I decided to make a list of my favorite videos of the aughts (2000-2009). I say “best” in the title because of my impeccable taste. Certainly it’s up for debate, but you’ll lose. And yes, it’s animation heavy. Deal with it. I pulled videos from wherever I could, apologies for any quality issues. And please, if any of these get pulled, email me. And no, Beyoncé is not on here.
10. – TIE) Architecture in Helsinki – Do The Whirlwind by Isobel Knowles
Impossibly catchy beat + 16-bit sprite animation = Love. How great is the dance they all do during the Tunnel of Love sequence (around 1:35)?
10. – TIE) Junior Senior – Move Your Feet by Shynola
Senior is a big, gay denim queen. Junior is a small, young, Falsetto. Together they are Junior Senior and they’re awesome. Their video for Move Your Feet is in the same vein as Architecture’s, so they’re sharing the 10 spot. It was an oversight on my part, and this is definitely one of my favorite songs of the 2000s and the video is a great throwback to early PC game animation. What’s not to love?
09.) The Crystal Method – Name of the Game by Marcos Siega
Because Tom Morello is on guitars. Because it’s featured in Blade II in a kick ass scene. Because it features breaking. But mostly because Nosey is a badass motherf—er.
08.) The Postal Service – Such Great Heights by Josh and Xander
I have a technology fetish that shows up at least twice on this list. I love the shots of chip manufacturing in this video edited to the beat contrasted with the longing looks between two bunny-suited (not like Donnie Darko or A Christmas Story, but like the Intel guys) workers. One of the best pop songs of the last 10 years and I can’t believe that this band takes a back suit to Death Cab for Cutie. Ben Gibbard, re-prioritize. Dntel needs you.
07.) The Strokes – You Only Live Once by Warren Fu
Warren Fu was an art director on the Star Wars Prequels at ILM before making this video, and I think it shows. Not only is it beautifully shot, it wears it’s 2001 homage on it’s sleeve. This video was an ALTERNATE to another video shot for this song and I can’t believe they went with the other. I would give anything for a large EQ display like the round one in this video with the 4 audio tracks on it (at 2:36). Thing is AWESOME.
I have to include another Strokes video on here because Tron Legacy is coming out this year and I’m beyond excited. You want to talk homages? Check this bad boy:
06.) Muse – Knights of Cydonia by Joseph Kahn
What do you do with a song that starts with an Ennio Moricone-inspired instrumental? Make a spaghetti western, duh. Joseph Kahn does more than that though, making an intentionally horrible B-Movie sci-fi version of the western. And yes, Kate, it has a unicorn. Bonus fact: that intro is the 5 notes from Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
05.) The Faint – Symptom Finger by Jordan Gray
Before you watch, understand that this is fan-made video. And it blows my mind. Take one of my favorite songs of all time and underline the message with beautiful, simple, animated typography. It’s so simple and gorgeous that it makes my graphic design brain melt. IS THIS THE CURE?
04.) Ok Go – A Million Ways to Be Cruel by OK Go and Trish Sie
Sure, the follow-up vid for Here It Goes Again (the one with the treadmills and almost 50 million views on YouTube) is more famous, but this one started it (and at one point it was the most downloaded video in history), and for my money, the choreography is better (done by the lead singer’s sister). Witness the literal dancing (the pose he hits at “what grace, what beauty” cracks me up), the slow-mo fight scene, the precision–it’s brilliance. And all with a crappy camera in the backyard. Oh, and bonus points for the ability to reproduce this at your wedding. I’m not kidding. It is AWESOME (the crowd goes eats it up, you have to watch). Oh, and the band went back to their music video roots for this year’s This Too Shall Pass (which is, of course, genius). OK Go: America’s Best Dance Crew?
03.) Justice – DVNO by So-Me, Yorgo Tloupas and Machine Molle
The video is a trip through remixed logos of ’80s-era television, changed to match the lyrics of the song and animated perfectly. To a graphic designer born in 1979 this video is pure crack.
Bonus vid- some of the logos referenced in the video:
02.) Daft Punk – One More Time by Kazuhisa Takenouchi
Yo, sorry Kanye West, I’ma let you finish, but Interstella 5555 is the greatest collaboration of French Electronica and Japanese Anime of all time. OF ALL TIME. West’s “Stronger” might have tried to rip off Akira and blend it with Daft Punk’s genius, but they’d already gone that route and made AN ENTIRE F–KING anime. It launches with One More Time and this one video left me rabid for the entire movie which finally made it’s way to DVD a couple years after this music video dropped.
Bonus vid from Interstella 5555 because it’s such a jam. The pilot, Shep, that followed the band to Earth is mortally wounded in the rescue attempt and the band pays their respects as he dies, in love with the hot-ass bassist and revealing the band’s true identity (blue aliens) to them. It’s not as weird as it sounds.
01.) Gorillaz – Clint Eastwood by Jaime Hewlett and Pete Candeland
Back when I was in college, MTV actually showed music videos. And you couldn’t find them online! Shocking! I saw this video and stayed up the rest of the night just so I could see it again. Since that time, the Gorillaz have gone from one-hit wonder contenders to world-wide superstars. Blur frontman Damon Albarn wanted a way he could make music and still stay behind the scenes, so he teamed up with his buddy (and absolute genius illustrator) Jaime Hewlett to create the Gorillaz, a virtual band. With the help of super-producer Dan the Automator and guest star Del Tha Funkee Homosapien, 2-D, Murdoc, Noodle (BTW, she’s a girl), and Russ were born.
Though the production team and guest stars have changed, Damon and Jaime have remained committed to the vision and continue to push the band forward. The video for El Mañana from their sophomore album Demon Days shows the growth both musically and artistically. In this clip, Noodle’s idyllic floating island that we saw in Feel Good Inc. is brutally attacked and destroyed and Noodle’s fate left in question.
Secret Machines – Lightning Blue Eyes by Patrick Daughters
Secret Machines (sometimes with a “The” sometimes not) are one of my favorite bands. I love the super long takes, the black and white (yeah, Beyoncé, someone else did THAT first too), the audio fading in and out as the camera moves around the venue. The second I saw this video I had to have the song and I immediately wanted to watch the video again. Isn’t that the point of music videos?
Kylie Minogue – Welcome to My World by Michel Gondry
Kylie Minogue doesn’t quite bring it with the music in this one, but the video (by music video genius Michel Gondry) is a mind-bender. Every time Kylie competes a circuit walking near these shops reality starts over again, until there are multiple Kylies and multiple by-standers, all trying to co-exist with chaotic results. And Kylie is super cute.
Fatboy Slim – Weapon of Choice by Spike Jonze
BARELY making the 2000 cut-off for the decade is this absolute classic. One of the most famous videos of all time thanks to the always awesome Christopher Walken, and what music video list would be complete with Spike?
If you made it this far, kudos! What am I missing? Keep in mind this really is just my opinion. These videos had to include songs that I truly love, which knocks out some really visually stunning videos, but thems the breaks y’all!