August 1, 1981. Midnight. A brand new channel makes it's debut on cable:
Mtv helped bring music and television together. Even though for the first few days they played the same five videos, they developed a following. Eventually things progressed to the point where artists were creating music videos that told a story. Then, on December 2, 1983... everything about music videos took a huge leap, thanks to Michael Jackson's Thriller. Somehow, this video of epic proportions became a mold for all future music videos... to the point where every hit single had to have an accompanying video.
My dedication to Mtv started when I was a teenager. I watched The Real World, Beavis and Butthead, and Daria all the time. Although I enjoyed those shows, there was very little programming for music videos. Then came Mtv Live, which eventually became Total Request Live.... a program that showcased the top 10 videos every day (as voted by the viewers). Ah, now I get to actual watch videos on the MUSIC channel!!!
All right, I did the history part. Let's move forward with what I intended to blog about!
One random night (I would guess about 2 1/2 years ago), I was flipping channels and came across Mtv Hits, which plays 24 hours of music videos. Yes!!!! I can experience what others did in the early 80's. It is normally the first channel I go to when I turn on my television (and you guys thought it would be a movie channel, didn't you?). With this channel, I have been able to watch all the newest music videos by all of my favorite artists. With this being the end of the year, I would like to showcase what I consider the best music videos of the year. Please note that I said music videos, so the songs are pushed aside (to an extent) for the visual brilliance I have witnessed these past 12 months. *** Be warned that some of these videos are the long versions and/or uncensored***
Here are my ten favorite music videos that debuted in 2010:
30 Seconds to Mars "Hurricane"
I'll admit it... I don't fully understand everything that is going on in the video. I mean, the kinky S&M sex and the violence yes, but the actual story of the video? No. Maybe if I translated the foreign speech (which I believe is French), it could give me some more insight. This is one of those videos that I can compare to a car accident that you drive past.... you just can't look away!! There are aspects of this video that I find myself making fun of (Leto's mullet... thing), but I do appreciate the cinematography and how dark it is (which are the contributing facts that this video made it onto this list).
Eminem featuring Rihanna "Love the Way You Lie"
Speaking from personal experience with domestic violence, this video does a very accurate portrayal of what happens in such a relationship. Moments of love, moments of hate and anger, and back to love again. It's a vicious cycle. I loved the symbolism of the burning house behind Eminem and Rihanna. To me, I saw it as burning away the past of their own experiences with violence by those they loved. If you watch this video and realize that you are living with this kind of relationship, then you either need to make a drastic change or get out of it.
Kanye West "Runaway"
I'm only going to talk about the music video, not the 30+ minute mini film (if you want to watch it, here's the link). Kanye knows how to make a classy video, from formal dining, ballerinas, and the monochromatic color scheme (the green wall/background made everything pop!). It kind of makes me want to attend a formal dinner inside an empty warehouse, LOL. When you accompany the song with the video, you can grasp the emotional turmoil that Kanye is expressing and feel for him. The "Taylor Swift incident" proved beneficial to him, since it helped provide some great material for this album.
Florence + The Machine "Dog Days Are Over"
I first saw this video a week before the Video Music Awards. It was nominated for best rock video. I immediately caught onto the brilliance and uniqueness of the video. Every single color used in this video just popped out in contrast to the white. I was engulfed in the gorgeousness of it! It's a very eclectic video, but I love how it all seems to come together, and not in the oddball, weird kind of way. This artist is one that I listened to other works of hers and realized I knew several other songs. I love how one video opens you to a world of new and familiarity at the same time! :-)
Ke$ha "Take It Off (K$ n' Friends version)"
The first time I watched this video, David Bowie's "Labyrinth" came to mind. It just had that feel to it. Then I read about what inspired Ke$ha to create a second video of this song. Not only did she create the Labyrinth vibe, but also paid tribute to Revenge of the Nerds and Tron (and I saw a little Avatar in there, with all the animal transformations). This video makes me want to attend an underground party like this one. It would be fascinating and you will never know what to expect next!!!
Cee Lo Green "Fuck You"
A 60's styled diner, Doo Wop singers, and the heartbreaking journey of a young boy to man attempting to reach out to a girl that he wants so dearly to be his... what more could you ask for? I loved the Motown flavor of the video and song and how it incorporated into present day. You feel for young Cee Lo and hate the "Heartbreaker" who won't give him the time of day. That is, until she sees the success he made in his life, in which he turns her away. Perfect video for one of the best breakup songs out there!
OK Go "This Too Shall Pass"
I have always been fascinated with Rube Goldberg machines. The way that one simple task sends of a ripple effect of activity is highly impressive. For OK Go to make an entire music video using this machine was ingenious. As you watch the events unfold in front of you, you realize that all of this was filmed in one take. I loved watching the guitar rotate around as spoons hit the glasses, the rainbow colored flags, and the climatic ending, with flying black umbrellas, signage, and splattered paint. It was a successful machine, and you feel as proud as the people who built it when it was over.
Lady Gaga "Alejandro"Ah, Lady Gaga... whom I have dubbed the newest queen of visual stimulation (meat dress, anyone???). Her videos are extremely theatrical and I LOVE it! When coming up with the concept for Alejandro, she wanted to pay homage to her homosexual friends with a "homoerotic military theme." It kind of fit, timing wise, to release this video over the summer, since the "don't ask, don't tell policy has been in the news (and Gaga was one of the public figures to promote the repeal of the policy). This is another representation where a monochromatic color scheme (with the color red) added symbolism to the video: Gaga's lipstick, the heart on the pillow, the nun habit dress, even the fiery orange flames toward the climax of the video. I cannot take my eyes off the video once I start watching it... it draws me in every time.
Katy Perry featuring Snoop Dogg "California Gurls"
Will Cotton is an artistic genius!!! For those not familiar with his work, he creates visual landscapes using pastries, candy, and ice cream. Katy Perry wanted to portray his work in her video, along with representing Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Alice in Wonderland, and the board game Candy Land. I can't help but admit that this is my dream scenario for a heaven full of sweets and ice cream!!! Only Snoop Dogg can pull off a cupcake suit with his pimp walking stick, and I love him for that! When watching the "making of" featurettes, I learned they they threw in a lot of pop culture into the details (like how Tower Records is on the board game (made with pancakes and marshmallow fluff). This video is just full of fun... oh to be a California girl!!!
And, ladies and gentlemen.... my favorite music video this year:
Lady Gaga featuring Beyonce- "Telephone"
First, I have to remind everyone that this music video is a sequel to Lady Gaga's "Paparazzi." One of the first things I loved about this video is where the prison guards strip her down to prove that Lady Gaga is, in fact, a female (when artists poke fun of their own tabloid rumors, I appreciate them a lot more than I did). Then there is the whole random product placement in the video (Diet Coke cans in her hair, Wonder Bread and Miracle Whip in the kitchen of the diner, and the package of Honey Buns). I could be wrong on this, but I see that was Gaga's way of poking fun of how things are marketed in movies/videos. Oh, and the best thing about this video: it hones in on my movie geekness. The video pays tribute to Thelma and Louis, Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill (Hello.... the Pussy Wagon!). What more could I ask for in a music video??? :-)
I cannot wait for 2011. I am ready to see what's in store for music videos, especially since Lady Gaga will have a new album in the Spring (and based on the two videos I have listed, I expect even greater things for her future "mini movies"). I hope you guys enjoyed watching these videos and appreciated why I put these specific ones on my list. I always welcome recommendations of videos I might have missed, so feel free to mention ones that I need to check out.