I vividly remember watching “Rockin’ with the Chipmunks”back in the very early nineties where I recall loving the scenes of Alvin dancing along with Michael Jackson to “Beat It” and “Smooth Criminal.” Mostly a cash grab for the fans, “Rockin with the Chipmunks” is a brief history of the novelty group, spliced in with comedy skits and the members singing vintage rock and roll in their modern animation. The animation for the most part is dicey and fuzzy at best, allowing for a hazy series of music videos, but back then if you were a Chipmunks fanatic, you didn’t care.
Dante’s Penance (Music Video) (USA) (2016)
A rap music video showing a man ready to commit murder for a beautiful woman based on the 9 circles of Hell, this video written and directed by Dante Moran who also did the cinematography, editing, casting, was a part of the effects team, etc is a visually interesting but its story feels as though it’s part of something else, something as of yet incomplete. The cast led by Thomas Gunter gives decent performances and the effects look good. It will be interesting to see how it ties into the bigger Penance project.
2008’s “Grindhouse” did not by any means revive the infamous double bill in movie theaters mainly because audiences attention spans are slim to nil. But on the bright side, the massive financial failure did breed a legion of indie and under ground filmmakers who would for many years re-invent the mock grindhouse movie trailer we saw displayed during “Grindhouse.” Subsequent the success of “Machete,” and “Hobo with a Shotgun,” every single filmmaker with a wild imagination are concocting their own mock grindhouse trailer. The Black Keys “Howlin’ for You” can now be seen as an exclusive music video where the group not only touts their fantastic rock song but also tells the tale of Alexa Wollf and her journey for vengeance!
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.