11 Sep 2011

Video Killed The Radio Star - Top 10 Music Videos

I've not done a proper top 10 in aaaaaaaaaaages, not since this one I think. So today I thought I'd come back with a, er, bang - My Top 10 Music Videos! It's been, unsurprisingly, tough to narrow down the list as I do love a good music video. Where would we be without MTV and all the other music channels it spawned? Although it's not on the list, I have to give credit to Dire Straits here - Money For Nothing was the first music video shown on MTV, way back in August 1987 (crikey that's 24 years ago.....)

The list is a real mix of stuff - some pop, some metal, some dance, some rock. I've literally picked the first videos that spring to mind but at the end of the post is also a list of the best suggestions that came up on Twitter/Facebook when I asked for your favourite vids.

My Top 10 Music Videos - in no particular order...

1) November Rain - Guns 'n' Roses
Awesome video - great wedding dress, great guitar solo, and just generally a very unintentionally funny video. It's clearly a great song too, which makes all the difference.

2) Smack My Bitch Up - The Prodigy
Er, if you're of a sensitive nature, look away now. This video has won several polls for the most offensive video ever, was banned for years and just generally caused stacks of controversy as did the song/song title itself! Personally I think it's a great song + video and I don't think it's misogynistic at all, rather I like the way it subverts certain stereotypes. I often wonder if the video would have been so shocking if it had had a different protagonist. However if you'd rather not watch the video (I wouldn't if you're not sure!), scroll down to the very bottom of this post - and I've put a little precis in for you.

It makes into this list for being a great video because of the production and direction and the fabulous imagery - you feel like you're part of it! It's also interesting to note that the video was directed by Jonas Akerlund - who has done several Lady Gaga videos including Telephone and Paparazzi.

3) Like A Prayer - Madonna
Interestingly, another controversial video when it came out - but it's a wonderful video. I like the way Madonna goes to great lengths to tell a story - even though the lyrics of the song are utterly bizarre (is it about sex or religion - or both?)  Madonna, witnessing a murder, flees to a church for sanctuary and then has a bizarre dream about having sex with a saint (possibly Jesus?) Anyway the Vatican banned this video - rather understandably - given the extensive Catholic/religious imagery. It's incredibly famous song and video - I've seen Madonna perform it live and it was AMAZING.

4) Crazy - Aerosmith
I know, i've covered this song before but goddammit the video ROCKS. Well, how could it not - featuring Alicia Silverstone and Liv Tyler in some sort of semi-lesbian road trip type thing. Although creepily this song came out before Steve Tyler realised Liv was his daughter....It's also a great song.

5) Tainted Love - Marilyn Manson
Um, another slightly x-rated video. I'm not a big marilyn manson fan but I did like his cover of this Gloria Jones/Soft Cell track. Being a bit of a goth at uni, I loved the "alternatives crashing the party" theme - and the fab clothes also. The contrast between the frat party atmosphere, the kegs, the pink fluffy bedroom, the hot tub scene - and the jocks and cheerleaders :) Watch out for the cameo by Joey Jordison from Slipknot also!

6) Dirrty - Christina Aguilera
I can't really explain why I love this video. The whole thing - imagery, dancing, outfits, theme - just works so well. It helps to know that it was directed by legendary photographer David La Chapelle and was apparently meant to show a "post-apocalyptic orgy". I'm not sure what exactly a PAO would look like but I'm guessing David La Chapelle has better idea than I do. The video release was overshadowed by Aguilera's choice of er, trousers, in it - causing much fuss (understandbly) on daytime kids shows. However this song was Xtina's attempt to break free from her clean poptastic image into something quite a lot darker and sexual. The other songs + videos on her album Stripped I think also match up to this.

7) Don't Speak - No Doubt
Aside from the fact that a) I kind of worship Gwen Stefani and b) I'd love her abs (as you can see on this video) I think this has to be *the* best break up song, ever. I don't know anyone who doesn't like this - everyone from my mum + dad all the way through :) I've picked the video though because I like the mix of the imagery with the apples with No Doubt playing live and recording. It's just like essence of No Doubt in one track. Love it!

8) Cochise - Audioslave
I'm not sure how big Audioslave are in the UK, but this track kept popping up on best 100 rock tracks listing on the music channels for ages before I twigged who was singing it! Yes, it's Chris Cornell, and Audioslave is one of those weird supergroup fingies - with the rest of the band coming from Rage Against the Machine. Anyway this song is awesome and I just think the video is the perfect match - the gritty industrial set and the fireworks just match up perfectly.

