If it’s bandwidth draining nostalgia you seek, Pitchfork have just unveiled their Top 50 Music Videos of the 1990s, a time when, as Pitchfork duly notes, “video directors were arguably at their commercial and artistic peak” and MTV’s programming was still dominated by things like, well, music.
And what a trip it is. Who could forget Richard Ashcroft’s stoic disregard for everyone bar Richard Ashcroft in “Bittersweet Symphony”? A decade old omen of disregard to come perhaps? Or the subtle visual elegance of Mike Mills’ pong inspired video for “Kelly Watch The Stars”? Or any one of Hype Williams’ slick explorations of chest-thumping urban excess. But think of 90’s era music videos and the mind ultimately convenes on the Directors Label triumvirate of Chris Cunningham, Spike Jonze and Michel Gondry. Those three names proliferate the entire list and even monopolize the top five. And while the latter two have since parlayed music video beginnings into successful Hollywood careers, top spot ultimately goes to Cunningham whose stunning oeuvre includes the horrific (Aphex Twin – “Come to Daddy”) and the sublime (Bjork – “All Is Full Of Love”).
We may have discovered extra dimensions, slicker production means and racier wardrobes since – but at the risk of sounding like a fetishist of the past (or just really jaded) – they sure don’t make them like they used to. Argue over which Spike Jonze/Weezer video is actually the best (I contend it’s “Undone – The Sweater Song”) below.
5) The Beastie Boys – “Sabotage” (Spike Jonze, 1994)
4) Björk – “Bachelorette” (Michel Gondry, 1997)
3) Daft Punk – “Da Funk” (Spike Jonze, 1997)
2) Weezer – “Buddy Holly” (Spike Jonze, 1994)
1) Aphex Twin – “Come To Daddy” (Chris Cunningham, 1997)