Two massively important alt-rock greats returned to the music-video earlier today, and neither of them is on this list. The Pixies’ “Bag Boy,” their first new song in nine years, soundtracked a disturbing video about a little kid fucking up somebody’s house and added in a visual punchline that was more nasty than funny. And David Lynch threw assaultive, incoherent images all over Nine Inch Nails’ excellent return single “Came Back Haunted.” I’m sure those videos had their admirers, but I much prefer each of the five below. (Bonus shout-out to the girl in the red and white dress from Smith Westerns’ “Idol” video, who came close to singlehandedly landing that video on this list.)
5. Disclosure – “F For You” (Dir. Ben Murray & Ross McDowell)
The setup gives us a look at just how much work and versatility goes into Disclosure’s live show, and the light-display makes it look like a blast anyway. If I could live on this soundstage for a week, I would.
4. Pissed Jeans – “Romanticize Me” (Dir. Joe Stakun)
Sometimes it takes a completely new context to appreciate the art in something. For instance: Without the lights and waxy smiles and with a hate-sludge soundtrack, figure skating turns out to have a rigorous beauty that I’ve never really let myself admire before, on account of I’m so badass and all. Shout out to retired skater Braden Overett for looking tough enough to hold down a Pissed Jeans video.
3. Duck Sauce – “It’s You” (Dir. Phil Andelman)
The “Barbra Streisand” and “Big Bad Wolf” videos are straight-up modern classics. The psychedelic barbershop of this video feels a bit minor in comparison, but it keeps twisting, finding fun and inventive spins on its goofy-ass premise. And you can’t tell me you didn’t bust up laughing when the rockabilly janitor guy spun around.
2. M.I.A. – “Bring The Noize” (Dir. ?)
There are many great things about this video, but the most important of them is M.I.A.’s face, which is basically the toughest thing I’ve ever seen.
1. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Despair” (Dir. Patrick Daughters)
Not ashamed to say I teared up a little bit at that helicopter shot. Pure triumphant exhilaration right there.