My Sister Bina (AKA Katrin) suggested this post following on from the relatively recent Movie Alphabetti Spaghetti one. The premise is the same - to name the ’best’ music video for each letter of the alphabet. Some letters seemingly don’t have much competition, others leave you with very difficult choices. When presented with a variety of strong candidates, I always tried to pick the one I considered the most imaginative and creative.
It is totally not intended that certain artists feature again and again in the selected pick - like with the movies, not always their strongest work gets picked, merely that which is perceived to be strongest for that particular letter of the alphabet.
If the first word letter fits, you could conceivably fill all the slots with the same artist - they would of course need to be somewhat prolific and incredibly imaginative.
I was expecting some Michael Jackson, some Björk and some OK Go - for obvious reasons, not necessarily so much Kanye or The White Stripes but a great Video is a great Video and the director is often key to realising and executing the original clever vision - so I place no limit on number of videos featured by same artist or director.
Anyway - Enjoy! and make your own list!
NOTE - ALTERNATIVES are listed alphabetically by song title.
NOTE ALSO - Some of these videos may be NSFW so Viewer Discretion is Advised!
Not so much choice here. and 7 Nation Army is indubitably classic in every way.
ALTERNATIVES : 10 A.M. Automatic - The Black Keys | 16 Military Wives - The Decemeberists | 19-2000 - Gorillaz | 99 Problems - Jay Z
This one was really between Björk's All is Full of Love and the one I selected - the dancer in me wants Daft Punk!
ALTERNATIVES : All is Full of Love - Björk | All The Small Things - Blink 182 | American Jesus - Bad Religion | Anaconda - Nick Minaj | Ankle Injuries - Fujiya & Miyagi | Another Brick in the Wall - Pink Floyd | Are You Gonna Go My Way - Lenny Kravitz | Army of Me - Björk | Ashes to Ashes - David Bowie | At the Bottom of Everything - Bright Eyes
There were numerous options for B - both Björk and Michael Jackson, but something in me really responds to this amazing cinéma-vérité production. Far from M.I.A.'s strongest song, but the video is a real eye opener.
ALTERNATIVES : Baby One More Time - Britney Spears | Bachelorette - Björk | Bad Romance - Lady Gaga | Bangarang - Skrillex ft. Sirah | Basket Case - Green Day | Beat It - Michael Jackson | Beautiful - Christina Aguilera | Beautiful Day - U2 | Big Me - Foo Fighters | Big Time Sensuality - Björk | Billie Jean - Michael Jackson | Bitter Sweet Symphony - The Verve | Black or White - Michael Jackson | Blinded By Lights - The Streets | Blurred Lines - Robin Thicke ft. T.I. & Pharrell Williams | B.O.B - OutKast | Breath Me - Sia | Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen | Buddy Holly - Wheezer | Burn The Witch - Radiohead | Burning Down The House - Talking Heads
Here I was torn between Rob Dougan's Clubbed to Death and this one - the combination of Sia Furler plus Maddie Ziegler and that wonderful quirky choreography wins it for me every time.
ALTERNATIVES : California Girls - Katy Perry | Californication - Red Hot Chili Peppers | Chained to the Rhythm - Katy Perry | (The) Child - Alex Gopher | Chocolate - Jesse & Joy | Clint Eastwood - Gorillaz | | Closer - Nine Inch Nails | Clubbed to Death - Rob Dougan | Cocoon - Björk | Coffe + TV - Blur | Come On My Selector - Squarepusher | Come to Daddy - Aphex Twin | Come Together - Spiritualized | Crazy - Gnarls Barkley | Criminal - Fiona Apple | Cry - Godley and Creme | Cryin' - Aerosmith
A super simple idea, but one which so quickly becomes worryingly creepy - not sure if it's just the people, or if there is also some video editing trickery going on here - this is a masterclass in a simple clever idea executed brilliantly.
ALTERNATIVES : Da Funk - Daft Punk | Dancing in the Dark - Bruce Springsteen | Dare - Gorillaz | Dark Horse - Katy Perry | Declare Independence - Björk | (The) Denial Twist - The White Stripes | Devil's Haircut - Beck | Diamond - Rihanna | Dig Lazarus Dig - Nick Cave | Dirrty - Christina Aguilera | Dirty Boots - Sonic Youth | Dirty Harry - Gorillaz | Do You Realize - The Flaming Lips | Don't Come Around Here No More - Tom Petty | Doo Wop (That Thing) - Lauryn Hill | DoYaThing - Gorillaz | Drive - The Cars | Drop - The Pharcyde
This time Sia and Maddie up the stakes further by adding in an equally emotive Shia LaBeouf. It loses some of the playfulness of 'Chandelier' but gains in emotional clout. Here the two Gotye videos were the nearest competitors for me, I also really like 'Evil Boy', and know many are fond of 'Everlong'.
