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Aug. 1, 1981 was an important day in the history of music: the day when MTV officially launched in the United States. From then on, popular music was constantly associated with the artistic imagery that accompanied it. For those who don’t know, the first video to ever air on MTV was The Buggles’ “Video Killed the Radio Star.”
Since then, music videos have come a long way. In today’s society, MTV is no longer strongly associated with streaming music videos. Instead, music videos are more commonly streamed on the Internet via social video-sharing sites.
The nature of music videos is also much different than it used to be. Music videos are now easier to make than ever before and are made by bands of all musical genres. Therefore, there is a lot more variety in the music videos being released today. Some of these videos are violent, some are sexual, some are artistically beautiful and then there are some music videos that are just flat-out weird.
Nevertheless, music videos are a one-of-a-kind art form. Here at ACRN there are many music videos that entice us, and listed below are some of our personal favorites.
"Minority" - Green Day
Green Day is the band that inspired me to pick up the electric guitar and develop an unhealthy, yet contagious infatuation with other punk key-players such as The Ramones and Social Distortion. This video brings back the old punk-rock vibe of "We're misfits and proud." It begins with a gritty, yet lavish parade of outcasts invading the city streets and ends with Billie Joe and Company's playful destruction of their parade float. Nothing screams "Great music video" when not only the song and concept is brilliant, but also when the lead singer manages to create a superhero cape with the wreckage of his band's angsty aftermath.
-Capri Ciulla, Staff Writer
"Sledgehammer" - Peter Gabriel
Leave it to the man who wore dresses and foxes' heads onstage to get this innovator. In "Sledgehammer," the former lead singer of Genesis is hit by bumper cars, lets fish swim through his head and builds a town on top of his face...in stop motion...in an era before computers. Oh, and it has breakdancing grocery chickens. Enough said. It's actually irrelevant that no instruments are shown in the clip--with eye candy like this, who needs music?
-Colin Roose, Staff Writer
"Holocene" - Bon Iver
Though only a fairly recent release, Justin Vernon’s falsetto carries me away to far-off lands in “Holocene.” The video is whimsical yet heavy; it portrays expanses of the most glorious parts of earth through the eyes of a curious and adventurous young boy. Watching his journey through majestic valleys and regal ice floes piques my growing wanderlust and further reminds me how miniscule I truly am compared to the vastness of the world. Combining gasp-worthy landscape views with the innocence and wonder of childhood, this music video embodies my favorite lyric within the song itself: ”At once I knew I was not magnificent.”
-Brooke Bunce, Contributor
"A Little Less Sixteen Candles, a Little More Touch Me" - Fall Out Boy
This video came out a few years before the "Twilight" and other vampire novels craze came about, but seeing it now could be like a teenage girl's dream come true. What I like most about the video is the story that goes along with it. The whole band works as strategic vampire slayers, battling (of course) vampires so they don't take over their town. Kind of like "Supernatural," but a bit more badass. And of course, like in any fangirl's wet dream, Pete Wentz is the vampire that stays loyal to his group. Oh, how the girls would love to be bitten by him.
I also like how normal people can be portrayed as vampires, not just aristocrats such as in the "Twilight" series. And the cameos of members of Decaydance bands The Academy Is..., Gym Class Heroes and Panic! At the Disco make it a compilation much like the video for "Snakes on a Plane." The action scenes are a bit corny and the acting leaves something to be desired, but as a whole, everything flows together well like a cult-horror film classic.
-Kyle Rutherford, Staff Writer
"Sabotage" - Beastie Boys
"Sabotage" is a tribute to the classic cop shows of the 1970s--the type of cop shows that weren't about putting on sunglasses and one-liners, but about grooming your (definitely real) 1970s cop mustache and pounding the pavement in pursuit of punks. The cutting-edge special effects, like the blond criminal getting thrown off a bridge and the exploding car, are so uncool and badly done that they secretly become the best special effects ever.
