Like our last post on our blog about the best music video directors, this list of best music videos is also just a matter of personal opinion and taste. I based my decision off of what videos I re-watched the most, shared the most with other people, and what videos I could go back to years later and watch again. I also took into consideration if the video was groundbreaking in anyway. This list was difficult for me to create; there have been so many great music videos made, and on top of that I’m sure there’s been hundreds of other music videos made that I would love that I just haven’t seen yet. As a music video producer, it’s your job to watch a lot of music videos to get inspiration and keep up with the trends. It also helps guide your artists in helping them distinguish what they are looking for in their music video. In this list, I will name my Top Ten Music Videos of All Time. Again, remember that this is just my opinion. Keep in mind this is not the top ten most viewed music videos or most popular music videos of all time.
I must have watched this video thirty times about two years ago as I was trying to duplicate this video; trying to recreate it was by far one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do as a music video producer. The video is called “On Hold” by Factory Floor. This video is a bunch of different actors performing different tasks, but the tasks keep happening over and over again in the exact mirrored way. The video starts to feel very hypnotic about thirty seconds in. It’s also a video that will stand the test of time for it’s sheer uniqueness. This video might make some people a bit sick. Number ten on my list of Greatest Music Videos of All Time is “On Hold” by Factory Floor.
This video is a pure guilty pleasure and just plain nutty. The video was actually directed by Eric Wareheim, a comedian from the popular adult swim show, “The Time and Eric Show”. I’m sure a lot of people will hate this video, but I think it’s entrancing in its strangeness, a fact which lands it on my best music videos list. Number nine on my list of best music videos is Bubble Butt by Major Lazer.
This is the best edited music video I’ve ever seen. They took a really simple live concert and edited it into an epic music video. Editing is where you can take a bad music video and make it good. In this case, the editor used incredible effects to showcase the energy of the live performance. As a music video producer and editor myself, I have so much respect for whoever edited this video. Number eight on my list of best music videos is Ni**as in Paris by JAY Z AND Kanye West.
I love this next video for multiple reasons. The video feels more like a short film than a music video, which is great. The song is wonderful, but the video definitely makes it better, which means the director did a great job. As a director, you always want the video to accent and even improve the reception of the song. I really adore how the video is all backwards and filmed with = slow motion. The twist at the end is executed perfectly. A lot of people try to put in twists in their music videos, but they make them way too obvious and people know they are coming. I really don’t think people see this end coming. I also think the blue coloring is awesome in this video. It sets the tone and mood from the get go. Number seven on my list of best music videos is “Breezeblocks” by Alt-J.
This next video isn’t one of my favorite videos, but it has inspired and set the tone for some of my favorite videos out there so I felt it was necessary to include. The video is “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana. The video set the tone in the 90’s for alternative grunge. You have a bunch of kids at a concert enjoying the grungy atmosphere and they begin to mosh to the music. I think most videos in the 90’s had some form of a mosh pit in them. I’m sure you would find a lot of people who consider this one of the greatest music videos of all time but I enjoy it more for what it inspired. The two videos I enjoy the most that emulated this video are “Gotta Get Away” by The Offspring and “Bullet with Butterlfly Wings by The Smashing Pumpkins. I went ahead and included all three videos in case you wanted to take a look. Number six on the list of greatest music videos of all time is “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana.
This is a video that you will watch in 2016, that was filmed in the 1990’s, set in a show from the 1970’s, which takes place in the 1950’s… so get ready to do some time traveling. The video is directed by Spike Jonez, who actually has two videos on this list. The first video is “Buddy Holly” by Weezer. Weezer’s blue cover album was actually the first CD I had ever bought, and I wasn’t disappointed. I went in a HMV CD store and decided I was going to buy a CD at 12 years old. I had no clue what CD I was going to buy, but back then you could sample the CDs, so I gave it a quick listen, felt it had potential, and bought it. A few weeks later I saw the video for “Buddy Holly” and couldn’t help but think that it was pure fun. They really did a great job capturing the essence of the show “Happy Days” and somehow mixed the band in to make it look like they were part of the show. I imagine they had an editing genius who spent weeks making this happen. Number five on the list of greatest music videos of all time is “Buddy Holly” by Weezer.
This is the second video on the list directed by Spike Jonez. Although this could easily be the best music video of all time for me, I didn’t list it as number one though because I didn’t feel it was ground breaking in anyway. The video is an adrenaline rush that keeps you laughing and entertained all the way through. The artists are dressed up as cheesy cops from the 70’s and are pursuing a bunch of different criminals. It’s a video you just need to see for yourself, although considering its popularity, you probably already have. Number four on the list of best music videos is “Sabotage” by Beastie Boys
This is the most recent video on our list of greatest music videos of all time. America has always been a trendsetter when it comes to music videos, probably due to MTV’s success in the states. The world watches the American music industry. The music of American artists gets played in countries where they don’t speak or understand English. This is pretty amazing if you think about it; people love the music so much that they don’t care if they don’t understand most of the lyrics. On the other side of the coin, the general American population never gets taken by storm by a song that is in another language. The closest we might get is a bit of Spanish in a song, but the song generally doesn’t become iconic. Well, the artist PSY from South Korea changed that with “Gangnam Style.” With 2.5 billion views and counting, all of America was swept away a few years ago by this wild video. It was an epic music video mixing humor with a culture that Americans had never really been widely exposed to. This video was truly groundbreaking; we had never seen a song sweep the world like this that was in a completely foreign language to Americans. Number three on the list of best music videos is “Gangnam Style” by PSY.
This video is from an artist we probably need a seperate top ten list of best music videos for. Michael Jackson is number two on our list and it was hard to choose which video of his to put on here because he had so many personal groundbreaking videos. Thus, I picked my top two favorite music videos of his. I picked “Thriller” because it was an epic video for its time. No one had ever made a music video into a complete film. The video came out to be thirteen minutes in length, won best music video in 1985, and it was MTV’s first world premiere video. The next video I included was “Scream.” To this day, it is the most expensive music video ever made at a total cost of seven millions dollars. With inflation, that would be ten million dollars today. Number two of our best music videos are “Thriller” and “Scream” by Michael Jackson.
The best music video of all time is a controversial one. It is “Smack My Bitch Up” by The Prodigy. This video is extremely unique as it shows a first-person view of someone going through London partying. The main character gets into a fight with the DJ, samples a few drugs, and winds up a strip club. The big twist at the end is that we have been following a woman, not a man. A lot more takes place in this video, so be sure to check it out. First person videos are done often these days because of the availability of Go-Pro, but this was fifteen years before those cameras were invented. It is truly impressive that they were able to do this with those huge cameras back then. So again our best music video of all time is “Smack My Bitch Up” by The Prodigy.
We hope you enjoyed our top ten list of greatest music videos of all time even if you don’t agree with them. Be sure to comment and let us know what videos you think are missing. Also check out our next article, in which we will be counting down the top ten most expensive music videos of all time.
If you’re looking for a more in depth list of best music videos be sure to check out this list of 100 greatest music videos of all time
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