ALTERNATIVES : Earth Song - Michael Jackson | Easy Way Out - Gotye | Elektrobank - The Chemical Brothers | End Love - OK Go | Everlong - Foo Fighters | Everybody Hurts - R.E.M. | Everything is Everything - Lauryn Hill | Evil Boy - Die Antwoord | Express Yourself - Madonna | Eyes Wide Open - Gotye
Russian 'Hardcore Henry' Director Ilya Naishuller doing what he does best - yes, it's a little violent, but in the usual glossy Hollywood manner, and Ilya has all the best angles. Real virtuoso kinetic movie making! Easily my favourite video of recent times. My second choice here would be The Avalanches' Frontier Psychiatrist, and I also really like Beyoncé's Formation - White Stripe's Lego stop-motion animation for 'Fell in Love with a Girl is of course inspired!
ALTERNATIVES : Fake Plastic Trees - Radiohead | Famous - Kanye West | Fancy - Iggy Azalea ft. Charli XCX | Feel Good Inc - Gorillaz | Fell in Love with a Girl - The White Stripes | Fit But You Know It - The Streets | Fireworks - Katy Perry | Flashing Lights - Kanye West | Flesh without Blood - Grimes | Float On - Modest Mouse | Formation - Beyoncé | Free Your Mind - En Vogue | Freedom - George Michael | Frontier Psychiatrist - The Avalanches | Frozen - Madonna
This video is a sign of Lykke Li announcing her step up to serious mature artist candidacy - with a more edgy sound, and suitably moody monochramatic visuals to properly underline the tone. Not sure why I like this video as much I do, but it seems to really match the mood of the music and enhance its delievery.
ALTERNATIVES : Gangnam Style - Psy | Genesis - Grimes | Get Back - Ludacris | Get Ur Freak On - Missy Elliott | Ghost - Michael Jackson | Gin & Juice - Snoop Dog | Girls Just Wanna Have Fun - Cyndi Lauper | Girls on Film - Duran Duran | Good Stuff - Kelis | Got Your Money - Ol' Dirty Bastard
Michel Gondry showing everyone how stop-motion filming is done - using multiple sets of drums and amps - just consider how long all this would have taken to set up and film! Amazing that someone would not just have the vision for this, but to carry it through in this way - simply awesome! This was vying right up to the wire with Pharrell's 24 hour version of 'Happy' which is an equally amazing achievement. I guess depending on the day I could have gone either way...
ALTERNATIVES : Happiness - Goldfrapp | Happy - Pharrell Williams | Headache - Frank Black | Heard 'Em Say - Kanye West | Hearts A Mess - Gotye | Hello Again - The Cars | Here It Goes Again - OK Go | Hey Ya! - OutKast | High & Dry - Radiohead | Hold It Against Me - Britney Spears | Hold On - En Vogue | House of Cards - Radiohead | How to Disappear Completely - Radiohead | Hyperballad - Björk | Human Behaviour - Björk | Hungry Like A Wolf - Duran Duran | Hurt - Johnny Cash
Talk Talk were a significant band for me in my teenage years, and it was all sparked from seeing this video which cleverly matched up animal footage to mirror the animal sounds to the actual song proper. I loved catching this song on MTV and it always has a somewhat uplifting impact on me. There are of course thousands of pop tunes set to live animal footage, but none seem to work quite so well as this one.
ALTERNATIVES : I Believe in a Thing Called Love - The Darkness | I Fink U Freeky - Die Antwoord | I Want to Break Free - Queen | I Won't Let You Down - OK Go | I f I Had a Heart - Fever Ray | In Da Club - 50 Cent | Intergalactic - Beastie Boys | Ironic - Alanis Morisette | Isobel - Björk | It Was a Good Day - Ice Cube | It's Oh So Quiet - Björk
Not all of Madonna's videos are consistently great, but this one totally captured this spirit of the song with just enough kink to keep it fully mainstream. Was thought raunchy at the time, but seems fairly tame nowadays!
ALTERNATIVES : Jesus Walks (V1) - Kanye West | Jump - Madonna | Just - Radiohead | Just Lose It - Eminem
This is one of a matched pair with 'Little Talks' and part of me toyed with splitting them up, but I love this style of animation / special effects - gives the visuals a lovely quirky edge to make the music sound that much more special.