9) Queer - Garbage
This list wouldn't be right without a Garbage track - and what about the the first Garbage song I ever heard? Queer is a spooky kind of song -  Manson's hypnotic lyrics pull you slowly before hitting you with a big vicious chorus. However the video is kind of like The Prodigy in that you see everything through the eyes of the protagonist. It's quite scary and fucked up in places, and for that it earns its place on this list. Interestingly, the director - Stephane Sednaoui- also directed RHCP's Give It Away as well as videos for Bjork, Tricky and Madonna.

10) Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana
I don't really know what to say about this song except eeeeeeeeep it's 20 frickin' years old. When did that happen. I was 10 when it came out, so probably wasn't in the initial target audience. However I first heard it at summer camp a couple years later. It's in the list because I love the mix of cheerleaders/teen references with Cobain + et al playing their hearts out.

That's my list....I know there's so much more I could mention: Thriller, Like A Virgin, Baby One More Time, The Chemical Brothers, Placebo, Pink, Rihanna - the list is endless. However here's a quick round up of the best suggestions I got online:

@melancholieC - Just/Radiohead, I Want To Break Free/Queen
@hecate - Her Ghost In The Fog/Cradle of Filth, Learn To Fly/Foo Fighters
@clogsilk - Coffee + TV/Blur
@Halohoney - Virtual Insanity/Jamiroquai
@KJX33 - True Faith/New Order, Windowlicker/Aphex Twin (this one is nAsty)
@copperhobnob - Take On Me/A-Ha
@ggnewed - Stand + Deliver/Adam Ant

So that's all for today - let me know your fave videos below, love to watch some new stuff!

Thank you + goodnight

Stupidgirl has left the building

PS Smack My Bitch Up precis from Wikipedia - video depicts a night out... portraying drinking and driving, snorting cocaine, violence, vandalism, nudity and sex. The unedited version also includes a scene of heroin use and a hit and run incident. The protagonist takes a stripper home and has sex with her. As the stripper leaves with her things, the protagonist glances in the mirror, is revealed to be a woman, and passes out on the bed.


  1. Off the top of my head: Today by Smashing Pumpkins, I Just Don't Know What to Do With Myself by White Stripes, any Ok Go video but if I had to narrow it down Here it Goes Again, Weapon of Choice by Fatboy slim. Oddly, none of those bands would be in my top 10 bands but the videos rock!

  2. I reckon Prodigy and Manson are both good choices too, Becky. :-) I'd also go for A-ha/Take on me, which I completely forgot about. And another one I forgot about is Gorillaz / Feel Good inc. The problem I had trying to come up with other choices is that sometimes it doesn't matter if it's a good video, if you really like the song I'd forgive a bad/dull video... but i do like a good bit of visual entertainment too. :-)

    Thanks for the mention.

  3. I agree with 5 of your top choices, and that's unusual because I seldom agree with anyone about music :-) I've also been reminded of a few which I am off to buy now, included Virtual Insanity - I looove that song, why don't I have it??

  4. Wow! Great tunes, I agree with GNR and Madonna but here's my take on the Top 10...

    1 We Are Your Friends- Justice vs Simian
    ...because with friends like these, who needs enemies?
    2 Take On Me- A-ha
    ...anyone who's ever made an animation flip book just 'gets' it!
    3 Freedom- George Michael
    ...brave move to publicly criticise Sony and regain artistic control. Plus the models are hot!
    4 Parlez Vous Francais- Art vs Science
    ...because it's good to know nice guys sometimes finish first :-)
    5 Tribute- Tenacious D
    ...because I'd hope to know how to play the greatest song in the world should I meet Dave Grohl down a lonesome road in the middle of the night!
    6 Mickey- Toni Basil
    ...maybe not a great video but definitely an iconic one. Cheerleader for life!
    7 Rock This Party- Bob Sinclair
    ...kids re-doing other music clip classics better than the originals at times!
    8 I Want To Break Free- Queen
    ...Freddie makes me smile after all this time
    9 Bad Romance- Lady Gaga
    ...for the spectacle that is Mama Monster
    10 Baby Baby Baby- Make The Girl Dance
    ...for sheer audacity!