I woud like to thank AKMA’s Random Thoughts for distracting me from my work today by pointing out Stylus Magazines Top 100 Music Videos of All Time article. Now, as a teen in the eighties, I grew up on the (then new) entertainment medium of music video. I remember staying up late every Friday night to watch the latest and greatest videos on “Friday Night Videos” — this was before channels like MTV becames popular or others like VH1, or MuchMusic even existed (and when MTV actually played music videos!).
Looking through Stylus’s list I thought it was pretty good, though as AKMA noted it seem to have favoured more recent fare. I was happy to see Talking Heads “Once in a Lifetime” at number 20 as well as their â€œWild Wild Lifeâ€? at 55 (featuring a slim John Goodman before he was well known), R.E.M.‘s â€œLosing My Religionâ€? at 17 (facinating to realize what exactly “losing my religion” is referring to), Chris Isaak â€“ â€œWicked Gameâ€? at 56, Nirvana â€“ â€œSmells Like Teen Spiritâ€? at 77, Robert Palmer’s classic â€œAddicted to Loveâ€? at 96 (hmm… shouldn’t this be higher? and then there’s Shania Twain’s parody, “Man, I Feel Like a Woman” or even better yet, Bowling for Soup’s partial parody in “1985“), and even OutKast’s clever video of â€œHey Yaâ€? at 77. I was pleasantly surprised to see Johnny Cash hold the number two spot with his video of the Nine Inch Nails’s song â€œHurt.â€? I use this video along with the original Nine Inch Nails video in my advanced hermeneutics class. There were many videos I hadn’t seen — and a few that I watched. I quite liked seeing Christopher Walken dance in Fatboy Slim’s â€œWeapon of Choiceâ€? (but where was Fatboy Slim’s “Praise You” in the list?); I didn’t understand why the number one video was number one.
I think that Peter Gabriel‘s “Sledgehammer” should have been number 1, instead of 15. And I would have perhaps put some of his other videos in the list rather than “Shock the Monkeyâ€? (number 83). In fact, perhaps the biggest surpirse was the fact that only two of Peter Gabriel’s music videos were on the list! I can’t think of any other artist who treats his music videos as art. He is experimental, creative, and sometimes shocking in his videos. I would have included his “Steam” (which won a Grammy as best short music video in 1993), “Digging in the Dirt” (Grammy as best short music video in 1992), as well as “Blood of Eden.” One of my favourite DVD video compilations of all time is Gabriel’s 2004 Play: The Videos (Buy from Amazon.ca | Buy from Amazon.com).
There were a number of other videos that I was surprised not to see somewhere on the list. For instance, I was surprized to not see Dire Straits, “Money for Nothing“; this video was one of the first to experiment with computer graphics. Or even their “Brothers In Arms“, which won a Grammy in 1986. By no strech of the imagination am I a Michael Jackson fan; that being said, his “Thriller” video must be considered one of the best of all time — at least top ten (I have to laugh at the beginning of the video when Jackson says “I’m not like other guys; I’m different”! Nobody knew then just how different he was!). I was also disappointed not to see any U2 in the list. Finally, I think “Weird Al” Yankovic should have been honourable mention for all of this excellent video parodies!
OK, back to work… of course I guess I could consider this research for my Religion & Popular Culture class!