25. Radiohead – “Knives Out” (D: Michel Gondry)
Much of Radiohead’s latter-day music is perfect for soundtracking the kind of twisted, surrealist dreamscapes Gondry loves to explore, and “Knives Out”—which comes to life here with a full-size human version of the board game Operation—works perfectly.
24. The Black Keys – “10 A.M. Automatic”
(D: David Cross)
In this video directed by comedian David Cross, The Black Keys perform on a Hasidic Jew-hosted public-access TV show in front of an at-first-disinterested geriatric crowd. Hilarity ensues when slow-moving grannies rush the stage and are tackled by security.
23. The Raconteurs – “Steady as She Goes” (Version 2)
(D: The Malloys)
You’ve probably noticed by now the slew of videos on this list by Jack White-related projects. This is no accident. Collectively, White and the directors he’s worked with—Michel Gondry, The Malloys, Diane Martel, et al—have made more innovative, enjoyable and thought-provoking videos than anyone else this decade: For example, this campy but brilliant tribute to soapbox derbys and old-time movie villains.
22. Mastodon – “Divinations”
The most accessible metal band since Metallica’s best video, “Divinations” features Viking weapons, bondage, implied human sacrifice, guitars that shoot lightning and a magical yeti. And then the band is eaten by an unfrozen cavemen. In a word: Awesome.
21. Missy Elliott – “Get Ur Freak On”
(D: Dave Meyers)
From the moment that funky little hook kicks in, Missy’s kung fu is good. And the elaborate, spider-web-and-hanging-moss-shrouded set is the perfect backdrop for her army of seemingly possessed dancers. Featuring cameos from a who’s who of the last two decades of hip-hop, including Nate Dogg, Ludacris, Busta Rhymes, Spliff Star, Eve, Master P, Romeo, Timbaland, Ja Rule and LL Cool J.