The best part is that none of the video relates to the song at all. Just like all of the best music videos.
-Travis Boswell, Staff Writer
"Little Motel" - Modest Mouse
Whenever I watch Modest Mouse’s video for “Little Motel,” there can be absolutely no distractions. The first time I watched the nearly five-minute clip, I turned into a complete emotional wreck. When I watched it today, it had the same effect on me. Shot in reverse, you witness a mother and young boy traveling together through the city, but something appears off. As the video works backwards toward the beginning of the story, it becomes more and more apparent that what you don’t want to be happening is happening, and when you reach the end, it hits you like a truck. If you can make it through this one and not feel something, you’re either an insanely strong person or devoid of all human emotion.
-Chris Dobstaff, News Editor
"Cornerstone" - Arctic Monkeys
“Cornerstone” by the Arctic Monkeys is everything a music video shouldn’t be. It has no plot, no message, no camera tricks and no special effects. All it does have is three-and-a-half minutes of lead singer Alex Turner stoically singing into a retro recording set in front of a white backdrop, occasionally indulging in some genius choreography, which consists of standing still, pacing back and forth, spelling out the word “No” with his finger and an awkward pirouette.
The best part is the instrumental bridge, when Turner apparently runs out of ideas of what to do with himself and stares blankly into the camera for 15 seconds. The sheer lack of effort that went into making the one-note, one-shot and one-dimensional video is what makes it so great.
It’s a resounding representation of the Arctic Monkeys’ core virtues and signature talents: subtle humor, irreverent aloofness, inability to take themselves seriously and utter refusal to do anything the way they should. It is purely ridiculous and perfectly them.
-Haylee Pearl, Staff Writer
"Tonight Tonight" - Smashing Pumpkins
The music videos of the ‘90s are something to behold. With the cheese-tacular special effects of the ‘80s a distant memory, bands in the ‘90s took things to the next level. A great example of this (necessary) evolution is “Tonight Tonight” by Smashing Pumpkins. Based on the 1902 film "A Trip to the Moon," the video utilizes the same primitive costumes and backdrops set to a fantastic soundtrack. Like the film, a couple boards a rocket ship bound for the moon, encountering mischievous space demons and later, beautiful mermaids under the sea. As we follow our heroes on their magical journey, Billy Corgan and Company serenade us from the heavens.
This video perfectly encompasses the whimsy and wonder of both the original film and the song itself. Georges Melies’ classic sci-fi masterpiece couples so well with the Mellon Collie track. It’s like it was meant to be.
-Sam Boyer, Staff Writer
"Windowlicker" - Aphex Twin
I almost never watch music videos because they bore the shit out of me, but this one holds a special place in my heart. Even though I was too young to fully appreciate Aphex Twin's music at first, he instilled in me a love for electronic music that would grow and blossom in my coming years.
-Ross Lockhart, Staff Writer
"Weapon of Choice" - Fatboy Slim
Videos rarely get more random than this. It's anyone's guess as to why Fatboy Slim asked Christopher Walken to appear in one of their videos, but once the clip was released, people went understandably crazy (or just shook their heads at their TV screen) -- Walken's got moves! Filmed in the Los Angeles' Marriott, the video went on to win multiple accolades, including a Grammy for Best Short Form Video.
-Kevin Rutherford, Staff Writer
"All Against All" - The Haunted
It's no secret that I'm a huge metalhead, and for me, this music video is everything that heavy metal should be. The Haunted is surrounded by hordes of possessed fans, yet they continue to mosh, headbang and jam out to one of the most aggressive Swedish thrash-metal songs of all time. Peter Dolving, the lead vocalist of the band, drives the video forward with his intense stage presence alongside his hardcore punk influenced howling. This is one of the most brutal heavy metal videos ever created, and the climactic ending leaves viewers with a sinister grin on their faces.
-Justin Silk, Staff Writer
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