Monday, November 16

The CDP's Top 20 Music Videos Of The Decade.

'This is entertainment.
Lives are entertainment.
You are down on your knees,
Begging me for more.'

- Innerpartysystem, 'Don't Stop'

If I have any sort of say as to how you read/watch/enjoy today's essay, I would suggest you give yourself an hour or so, a quiet place where you can listen and read without being bothered, and give yourself a good opportunity to enjoy and reflect upon 21 of the best music videos of the decade.

Or, you know, just skim over it during your lunch break. What's important is that you're here. Let's go.

Honorable Mention
- 'Tidal Wave' - Longwave

- This song is unarguably beautiful; so warm, nostalgic and longing. Clearly made on the cheap but capturing the bliss and wonder of new love, this video introduced me to Longwave and I've been a fan ever since.

- 'Existentialism On Prom Night' - Straylight Run

- I don't know if Straylight Run was going for the 'Prom Theme/Graduation Song' when they recorded this track (although evidence points heavily in that direction), but it succeeded in every facet. A powerful video for a very pretty, life-affirming tune.

- 'Drumroll' - P.O.S.

- The Apocalypse is going to be a bitch; I think we're all well aware of this. P.O.S.' frantic and schizophrenic 'Drumroll' captures the Road Warrior/Walking Dead landscape quite well. In a word, awesome.

- 'Special' - Mew

- I sometimes dream in 'Foreign Film;' transcendent French women, black-and-white beachscapes, dudes slow-motion dancing in huge, white suits. Mew are geniuses for sure, and this video, although confusing and arguably lame in any other presentation, fits perfectly with such a beautiful, dreamy song.

- 'Here It Goes Again' - OK Go

- OK Go write fun, poppy, bouncy music and refuse to apologize for it. In my opinion, their first two albums are criminally underrated and overshadowed by their supreme ability to create Viral Video sensations. And even though 'Here It Goes Again' might have lost its lustre after the first hundred or so viewings, experience it again and try not to have your day brightened.

- 'Hey Ya!' - OutKast

- For my money, 'Hey Ya!' is the biggest, best and most universally-adored single of the last 10 years. For our introduction to this masterpiece jam (and to Andre 3000's solo career), we get an Ed Sullivan-esque atmosphere (complete with screaming audience throughout), an entire band full of Andre 3000's, and a permanent piece of Pop Culture history.

- 'Lazy Eye' - Silversun Pickups

- Well, first and foremost, I'm unbelievably attracted to the female lead in this video (who is she?). But more importantly, the video feels very real. In fact, I think we've all experienced it a time or two. The song accentuates the mood, the dim, smoky atmosphere and that feeling that maybe, just maybe, we'll end up a little less lonelier than when we arrived.

- 'Move Your Feet' - Junior Senior

- Why not? One of the feel-goodiest tracks of the year is perfectly backed up by an Atari 2600 video from outer space. Singing squirrels, call-and-response, it has it all. I see no other concept that would have matched this tune any better.

- 'Fell In Love With A Girl' - The White Stripes

- For a lot of folks, this is their #1 choice. It introduced Mainstream America to The White Stripes, it was groundbreaking in its Lego-infused stop-motion, and the song absolutely shreds (still their best song?). I dig it (I'm not enamored with it), and it more or less stands the test of time in the ever-changing landscape of cheap, impactful indie videos.

- 'Dressed To Kill' - New Found Glory

- I'm a sucker for pop punk songs about girls, Say Anything-esque attempts to remedy unrequited love, bands playing in their garage, and pretty much anything that takes place in a cul-de-sac (ABC Family cranks out movies like this every week). This has been the template for any solid pop punk video since the beginning of time.

But what 'Dressed To Kill' has that sets them apart is Rachel Leigh Cook.

End of story.

- 'After Hours' - We Are Scientists

- We Are Scientists cranked out a handful of hilarious videos following the releases of their first two albums (I think they're friends with The Lonely Island dudes). This one, I think is their best. The overt ridiculousness makes you laugh, but only because it's all coming from a very real place. Guys have problems.

- 'The Funeral' - Band Of Horses

- Goddamn. I distinctly remember the first time me and the Missus saw this video for the first time. It was our introduction to Band Of Horses, and more importantly, our introduction to 'The Funeral.' For a couple minutes after the video had ended, we sort of just sat there in silence, taking in the emotional battering we had just received. A truly beautiful and heartwrenching song, set to a fever-dream of a clip from decades ago. A befitting video for a song you need to hear.

- 'Evil' - Interpol

- When you watch this clip for the first time, you'll probably have the same reaction as I did. "What the...? Why the...? How the...?" For some reason, this video wasn't aired very much at all on the 1 or 2 networks that still air videos, but it's really something that should be shared and seen to be believed.

