Top 15 music videos (Part III)

And here we have my Top Five music videos of all time. Are you ready? Well, then click below to see what I picked. No fair reading the tags below to find my picks. And please share your thoughts and your favorite music videos in the comments (or via Twitter; I’m @amarvin).

5. “Thriller”, Michael Jackson. This was one of my favorite music videos as a kid (and one of my favorite albums, too). Some would consider this THE classic and put it at No. 1, but for me it’s just a bit too dated for that. It’s not as timeless as my other four top picks. But it’s still a great video despite it’s eight-minute length. How did they get away with that?

4. “Sledgehammer”, Peter Gabriel. You may wonder how this one tops “Thriller”, which I just called “dated” above. “Sledgehammer” does indeed look dated, too, with its ’80s-era stop-motion animation. But this video was one of the first ones I ever saw, and it still makes me smile every time I see it. It’s a funny song and a hilarious video. I vaguely remembering that it won video of the year back in 1986, but for me it’s No. 4 of all time.

3. “Survivalism”, Nine Inch Nails. Yes, another NIN video. Why? Because they are awesome. Every single one. But “Survivalism” marks not only the return to form for NIN in general, but also one of the best stories ever told in music video form. And the cinematography, filming the security camera monitors of apartments and hallways in an apartment building? Get outta here. It’s fan-freaking-tastic. And the ending? A political knockout. A dramatic re-imaging of Big Brother of 1984 fame, updated for the post-9/11 age.

2. “Hurt,” Johnny Cash. It’s another Nine Inch Nails song, but this time it’s being covered by someone else. And not just anyone — Johnny Cash. ZOMG! I don’t know where even to begin with this music video. It’s the most moving music video I have ever seen. Johnny Cash took one of my favorite NIN songs and injected it with more realism, more pain, more suffering, more agony than I ever could have imagined. And the video is just as lonely, just as agonizing. The fact that Cash looks near death (it is believed that this video was meant to be his epitaph) certainly adds to the haunting effect of the video. And images and videos of Cash’s past drive home that this song seems to have been written about Cash’s troubled life. Wow. I mean, Wow.

1. “White and Nerdy,” Weird Al. Before you get upset and start sending me hate mail, hear me out on this one. Let’s get the easy ones out of the way first: Weird Al, like him or not, is an incredible musician (and I’m not just talking about his spot-on parodies of popular songs). His videos are always hilarious, and this one is no exception. What puts this one over the top compared to any other video I have seen is the attention to detail. From lyrics (my favorite: “Happy Days is my favorite theme song / I can sure kick your butt in a game of Ping Pong / I’ll ace any trivia quiz you bring on / I’m fluent in JavaScript as well as Klingon“) to the images of Donny Osmond dancing spastically behind Weird Al dressed as a gangsta to an incredibly brief cameo of Seth Green (of Robot Chicken fame) showing off his action figure collection before smacking his ass, it’s easy to see why this is the funniest video EVER. It mentions all of the nerd stereotypes — Star Trek, Star Wars, PASCAL, fanny packs, Renaissance Faires — and even some I wasn’t aware of — nerds love mayonaise and get freaky at night with bubble wrap. Throwing in the “real” gangstas, who are both appalled and annoyed by Weird Al’s wannabe gangsta attitude is just the icing on the cake. And did I mention that Weird Al directed the video, too? Awesome. How much do I love this video? It’s the only one that I have ever purchased; I bought it soon after seeing it the first time. Two bucks was a steal for a video that I watch monthly. It’s just that damn good.

And since this is my No. 1 music video ever here’s another version done completely in stop-motion animation with LEGOs. Genius.

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~ by amarvin on Saturday, August 9, 2008.

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