Bjork and Stimpy: The Ten Most Epic Animated Music Videos
Lately, I have had the attention span of a five-year-old who just snorted some pixie sticks. So for me right now, music videos are the ultimate form of storytelling, because it is the only form of storytelling I can somehow make it all the way through. You add animation to the mix, and I am fully engrossed. The fact that I need to have stories told to me in four-minute cartoons for me to enjoy them should give you all some insight into just how f*cked up my brain is right now. Anyway, when the animation fits the tone of the song just right, it pushes both mediums even further. Here are the ten best animated music videos ever. If I leave one out you really love, feel free to post them in the comments.
Radiohead: Paranoid Android
I have always wondered how rude Thom Yorke would be to me in person.
So how do you make a video for a song so complex, it defies all expectation? Well, if you are Radiohead, you do exactly the opposite of what everyone would expect from you. About the video, Yorke has stated: ”When it came time to make the video for that song, we had lots of people saying, ‘Yeah, great, we can have another video like “Street Spirit“, all moody and black and dark. Well, no. We had really good fun doing this song, so the video should make you laugh. I mean, it should be sick, too.” Well, it is funny and it is sick, so they achieved what they desired, per usual.
I will not begin to attempt to explain this video to you, because to do so would only make me sound foolish. I will just post it for you, and let you partake in the revelry contained therein. Also worth noting, director (who was also animator) Magnus Carrlson, who was the creator of the Uk animated series, Robin (which the band loved and inspired them to hire him for this video) refused to let Carrlson hear any of the lyrics when he came up with the concept. So for twelve hours, he locked himself in a room, with the instrumental on repeat, and this is what he came up with:
I love Radiohead, but do NOT allow any art-school Radiohead fans to try to give their “theories” to you about this video. You will be there for three hours, just nodding.
Daft Punk: One More Time
Their badass-robot swagger has been bitten by many DJ’s since.
For those who don’t know, this video is just a small chunk of ”Interstella 55: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem” anime movie that was made to accentuate the whole Daft Punk DISCOVERY album. Thing is, a few of these videos came first, oddly enough. And then they worked backwards at creating the whole thing and making it cohesive (thought they obviously had the vision for the whole thing plotted out in their mind from the get-go) but there is no denying how colorful and quirky this video is, and how wonderfully it goes with the song.
If you are not shaking your ass by the end of this, you must not have an ass to shake.
Man, I wanna party down and go to a concert with blue people in space.
Tool: Prison Sex
TOOL would be the band most likely to have a barbecue during the apocalypse.
Though a good deal of Tool’s videos have been stop-motion-animated by their guitarist (who also worked on Jurassic Park, by the way) Adam Jones, it was the video for Prison Sex that seems to be the most literal, and in many ways, the most effective. The video (and song) are about child abuse, and pulls no punches about the subject, as you can tell from the name. And though the song itself is incredibly chilling, the video, with its use of a tall, shadowy man (long before the “Slenderman”) as the antagonist has just always sat with me.
It is literally a worst fear, realized perfectly. The idea of the perpetrator taking off the victim’s legs and hanging them on the wall so high he can’t reach them and can’t get away is one of the creepiest images I have ever seen, and I have never been able to shake it. Regardless, the video is amazing, even in its grasp of something so horrible.
I have seen horror films that aren’t as haunting and disturbing as this video.
Pearl Jam: Do The Evolution
People who “hate” Pearl Jam, are just people who weren’t lucky enough to see them live in the 90′s, IMHO.
After the staggering success of the Jeremy video off the TEN album, Pearl Jam withdrew from making music videos altogether. They just had no interest in making “commercials” for their music, when they felt their music could speak for itself. And after years of huge success, they proved they were right in that idea. But, at the very end of 90′s, Pearl Jam decided to surprise some people by releasing a music video for their “Do The Evolution” track off of Yield. Funny thing is, the song was not your typical Pearl Jam song (as pop culture knew them, anyway). It was fast and frantic, and had a very punk aesthetic to it.
Oh, and they decided to not be featured in the video at all, and hired Todd McFarlane, of comic book fame, to direct the whole thing. So what we got was a tres cool walk through “evolution”, as seen by the guy who created Spawn. Stuff like that is why Pearl Jam are the last true punk band alive, but that is a discussion for another article.
” I am the first mammal to wear pants” is a line that makes me laugh, every time I hear it.
Bjork: I Miss You
I want to start a Bjork cover band called ” Bjork and Beans”.
All I should have to say here is Bjork and Ren-n-Stimpy creator John Kricfalusi, and you should be foaming at the mouth. Two great tastes that taste great together.
What about this video is NOT awesome? Nothing, that’s what.
The White Stripes: Fell In Love With A Girl
Two people should not be capable of making noise this big, and this awesome.
In some ways, even though the animation seems archaic at times, this is the most impressive video on the list. Why? Because the animation is achieved used Legos. This is one of those music videos that everyone was impressed by when it first came out, because no one had ever seen anything like it before. It was animation, but it was thinking outside of the box, and that is what made it rise above so many other videos.
It may be short, but it is pretty much perfect.
Junior Senior: Don’t Stop
Guess which one is junior, and guess which one is senior?
Much like The White Stripes video mentioned above, this video is on here because of how groundbreaking it was. Instead of using typical animation, or even stop-motion, it uses pixel art, and the end result is f*cking fantastic. It is like you are watching an old school Nintendo game, only this is ten times cooler than any old-school Nintendo game. I am a huge fan of pixel art, and would love to see more of it, actually. This video made me think the trend might catch fire, but sadly, people noticed it, said “cool!” our loud, and then moved on.
The visuals are just so crisp and popping, and there is no stupid dog laughing at you when you miss the ducks.
Beastie Boys: Shadrach
Wise, older Beastie Boys were the best Beastie Boys.
I know I am not alone in feeling like there was a huge void left when Adam Yauch died earlier this year. The man was not only a founding member of one of the greatest groups alive, but from all the organizations he supported (no one in this Country would have been aware of the “Save Tibet” cause were in not for Adam) to how he renounced the misogyny of the older stuff they recorded, he was just an incredible human. But we must also never forgot how much of a pioneer he (and his band mates) were. Watch this video and listen to Paul’s Boutique anytime you need to be reminded of that.
This video used rotoscoping in a way no one had ever seen before, and to this day, is one of the slickest, coolest videos I have ever seen.
This video still blows my mind, twenty-plus-years later.
Gorillaz: Clint Eastwood
How could I do this list and NOT include the only animated band in existence?
I think everything about this band is brilliant. From Jamie Hewlett’s amazing art work, to Damon Albern’s vocals, to the fact they switch up producers and sounds on every record, they are just the epitome of what happens when art and music meet, which was kind of the point to this whole article, actually.
Also, animated zombie gorillas may be the coolest things ever.
Kanye West: Heartless
Pre-Illuminati Kanye had such a light behind his eyes.
Ima let you finish this list, but…..
This video was an homage to the Ralph Bakshi film, American Pop, for those who don’t know.
Side by side comparison.