This post is brought to you by homework procrastination and lots of caffeine.
I miss MTV, back when it actually represented what it stands for, which is Music Television. Like most humans, I love music, and I love it when a good song is accompanied by a good video. Music videos can do so much to push a song into the world’s collective subconscious, illustrating the meaning behind the lyrics or remaining ambiguous yet beautiful. Since the ’80s, music videos have provided opportunities for music and filmmaking to merge, resulting in some pretty breathtaking and entertaining pieces, especially when directed by the likes of Spike Jonze or Michael Gondry.
All that being said, I present to you: the top 10 greatest music videos of all time as chosen by me. This list is mostly subjective, but I did try to take into account things like production value, artistry, creativity, the emotional response evoked, and how well the videos fit with their songs overall.
10. “Nothing Compares 2 U” by Sinead O’Connor
This video is pure raw emotion. Most of it is just a closeup shot of Sinead’s face, but her performance as she sings is powerful to watch. At about the 4:00 mark, a single tear streams down her cheek, and it makes me ache every time I see it. This video proves that sometimes the best art is the simplest.
9. “Hurt” by Johnny Cash
Originally by Nine Inch Nails, Johnny Cash made this song his own, and the video does even more to ensure it belongs to him. It’s deeply personal. Footage of Cash performing the song in his museum is interspersed with images of his life, and it all comes together to form a poignant representation of the Man in Black.
8. “This Year” by The Mountain Goats
This video is both hilarious and shocking, and lead singer John Darnielle’s performance throughout is the icing on the cake. This is such an incredible song anyway, but the video is perfect. It’s a worst-case scenario accompanied by a message of hope.
7. “Here It Goes Again” by OK Go
OK Go choreographed and recorded this entire video themselves in one room with one camera and a few treadmills. It’s genius because they managed to create an instant hit with possibly the smallest music video budget ever. Plus, it’s just a lot of fun to watch.
6. “Coffee and TV” by Blur
I was obsessed with this song for a long time in high school, and now I don’t care for it as much, but I still love the video. It’s about an adorable milk carton’s quest for his missing person. I mean, how can you not love that?