What are some really great music videos?
March 15, 2011 8:10 AM   Subscribe

What are some really great music videos?

Of course, best is tricky to define, so here are various metrics... I am looking for videos that excel in any of these areas, or all! I'll mention some good examples, but really, I'm just looking for great music videos.

Dancing: Let's just reference anything by madonna here
Artistic quality: DJ Shadow - Six Days M Ward - Chinese Translation
Production quality: SNSD - Run Devil Run
Absurdity: Major Lazer - Pon de Floor
Cheesiness: Helmut Fritz - Ca M'enerve

Obvoiusly these buckets overlap...I'd say most kpop videos fall into the "dancing, production quality, absurdity, and cheesiness" buckets pretty well, for example ;)

What am I NOT looking for? Reggaeton music videos of dudes with BMW's talking about gatas. What WOULD work though? A video that sort of satirizes the absurd horribleness of your average reggaeton video and makes something actually interesting.

But yeah, I'd just love videos that are fun to watch for whatever reason. Bonus points if it's from another country.
posted by wooh to Media & Arts (53 answers total) 35 users marked this as a favorite
Bjork's All if Full of Love - so good I own the DVD.
posted by jedrek at 8:12 AM on March 15, 2011

I was going to post the Bjork video but jedrek beat me. I have seen it playing in an art museum, it is that good.
posted by JJ86 at 8:19 AM on March 15, 2011

May I recommend the Directors Label DVD sets?

And when is Steve Barron going to get his due?
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:19 AM on March 15, 2011

UNKLE - Heaven
Autechre - Gantz Graf

And anything by Chris Cunningham.
posted by turkeyphant at 8:21 AM on March 15, 2011

White Stripes - Fell In Love With a Girl

Because I need yet another reason to love Legos and beg my wife for an old school Lego castle set.
posted by theichibun at 8:22 AM on March 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

Public Enemy - Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos

Awesome prison break video.
posted by ignignokt at 8:24 AM on March 15, 2011

2nding FoB. The Directors Label series is fantastic. Especially the Jonze, Cunningham and Gondry collections.
posted by gnutron at 8:26 AM on March 15, 2011

I love the video for Read My Mind by The Killers because it's just kind of fun and chill and pretty and then there's a random green thing.
posted by kat518 at 8:27 AM on March 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

And one of my all time faves: Get Yourself High by Chemical Brothers.
posted by gnutron at 8:29 AM on March 15, 2011

You didn't specify time frame, sooo........

Ok Go - Here It Goes Again

Peter Gabriel - Sledgehammer

of course,
A-Ha - Take On Me

in a similar vein
Howard Jones - You Know I Love You
posted by bitterkitten at 8:34 AM on March 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

Fat Boy Slim - Weapon of Choice (Christopher Walken dancing FTW!)

(on preview, seconding) Peter Gabriel - Sledgehammer (80s claymation FTW)

Bjork - Human Behavior (giant puppets!)

Foo Fighters - Big Me (Mentos spoof FTW)
posted by jillithd at 8:37 AM on March 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

INXS - Mediate
posted by bitterkitten at 8:38 AM on March 15, 2011

I think it probably falls somewhere between "artistic quality" and "absurdity," but I really enjoyed: HEALTH - We Are Water
posted by saladin at 8:40 AM on March 15, 2011

Response by poster: These are strong on "awesome" or "quirky" factor, which is great, but I'm also curious if there are any videos that have particularly amazing dancing. Keep the great videos of any type coming, though!
posted by wooh at 8:43 AM on March 15, 2011

A couple of New Zealand favourites from the last few years: Wellington electro-indie band Phoenix Foundation's anti-car fantastia, Hitchcock, and the freaky, Carnivalesque vid for break-beat act Minuit's Except You.
posted by Sonny Jim at 8:48 AM on March 15, 2011

Another fun one: Los Mono - Promesas
posted by phunniemee at 8:50 AM on March 15, 2011

Moray McLaren - We Got Time

Re: dancing - I'm definitely not the person to ask, but what the hey: Beyonce - Single Ladies was rather good.

Also, see most of Michael Jackson's classic output.
posted by Magnakai at 8:50 AM on March 15, 2011

Invisible Light
posted by empath at 8:50 AM on March 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oops. Good call John. I figured there had to be Previouslys.

