, and this list changes from day to day. Not literally. In my head.

Forever Young, Alphaville, 1984 -- Overlook the dated euro-80s costuming and posturing, consider the lyrics, and you have a hauntingly poetic vision of life and the passage of time.

Walking in My Shoes, Depeche Mode, 1993 -- Atmospheric Bosch-ian weirdness in another classic Mode-Corbijn collabo.

Ashes to Ashes, David Bowie, 1980 -- Years ahead of its time...ripped off by virtually every artsy 80s video to come after, and by some even to this day.

Savin' Me, Nickelback, 2006 -- Although I am loathe to call the generic, sludgy mope-rock of Nickelback the "greatest" anything (save maybe poster child for the sorry state of mid-00s rock), this is a video that actually has a concept beyond the tired synchronized dance moves and gratuitous "lookee" CGI that are so prevalent in videos from said era. A Twilight Zone rip-off, but intriguing nonetheless.

Girlfriend, Avril Lavigne, 2007 -- Relax. This time I am kidding.

Rockit, Herbie Hancock, 1983 -- Dang this was cool when I was 7. Still is, actually. In a retro-futuristic way.

Bittersweet Symphony, The Verve, 1997 -- At first it's kind of funny. Then it's kind of painful. Then it's a study of steadfast individuality in the face of the rigidity of the external world. Ultimately, it's this: whose job is it to get out of whose way, anyway?

Ocean Breathes Salty, Modest Mouse, 2006 -- Speaking of bittersweet, this video always makes me sort of sad. You know what I mean, if you were ever lonely as a kid and / or had a big imagination. Or not. The ending is the clincher.

Cherub Rock, Smashing Pumpkins, 1993 -- Not much happens in this video. It's just the band playing in some forest in the rain. But the way it's presented -- acid colors, stuttering frames, strobe lights, shadows -- make this the most perfect visual representation-to-music match I've ever seen. If you could distill wall of sound fuzzy guitars from the air and make them visible, they would look like this.

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