Music videos. They’re opportunities to witness our favorite singers step in front of the camera and give us a visual interpretation of their songs. Sometimes we’re rewarded with stunning technical achievement (as in Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer”.) At other times we’re treated to dramatic storytelling (Demi Lovato’s “Tell Me You Love Me”) or comedy (Eminem’s “Without Me” — always hilarious!) They invite us to view the song and the musician in a whole new way, opening up incredible avenues of creativity and imagination.
When it came to choosing my absolute favorites, I picked the videos that I’ve watched and re-watched multiple times, the ones that exemplified my favorite aspects of music videos — light, darkness, humor, insanity, and of course, good music. Here’s hoping you find your new favorite among mine.
5. Nine in the Afternoon – Panic! at the Disco
This is one of the first music videos I ever really fell in love with, thanks to a kooky Brendon Urie seriously mugging it for the camera. A light-hearted, feel-good song, a Beatlesy-vibe, and a unique aesthetic made this one stand out from so many other songs on the radio at the time. I never get tired of the moment when Brendon looks at the clock and has a Yikes! moment (it happens at 2:07 in the video.) Overally fun video and song that lifts your spirits.
4. We Are Golden – MIKA
What’s better than watching MIKA dance around in his underwear? Not much, as this video goes to show. “We Are Golden” is my favorite song of his and rather than do anything elaborate in his video, MIKA keeps it simple — dancing around, lip-synching to his own song. It’s manically paced and bursting with brights colors and bedroom hijinks. If this song doesn’t get you hyped for the day, nothing will.
3. Partyman – Prince
Prince embraces his inner mischief-maker in this song from The Batman soundtrack. In it, he lives it up, wreaking havoc at a party as the nefarious clown prince of crime. He’s both sexy and funny, playing tricks on all the party guests.
It’s only recently I discovered this video, but I fell for it immediately. Not only do I love the video; I love the make-up. Half-Prince, Half Clown, All Magic. The extended version (which I’ve provided) adds a few more laughs into the mix. And if you can’t get enough of Prince Joker over here, you can catch him again, sporting a half-Batman side in the Batdance video.
2. Don’t Come Around Here No More – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
One of Tom Petty’s best, “Don’t Come Around Here No More” is a crazy Alice-in-Wonderland-inspired video with Tom playing a mischievous mad hatter in a quirky black-and-white-checkered setting. Alice is in over her head dealing with Mad Petty, seeing herself become a pig, getting shrunk into a teacup, and finally turning into a delicious cake. It’s twisted, creepy, trippy, and all kinds of devilish goodness. Dig in!
1. I’m Going Slightly Mad – Queen
I’ll admit, when I first heard “I’m Going Slightly Mad”, it kind of creeped me out. Freddie sings in a distant voice as though he’s lost in a cloud of his own madness. Not the most uplifting listening experience.
And then I saw the video.
Of all the music videos I’ve watched (and re-watched) over the years, nothing beats this one (and Queen has a lot of contenders for that title.)
So what does this video have that makes it so special? Humor. Playfulness. Freddie looking like a twisted vampire clown. A zippy, loopy production that takes (most) of the scary out of the song and replaces it with goofy charm. I love this video because we get to see Freddie, late in life, having a ball, engaging in silly antics and teasing his fellow bandmates. He wears a bunch of bananas on his head, people!
Do yourself a favor. Watch this video. And laugh. Just laugh. ‘Cause it’s pure joy.
What do you think? What are your favorite music videos of all time? I’d love to know!
Until we meet again!