Why all the nudity in 2009? Well, look at this way: The affordability of video production technology has made it easier for everybody to get in the game; the unceremonious death of music television has shifted the means of music video distribution to the internet, where it’s less about FCC than about NSFW; and let’s face it, blogger hit counts love no four letters more than NSFW. More than ever, video directors and bands are cutting through the iMovie inundation by setting their songs to a bunch of extras parading their giggly bits. (Occasionally the artists themselves are baring more than just their souls, too.) To memorialize the year in NSFW, here are ten of the most prurient sets of moving pixels we’ve seen all year. Any other week we’d say you shouldn’t watch this at your cubicle, but you deserve a reward for even being at work this week, so go nuts! Lots of nuts here.
10 Marilyn Manson – “Running To The Edge Of The World”
There was a time when Marilyn’s idea of NSFW was convincing his ex, Rachel Evan Wood, that doing a softcore sex scene in his video was a smart idea. Then she found an actually smart idea and broke up with him, and now Marilyn’s NSFW means depicting a barely dressed woman of a similar age being beaten into a bloody pulp. His shtick is sad, and gross, and tired, but this is a list of NSFW videos, and this is a pretty NSFW video. Obligatory, evergreen addendum: Marilyn will be knocking on your door soon.
08 Depeche Mode – “Hole To Feed”
After watching what he did for Flying Lotus last year, it was clear Tim & Eric’s Eric Wareheim was going to be a major force in NSFW videos for years to come, or at least the next one year to come. So in 2009 he makes this list twice! The only director worthy of such an honor (also, the only one in the running for it). Eric’s very particular brand of sexy gets good work for Depeche Mode, where the “Hole” is the mouth and the “Feed” is aggressive face fucking. Gross and also fantastic.
07 Massive Attack – “Paradise Circus”
Massive Attack’s Heligoland track with Hope Sandoval serves as a (way)backdrop to a documentary in which a 73-year-old Georgina Spelvin recalls the lay of her life in the adult film classic The Devil In Miss Jones. Basically the Toby Dye-directed clip is Titanic as porn documentary, where instead of flashing back to cute scenes with Leo, Old Rose is flashing back to money-shots with Disco Stu. Why it didn’t rank higher: You need to watch it twice to even remember there’s a Massive Attack song playing at all.
06 Yeasayer – “Ambling Alp”
The technologically advanced teaser made for state-of-the-art peeping Tom-foolery, allowing the viewer to rotate a camera around an unrestricted circle of naked kids. The video itself? Much classier, thank you very much, although also much less interactive. (The two are probably related.) Never mind what anybody else does, unless they’re running through the ambling Alps on a pseudo-Ryan McGinley nudist marathon, while All Hour Cymbals-faced beefcakes pummel each other and the band has their faces dripped in pixelated goop. It’s only logical, sort of.
05 Raekwon – “Pyrex Vision”
Some of the clips on this employ the NSFW for gratuitous reasons, but clearly Raekwon’s just striving for gritty reality in his ode to cooking crack in Corning. And as Hollywood’s taught us time and again with New Jack City and American Gangster, only naked women cook crack. So this is just some germane, necessary nudity, here.
04 Major Lazer – “Pon De Floor”
This may just look like some of the most acrobatic and colorfully eye-popping dancehall dry-humping ever set to film, but really Eric Wareheim is making a statement on the Jamaican ban of daggering. Maybe. Or maybe he’s just getting really good at NSFW videos. Either way, this treatment for Major Lazer’s “Pon De Floor” is perfecto, and if you don’t learn something about how to treat your lover while watching it, you’ll never know how to treat your lover.
03 Girls – “Lust For Life” (XXX Edit)
“Lust For Life” is such a good jam that Girls could just keep rolling out new versions of videos for it and nobody would really complain. Which is pretty much exactly what happened. Especially when it came down to the Aaron Brown and Ben Chappell-directed “XXX Edit,” starring Hunx and junk doubling as a flesh-toned microphone, and errant shots of topless ladies being lusty, living life, etc. Hunx says he’ll do a sequel as long as Christopher will do a three-way, we say this is carefree nudity that captures some of the song’s spirit, on top of also just being a very good song.
02 Matt & Kim – “Lessons Learned”
Everything you see here is real: Matt and Kim jump out of a van and stroll through Times Square in winter, in slow-mo, stripping until the cops are finally hipped to the fact that theirs are bare. The Taylor Cohen-directed clip even won an award! (The Woodie. Fitting.) Bonus points for the artists themselves stripping to the skin, and bonus-bonus for neither of their significant others being able to get jealous since they are their own significant others. Brilliantly planned.
01 The Flaming Lips – “Watching The Planets”
This year, these guys were routinely making their stage entrances through psychedelically undulating (Flaming?) vaginal Lips. Because they were reborn, or something. Well those lips made an appearance in spirit, in this clip, where Wayne took a terrible old Truly Tasteless Joke — you spend nine months of your life trying to get out, and the rest of your life trying to get back in — to its illogical extreme. It’s easy to get a NSFW stamp and score some pageviews by incorporating nudity by proxy, getting some hired guns (or here, some Craigslisters) to be filmed in the buff for you. But few have the balls to bare ’em themselves. To top this list, Wayne pulled out the biggest trump card of all. From his pants. “Killing the ego” indeed. (Or, inflating it. Depending on your angle. And his.) Congrats to Wayne and his coyne: you are tied at #1.