No Best of 2010 list we publish this December will be as much fun to compile as this Best Music Videos list was. There are compelling and funny stories, imaginative visuals and the labors of much love. The style of video varies as much as the music. Many of these were not among the year’s most popular and weren’t made with the biggest budgets, but the artistry is commendable.
If you have a favorite music video that didn’t make the cut, please add it to the comments section below. All of these should be relatively safe for work except Grinderman and, of course, Cee Lo Green.
Here are the 25 best music videos of 2010:
25. MGMT – “Congratulations”
MGMT’s album was overblown, self-indulgent and strange—all the things that make for a good music video, especially one involving a freakish Duck-dog-o-saurus.
Director: Tom Kuntz
24. Surfer Blood – “Floating Vibes”
Album: Astro Coast
Director: G. Warner
The Florida band goes all-access on this one. All-access cable, that is.
23. Ted Leo & The Pharmacists – “Bottled in Cork”
Album: The Brutalist Bricks
Director: Tom Scharpling
Ted Leo on Broadway? The world needed “a half-assed musical that cheapens what they do and embarrasses everyone involved,” especially when those involved include Paul F. Tompkins, Julie Klausner and John Hodgman.
22. Jeremy Messersmith – “Tatooine”
Album: The Reluctant Graveyard
Director: Eric Power
Paper-cut Star Wars trilogy=awesome.
21. Vampire Weekend – “Giving Up the Gun”
Directors: The Malloys
The strange assortment of characters in this tennis match include RZA, Jenny Murray, Joe Jonas, Jake Gyllenhaal, Daft Punk and Lil John.
20. Gorillaz – “Stylo” (feat. Mos Def and Bobby Womack)
Director: Pete Candeland
A car chase involving the cartoon band in a Camaro and Bruce Willis in a souped-up El Camino? What’s not to love?
19. Coconut Records – “Is This Sound Okay?”
Label: Young Baby
Director: Gia Coppola
Schwartzman, the man behind Coconut Records, has the unfair advantage of being able to enlist his cousin Gia Coppola to direct and friend Kirsten Dunst to star.
18. Hanson – “Thinking ‘Bout Somethin’”
Album: Shout It Out
Director: Todd Edwards
Keep an eye out for Weird Al on tambourine.
17. The Black Keys – “Tighten Up”
Director: Chris Marrs Piliero
Sometimes great music videos tell a story. Sometimes they make you chuckle. This one does both.
16. David Crowder*Band – “SMS [Shine]”
Album: -Church Music
Directors: David Crowder*Band
With a LITE-BRITE board and 700,000 pegs, this self-made video took 2,150 man hours from 83 of the band’s friends.
15. Grinderman – “Heathen Child”
Album: Grinderman II
Director: John Hillcoat
(NSFW) If you were waiting for the video where Nick Cave shoots lasers out of his eyes and farts an atomic blast, it’s here. As a YouTube commenter LoPan99 put it, “Nick Cave has finally lost his fucking mind. May he never find it.”
14. Jónsi – “Go Do”
Directors: Arni & Kinski
Directors Arni & Kinski use light like Jónsi uses sound.
13. Hot Chip – “I Feel Better”
Album: One Life Stand
Director: Peter Serafinowicz
Nick Cave isn’t the only one who’s lost his mind—or who’s shooting lasers out of his eyes. This is the best kind of ridiculous.
12. Yeasayer – “O.N.E.”
Label: Secretly Canadian
Director: Radical Friend
Yeasayer goes sci-fi with the same director of last year’s “Ambling Alp” video. The band’s “Madder Red” video is pretty great, too.
11. Lissie – “Everywhere I Go”
Album: Catching a Tiger
Director: Marcus Soderlund
This video just features Lissie. Oh, and an elephant.