The 100 Greatest Music Videos of All Time

75

Fatboy Slim, “Praise You” (Spike Jonze)

In his memorable home video clip for Fatboy Slim’s “Praise You,” Spike Jonze appears as Richard Koufey, choreographer for the fictional Torrence Community Dance group. No doubt hoping to incite controversy, Jonze & Co. put on a show before a line of people about to enter a movie theater. The theater’s manager greets the performance with unscripted rage, angrily turning off the boombox that blares Fatboy’s anthem. It is here that “Praise You” takes on a life of its own, questioning our refusal to tolerate street art that does not conform to elitist expectations. The only irony here may be that Jonze’s Being John Malkovich isn’t featured on the marquee.

74

Röyksopp, “Remind Me” (H5)

Directed by the design duo H5 (Herve de Crecy and Ludovic Houplain), Röyksopp’s “Remind Me” may just be the most depressing video ever made. Four minutes of diagrammatic sequences chart an anonymous British woman’s daily activities, from the second her eardrum perceives the sound of her alarm clock to the moment when her workweek ends. These graphical representations evoke the systematic nature of human activity and the inextricable means by which all life on Earth is interconnected. The clip’s overhead presentation suggests the presence of a higher being carefully plotting the mechanism that will make the world turn and, ultimately, strip humanity of its individuality.

73

Bronski Beat, “Smalltown Boy” (Bernard Rose)

Directed by the design duo H5 (Herve de Crecy and Ludovic Houplain), Röyksopp’s “Remind Me” may just be the most depressing video ever made. Four minutes of diagrammatic sequences chart an anonymous British woman’s daily activities, from the second her eardrum perceives the sound of her alarm clock to the moment when her workweek ends. These graphical representations evoke the systematic nature of human activity and the inextricable means by which all life on Earth is interconnected. The clip’s overhead presentation suggests the presence of a higher being carefully plotting the mechanism that will make the world turn and, ultimately, strip humanity of its individuality.

72

Madonna, “Ray of Light” (Jonas Akerlund)

One of Madonna’s least conceptually complicated videos, “Ray of Light” finds the MTV icon gyrating before a backdrop of rapid-fire images inspired by Godfrey Reggio’s 1983 film Koyaanisqatsi. Both song and video served as a celebration of Madonna’s newfound spirituality and appreciation for life. She wails, “I feel like I just got home!” throughout but it’s the latter nighttime portion of the video—in which Maddy morphs through a traffic tunnel and lands at the heart of a San Francisco dance floor—that truly feels like a homecoming for the video veteran.

71

Sigur Rós, “Vidrar Vel Til Loftárasa” (Celebrator)

Celebrator’s clip for Sigur Rós’s “Vidrar Vel Til Loftárasa” is a daring, fairy-tale paean to impossible love, which observes the complicated relationship between two schoolboys in rural Iceland. Shot entirely in slow motion, this lyrical seven-minute clip fits the band’s signature brand of yoga-rock like a glove. Celebrator’s use of symbols (porcelain dolls, the Holy Bible) tragically evokes rituals of denial. At a school soccer-match, a preacher’s son returns a set of misbegotten dolls to a young boy tormented by his blue-collar father. The boy pleases his dad when he scores a goal but shocks the crowd by ceremoniously kissing his young lover on the lips.

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