So it turns out the editor-in-chief of this here publication has created an “Essentially A Playlist” YouTube account with videos to accompany my selections for recent entries in the series. With that in mind, I’ve decided to go all “meta” with this particular EAP and choose my entries specifically because of their videos on Youtube — granted, it’s not some greatest hits package but I guarantee you’ll enjoy these videos for both the visual and the auditory component.
a-ha — “Take On Me” [from Hunting High And Low]
What self-respecting list of videos wouldn’t include the granddaddy of all music videos (back when they were viewed on a television channel dedicated to music videos — you kids might not remember such a time)? The Norwegian pop group a-ha foreshadowed Who Framed Roger Rabbit’s merging of live action and animation while aping Speed Racer and other cartoons in this fantastic video.
Bjork — “Human Behaviour” [from Debut]
Not really a granddaddy of music videos — Michel Gondry is more like a cool older brother. While his first work as a music video director was for his own little known group Oui Oui, the video that launched an incredible career was his first collaboration with Icelander Bjork (they’ve gone on to make six more videos together) and it was the perfect marriage of director and artist.
Weezer – “Buddy Holly” [from Weezer (Blue Album)]
At this point he’s better known for movies like Where The Wild Things Are, but Spike Jonze has made some pretty incredible videos in his day — most memorably his work for Fatboy Slim. Weezer tapped Jonze to do two videos from their first record, including this homage to Happy Days. It’s a pretty enjoyable video but ultimately I included it so I could make mention of a man named James Burns and his campaign to pay Weezer $10 million to break up. Seriously. You can read about it here: http://www.thepoint.com/campaigns/campaign-0-1079
OK Go – “White Knuckles” [from Of The Blue Colour Of The Sky]
OK Go have made quite a name for themselves with the inventive videos to accompany their pop-rock ditties (and to be honest not all the song are winners, but the videos are always worth a view or two). From their first efforts at choreography on “A Million Ways” to their Rube Goldberg machine in “This Too Shall Pass,” the band have continually sought ways to outdo their prior efforts. I chose “White Knuckles” because the band has now incorporated dogs into their choreography, and who can’t get behind that?
Hollerado – “Americanarama” [from Record In A Bag]
Taking a page from OK Go’s playbook, Ottawa band Hollerado recently released this excellently choreographed video with a cast of 24 folks providing “human 8-bit” animation. Solid idea + great execution = hit viral video!
Kutiman – “Mother Of All Funk Chords” [from Thru-You (http://thru-you.com)]
This one blows my mind every time I watch it. Israeli producer/artist Kutiman actually remixed YouTube for his Thru-You project, taking bits of other people’s uploads and piecing together something entirely new and amazing.
Teen Daze – “Shine On, You Crazy White Cap” [from Four More Years]
Here’s an artist I’m completely captivated by right now who has married a stuttering pastiche of old home video to one of the best pieces of chillwave recorded in this emerging genre.
The Avalanches – “Frontier Psychiatrist” [from Since I Left You]
Speaking of pastiches, The Avalanches entire debut album was made of samples (a mind boggling 3,500-plus). For the video to “Frontier Psychiatrist” those samples are each acted out in a bizarre stage show.
The Acorn – “Crooked Legs” [from Glory Hope Mountain]
A beautiful song (from an altogether beautiful album) with a charming video that shows the band driving across our country while light bulb fireflies and paper ravens follow in hot pursuit. It’s one of those dusk-time hallucinations you might have when you’ve been driving across the prairies too long made real.
Elliott Brood – “Second Son” [from Ambassador]
One of the last videos I actually watched on television was this number from Elliott Brood’s 2005 album Ambassador, which I caught on Much Music’s The Wedge one late night. An artist by the name of Aaron White created this animated western/ghost story for the band.