Ah dancing. Ok I'll try to remember some.


There is some of the Jackson style in

Janet Jackson - Rhythm Nation

Not quite so much of the dancing here, but have to admit there's some pretty cool stuff for teh Brit:
Britney Spears - Toxic
posted by bitterkitten at 8:53 AM on March 15, 2011

You don't mention whether you would include covers in this. I'm also assuming you've seen the greats (MJ, Queen, etc.). That said:

Kate Bush specialized in one take wonder videos.
Army Dreamers
Wuthering Heights (arguably "amazing" dancing)
Another one-take: Nyle - Let the Beat Build

Beautifully shot, visually captivating (and happened to be shot by the same cinematographer, Matthew Santo:
Francis and the Lights- Darling, It's All Right (one take, "edited" only with light, and done on 35mm!)
Regina Spektor- Fidelity (directed by Marc Webb)

Shorewood High School - Hall and Oates' You Make My Dreams Come True Lipdub
Dustin McLean - Tears for Fears' "Head Over Heels" Literal Video
Dustin McLean - A-ha's "Take On Me" Literal Video
Oddly enough,
Hansen feat. Weird Al - Thinking 'Bout Somethin'
posted by therewolf at 9:03 AM on March 15, 2011

And of course I couldn't leave this out: Lady Gaga - Telephone
posted by therewolf at 9:04 AM on March 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Kate Bush - Army Dreamers
Kate Bush - Babooshka

Now get off my lawn.
posted by therewolf at 9:06 AM on March 15, 2011

no bonus points on this one, but Aphex Twin - Windowllicker fits the bill for absurd satire.
posted by soplerfo at 9:20 AM on March 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

I think the videos for Janelle Monae's Many Moons and Tightrope are pretty amazing. (Lots of dancing, too.)
posted by bewilderbeast at 9:22 AM on March 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

Excellent in cheesiness and cheesy dancing: "Total Eclipse of the Heart" - Bonnie Tyler; and the literally translated video, as well, as mentioned by therewolf.

Also, Lady Gaga's video for "Alejandro", i think, has some cool dancing.
posted by foxhat10 at 9:25 AM on March 15, 2011

Seconding the entire "Director's Series" as well as Aphex Twin's Windowlicker which was also mentioned. That is my favorite video.
posted by darkgroove at 9:26 AM on March 15, 2011

Not for the dancing, but the oddity of it (ooh, whirling dervishes!)...
Madonna - Bedtime Story

More weird, less cinematographic...
New Order - True Faith

More cinematographic, less weird (cool dancing)...
Gnarls Barkley - Going On
posted by Hypnotic Chick at 9:32 AM on March 15, 2011

Nthing the Director's Series. Especially those by Michel Gondry, of which two:

Come Into My World by Kylie Minogue
Star Guitar by The Chemical Brothers

are my favourites.
posted by TheOtherGuy at 9:32 AM on March 15, 2011

Miike Snow's "Rabbit" is something - it hits on a few of the categories.
posted by milkrate at 9:37 AM on March 15, 2011

Radiohead - Spirit Spirit, also There There

Hot Chip - And I was a Boy From School

Fatboy Slim - Weapon of Choice (duh)

An oldy, but a goody with some great dancing: Prisencolinensinainciusol

Basically every music video Sigor Ros has done.
posted by Windigo at 9:37 AM on March 15, 2011

Sabotage Beastie Boys
Sober Tool

(I'm at work, guessing that the links work).
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 9:46 AM on March 15, 2011

Blur - Coffee and TV
posted by mellifluous at 9:53 AM on March 15, 2011

Nirvana's Heart Shaped Box: Great video, but the song is kind of meh.

Radiohead's Paranoid Android is a classic.

Land of Confusion by Genesis is one of the classic 80s videos that I grew up watching.

Wow, I just dated my self in triplicate.
posted by elder18 at 9:54 AM on March 15, 2011

On to the Next One - Jay-Z

D.A.N.C.E. - Justice

The first song samples the second, which is a nice bonus.
posted by k8lin at 9:58 AM on March 15, 2011

I'm a big fan of the Spike Jonze oevre.

