The Video Stars: Animated Edition

I am hardly an expert on animation, but these are the 10 that stand out as music videos using the medium creatively and fittingly:

10.  Tonight, Tonight – Smashing Pumpkins, 1996.  Directed by Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris.

The dreamy imagery in this video is inspired by the album cover art of Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness and turn of the century silent films.  I feel like I’m reading a storybook where the pictures are coming to life.


 9.  I Miss You – Bjork, 1995.  Directed by John Kricfalusi.

Directed and animated by the creator of Ren and Stimpy, we see Bjork as a cartoon sex-symbol.  And believe it or not, it gets even stranger and stranger from there.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

8.  D.A.N.C.E. – Justice, 2007.  Directed by Jonas & Francois.

Such a simple concept, but I cannot for the life of me figure out how they do this so smoothly.  The t-shirt designs are fun, hilarious, colourful, and keep our attention throughout the whole video.

7.  Float On – Modest Mouse, 2004.  Directed by Christopher Mills.

This video is complete with stop-motion sheep heading towards their unfortunate destiny.  This song is awesome on it’s own, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a video you can’t take your eyes off of.

 6.  Fell In Love With a Girl – White Stripes, 2002.  Directed by Michel Gondry.

I would argue that LEGO is to this day the best toy ever invented, and here the brilliant Gondry uses it as one of the best stop-motion tools ever.  This video makes me want to listen to the White Stripes all day while playing LEGO.

5.  Flood Pt. 1 – The Acorn, 2008.  Directed by Christopher Mills.

Although not as popular as Mills’ “Float On”, there is something so stunning about not only the style, but also the musicality. Everything is to the beat, and yet it doesn’t feel over-emphasized. The characters, though only 2 dimentional drawings, are so compelling.  Everything seems just right – I almost wish the song was written for the video instead of vice versa.

4.  Do The Evolution – Pearl Jam, 1998.  Directed by Kevin Altieri and Todd McFarlane.

A comic rendition of a not exactly sugar coated human history set to the ironic lyrics of “Do The Evolution”.  Somehow this one video is able to touch on nearly every tragedy and issue ever referenced by nearly any other video.  Pearl Jam don’t make a lot of videos, but when they do, you can trust that they’ll go all out.

3.  One More Time – Daft Punk, 2003.  Directed by Leiji Matsumoto.

This is here less based on the one video, and more as a representation of the film from which it comes – Interstella 5555 – the anime that goes along with Daft Punk’s album Discovery.  “One More Time” is my favorite, and kicks off the film by introducing us to it’s main characters – the band, The Crecsendolls.  The other highlight for me is “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger”.

2.  Sledgehammer – Peter Gabriel, 1986.  Directed by Stephen R. Johnson & Adam Whittaker.

Although not the first video to ever use this kind of animation, thanks to Nick Park it was the first to use it so well.  Sledgehammer continues to be a marker for all videos that use stop-motion animation and holds the record for video to be most played on MTV ever, proving that it continues to translate 25 years later.

1.  Take On Me – A-ha, 1985.  Directed by Steve Barron.

Not only is the animation incredible (transitions between live action and drawings are seemless), but the story is uber 80s romantic.  I mean, this video caused numerous women around the world to fall in love with a line drawing.  Unfortunately the lead singer Morton Harket is far more appealing as a cartoon than the live action version of himself.  Still, the combination of story and the use of brilliant graphics make for an absolutely legendary video.

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