Debuting to the world in April 19th, 1987, thirty years later, The Simpsons has never been afraid to take a look back at their history and mock the absurdity of it all. While the show has been quite excellent in its formative years, back in 1990, the show reached the height of its popularity to where it had oodles of merchandise. There were dolls, shirts, comic books, books, video games, et al. and the show took the opportunity to mock that period back in the “Behind the Laughter” episode. In it the narrator looks at how obscene the merchandising for the show was to the point where the characters went so far as to release birth control and, yes, two cheesy hit novelty albums.
Hilariously enough in 1990, The Simpsons did release a “legitimate” music album named “The Simpsons Sing the Blues!”
When I was a kid, “Moonwalker” was on constant rotation on our VCR and for ninety minutes, it kept me and my brother quiet and out of my mom’s hair. As brothers prone to fighting and bickering, movies are what usually kept us shut, especially since we couldn’t even afford basic cable back then. Around the time “Moonwalker” came to VHS, we knew perfectly clear that the movie itself was nothing but a promotional tool for Michael Jackson. Back then, Jackson ruled the world and was considered the most iconic person on the face of the Earth. He was pretty much a God, so we didn’t care that the VHS was just nothing but a commercial for Jackson’s incredible abilities, we just wanted Michael Jackson. Pretty much in the same way we didn’t care “Kriss Kross: Jump” or “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Making of the Coming Out of Their Shells Tour” were just tapes intent on promoting a product, we didn’t care” Moonwalker” was just for Michael Jackson’s publicity team. It was our fix of the popular Jackson, and we loved it.
5. Take on Me
This innovative music video which paved the way for videos from Incubus’ “Drive”, and Shakira’s “Temptation Tango” features a story within a song about a woman who falls in love with a comic character and is sucked into his world where he attempts to save her from villains. This bittersweet video is set to Ah-Ha’s incredible song “Take on Me” and became one of the best music videos ever made as we watch the hero of the comic book battling the villains, racing and falling love with her panel by panel. Watch for the homage to “Altered States” as the lead singer bounces against the walls of the video heroine’s apartment struggling to remain whole as he switches from drawn to human over and over. Still one of the coolest videos to date.
15. Smashing Pumpkins
The Smashing Pumpkins were one of the best alternative rock bands to come out of the nineties and couldn’t be lumped in with everyone else simply for their sheer originality and odd appearance, but their music was great from songs like “1979” to “Bullets with Butterfly Wings”, no two songs ever really sounded alike, especially when talking about “Tonight, tonight”. This impressive rock song backed with an orchestra and sometimes sounding like Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir”, about growing up and losing your precious youth recalls the classic silent films “From the Earth to the Moon” shot by shot with the young couple being marooned on the moon with aliens as the husband kills the aliens with his umbrella, meanwhile they fall into the sea and are greeted by Poseidon and his mermaids. Meanwhile, Billy Corgan and his band sing atop clouds like angelic ghosts. “Tonight, Tonight” is their best video and an ode to classic silent films with a bittersweet but memorable song.
The best made music videos, The best songs, the coolest of the cream of the crop. Music videos are a tool, a tool that can be used to improve a song, and many times it doesn’t help matters for the artist. These are videos so chaotic, so beautiful, so cool, so original, so conceptual, and so innovative. This is the best of the best.