Weapon of choice was already mentioned.
California - Wax.
Drop - The Pharcyde
Praise You - Fatboy Slim
posted by Gilbert at 10:46 AM on March 15, 2011

Hella's Try Dis
posted by dobbs at 10:52 AM on March 15, 2011

I guess it's not the official music video (maybe semi-official?), but one video for Burning Room has some truly great dancing.

There's some nice ballet here, though it has lost track of what it's a music video for.

I'm also personally fond of Michael Jackson's Bad and Smooth Criminal, but you've probably seem those.

I think it really says something about the usefulness of AskMefi that no one has posted Friday yet.
posted by you're a kitty! at 10:53 AM on March 15, 2011

I'm surprised no one has said yet - Gaga's Bad Romance is one of the few music videos I've watched dozens of times, and by far her best.
posted by you're a kitty! at 11:02 AM on March 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

Michael Jackson's Thriller is probably the apex of great videos with dancing.
posted by JJ86 at 11:03 AM on March 15, 2011

Shakira dances!
posted by WeekendJen at 12:28 PM on March 15, 2011

Massive Attack - Protection don't know if it's true but I read it was done in one long take - good either way.

Kate Bush - Cloudbusting - Great anyway but worth watching just for the views of the English countryside. Perhaps the only music video in which Donald Sutherland appears ?

Dire Straits - Money for Nothing. Interesting to see what you could do with digital animation in the mid 80's.
posted by southof40 at 1:56 PM on March 15, 2011

Crowded House! They've always tended to make lovely, interesting videos.

Twice If You're Lucky
Better Be Home Soon
Don't Dream It's Over
Distant Sun
Four Seasons in One Day

As for sheer '80s adorable, I find it hard to beat Six Months in a Leaky Boat by Split Enz (Neil Finn's band before Crowded House).

That said, my all-time favorite '80s video is hands-down Ultravox's Vienna.
posted by scody at 3:45 PM on March 15, 2011

The Replacements Bastards of Young is an anti-music video. It's perfect

southof40, Cloudbusting is about Wilhilm Reich and the government shutting down his orgone generator

Do The Whirlwind by Architecture in Helsinki is the best music video ever. just 4 minutes of Paul Robertson pixel art
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:48 PM on March 15, 2011

Rock and Roll Dreams Come True - Meat Loaf and Angelina Jolie in a post-apocalyptic wasteland
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:50 PM on March 15, 2011

Well, you said dancing - here's one of my favorites:
Utah Saints - Something Good '08

fun concept:
DJ Format - 3 Feet Deep
Junior Senior - Move Your Feet

one long shot videos:
Feist - 1234 (dancing)
OK Go - A Million Ways (dancing)
DJ Format feat. Abdominal - Vicious Battle Raps (no dancing but fun)
Hollerado - Americanarama ("human 8-bit video")
posted by flex at 7:53 PM on March 15, 2011

Fabulosos Cadillacs - La Vida (gently satirical & cute, also dancing)
Shakira - Lo Hecho Está Hecho (sexxay interpretive dancing)
Molotov - Marciano (funny, involves dancing)
Molotov - Amateur (absurd)

And there's always Yatta! (I couldn't resist)
posted by flex at 9:37 PM on March 15, 2011

Anything by the French directorial collective Megaforce
Kid Cudi "Pursuit Of Happiness"
Naive New Beaters "Live Good"
Late of the Pier "Heartbeat"
Metronomy "A Thing For Me"
posted by mister nice at 4:23 AM on March 16, 2011

If you're looking for popular Korean mainstream music videos - here are some latest to not so latest hits that might tickle your fancy.

Miss A - Breathe
Brown Eyed Girls - Abracadabra
2ne1 - Go Away
Orange Caramel - Magic Girl
T-ara - Bo Beep Bo Beep

I guess most of the above videos are based on popularity and irrelevant to my personal preferences. If you ask what my opinion is on Korean music industry, I'll probably have to write an entire post on it so will put it aside for now.

Here are some of my personal favorites leaning towards being more artsy. I also take their actual music into consideration when evaluating the overall quality of the music video.

Baths - Lovely Bloodflow
Little Dragon - After the Rain
The Knife - Pass This On
The Roots ft. Erykah Badu - You Got Me
Synesthesia(it's not really a music video but thought it was still cool)
posted by Kimchee.Noodles. at 1:56 AM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

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