- 'Weapon Of Choice' - Fatboy Slim

- As 2009 winds down, we are forced to say goodbye to the little, funny things that we ran completely into the ground over the course of the decade. LOLcats. Chuck Norris facts. Christopher Walken mania. I mean, we all love Walken, but the only reason he ever became a comedic figure was due to his unparalleled weirdness; dude never told a joke in his life. That being said, Fatboy Slim (who is no stranger to being privy to memorable videos) capured the height and essence of WalkenMania when 'Weapon Of Choice' collectively blew the minds of millions upon release.

And yeah, it's still awesome.

- 'Bones' - The Killers

- When I first saw the video for 'Bones,' two things instantly came to mind.

1) "Holy crap, this is easily the best Killers song I've ever heard, and that's actually saying a lot. Say what you want, but dudes know how to write a single."

2) "This had to have been directed by Tim Burton, but he doesn't direct music videos, does he?"

Well, as I found out about five seconds after the video ended, 'Bones' is the first (and so far, only) music video every directed by Mr. Tim Burton. And it has everything you ever liked about Burton within; vintage movie clips, skeletons by the truckload, creepy desert theaters, there's about a hundred things I uniquely love about this video, and not a lot of people got to see it when it was released, so do yourself a favor and check out this slice of overlooked and amazing video direction, set to a truly worthy song.

- 'DVNO' - Justice

- One thing I love about the Internet is that anything and everything you could possibly obsess about already has a huge community of folks, dedicated to obsessing about that one thing until the end of time. As a child, I was always interested in production bumpers that followed my favorite television shows; those 2-3 second cards or simple animations that almost subliminally entered your headspace and stuck there.

Then, 20 years later, some dude creates an entire music video around these bumpers, and boy is it amazing. Any TV obsessed child of the 80's and 90's will flip their collective wigs upon viewing this endlessly clever and fun video for an endlessly clever and fun track.

- 'Impossible' - Shout Out Louds

- Easily the most beautifully-shot video I've seen this decade, perfectly capturing the conveyed moodiness, solitude and existentialism of this lonely, sprawling track. Everyone is going to take away their own, personal feelings from this clip, so I'll leave it at that. Great stuff.

- 'At Your Funeral' - Saves The Day

- Life is short, random and as permanent and memorable as dust sometimes. 'At Your Funeral' is the opening track to one of my favorite albums of all-time, and this video has a tendency to stick hard to whomever takes the time to view it. Amazing.

- 'Don't Stop' - innerpartysystem

- I've got a secret for you. This video, innerpartysystem's 'Dont Stop,' was the unofficial soundtrack for the CDP for the last few years. The look, the message, the attitude. Clearly, the CDP isn't nearly as psychotic and brain-melting as this video, but when I started kicking around new design and merch ideas, I always had this track and video in mind. Seriously, if I had any skills whatsoever concerning film editing, this is how every clip I shot would look like. I love, love, love this video, and I love, love, love this song. 'Lives are entertainment.'

- 'Hurt' - Johnny Cash

- An elderly Johnny Cash covering Nine Inch Nails' 'Hurt' made absolutely perfect and heartbreaking sense once this clip came out. The video, shot shortly before the death of the Man In Black, and frantically edited with hundreds of clips of his glory days by Mark Romanek, is startling, haunting and more than enough to make a grown man cry. I know I did. As moving as a music video can be, you will always remember 'Hurt' after watching this timeless video.

- 'First Day Of My Life' - Bright Eyes

- Why? Because it's the most beautiful music video I've ever watched.

Take a cue from the listeners in the video and think about the one you love (or want to love) when listening to 'First Day Of My Life,' and try not to be moved to tears. Accentuating the song, visually enhancing the message and bringing an entirely new layer of emotion to an already-beautiful song. This is exactly why music videos should exist.

Thanks much for reading and watching. Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day; more awesome stuff tomorrow as the CDP Decade In Review rolls along.

Oh God, just thinking about the "Hurt" video is making me cry. ;__;
So would you rather have low production values but an MTV that played videos all the time like when I was in high school, or high production values that are segregated to digital cable three digit Siberia?

Just askin'...

The reason people STILL parody "Separate Ways" is that it was actually shown on a channel where people watched videos!
I'll have to make time to watch the ones I haven't already seen, but the ones I'm familiar with are all amazing. Weapon of Choice is on my list of videos I'll watch to get myself out of a bad mood. (Also on that list are Ludo's 'Love Me Dead', TMBG's 'Birdhouse n Your Soul'...and the 'What What in the Butt' video. There - you just got a glimpse into the warped bizarroland that is my brain, and that song is stuck in your head. You're welcome.)
Of Montreal - Wraith Pined to the Mist

c'mon, THAT video has EVERYTHING. Happy animals exploding from gunshot wounds. I think it's undeniably cute/sick and catchy.
I remember that once there was a channel that played music videos, but, alas, it must be off the air now.
When that music video for The White Stripes came out I was absolutely amazed and I still love it. It doesn't seem special anymore since there's all those Lego stop motion videos on YouTube.

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