ALTERNATIVES : Karma Chameleon - Culture Club | Karma Police - Radiohead | Kelly Watch the Stars - Air | Knives Out - Radiohead
Iceland's most popular song in many a year is beautifully served by these stylishly quirky mystical steampunk aesthetics. I always secretly hoped that there would be a more extended series of this style of videos - creating a longer narrative with a happy ending, but that was not to be!
ALTERNATIVES : Laika - Arcade Fire | Learn to Fly - Foo Fighters | Let Forever Be - The Chemical Brothers | Let's Dance - David Bowie | Like a Prayer - Madonna | Like a Rolling Stone (Interactive) - Bob Dylan | Locked Out of Heaven - Bruno Mars | Loser - Beck | Losing My Religion - R.E.M. | Lotus Flower - Radiohead | Love Is A Battlefield - Pat Benatar
Kanye is an artist you don't always credit with proper art in the video department, but he really applies himself and makes some truly arresting and interesting visuals. This is not a masterpiece like Runaway or Power, but it still serves the song incredibly well. With the usual amount of controversy in tow...
ALTERNATIVES : Material Girl - Madonna | Mo Money Mo Problems - The Notorious B.I.G ft. Puff Daddy & Mase | Money For Nothing - Dire Straits | Mr Brightside - The Killers | Mutual Core - Björk | My Doorbell - The White Stripes | My Name Is - Eminem
'Funeral' is one of my favourite albums of all time, and there are a core 5/6 tracks which really won me over, including this one. I love the style of animation, and how it punctuates the rhythm with tiny effects. There were some really cool videos accompanying most of the album, yet this one for whatever reason is the one that is most memorable to me - I really like the Laika one too.
ALTERNATIVES : Needing/Getting - OK Go | Never Catch Me - Flying Lotus | No Rain - Blind Melon | No Surprises - Radiohead | Nothing Compares 2 Y - Sinead O'Connor | November Rain - Guns 'N Roses | Nuthin' But a 'G' Thang - Dr Dre
OK Go have done so many amazing videos, this is not really necessarily their best one, but deserves to top this category. I quite like On Melancholy Hill too.
ALTERNATIVES : Oblivion - Grimes | On Melancholy Hill - The Gorillaz | One More Time - Daft Punk | Oops!... I Did It Again - Britney Spears | Out of the Black - Royal Blood | Outside - George Michael | Outtasight (Outta Mind) - Wilco | Óveður - Sigur Rós
Kanye finds a video style to match the epic tone of the lead single of his best album to date. I'm not always onside with Kanye, but this is truly epic, majestic even. I could equally have gone for Björk's Pagan Poetry in this category.
ALTERNATIVES : Pagan Poetry - Björk | Paparazzi - Lady Gaga | Paranoid Android - Radiohead | Parklife - Blur | Pendulum - FKA Twigs | Penny Lane - The Beatles | Physical - Olivia Newton John | (The) Power of Love - Frankie Goes to Hollywood | Praise You - Fatboy Slim | Protection - Massive Attack | Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See - Busta Rhymes | Pyramid Song - Radiohead
Not much competition in this category - it's either this more moody monochromatic affair from Scottish rockers Garbage / Shirley Manson or else a more sunny / sunset-y even technicolor effort from La Roux - Quicksand. Always a mood thing for me, and I'm currently leaning more towards the monochromatic.
Bizarrely this is Kanye's third entry into my winners list, and his best one yet - a proper full production values mini movie to promote his best album 'My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy'. Only Beyoncé has really gone one better with an entire album of interconnected videos, but this was the forerunner.
ALTERNATIVES : Rabbit in Your Headlights - Unkle | (The) Rain (Supa Dupa Fly) - Missy Elliott | | Ray of Light - Madonna | Ready or Not - The Fugees | (The) Real Slim Shady - Eminem | Reflektor - Arcade Fire | Relax - Frankie Goes to Hollywood | Remember The Time - Michael Jackson | Remind Me - Royksopp | Rio - Duran Duran | Roar - Katy Perry | Rock Me Amadeus - Falco | Roller Coaster - Red Hot Chili Peppers
One of Director Jonas Akerlund's finest moments as he flips the script on supposed misogyny - with one of the best video twist ending of all time - NOTE - very NSFW! And for persons of 18 years and above only please. Obvious alternative selection for this slot is 80's stop-motion classic 'Sledgehammer' by Peter Gabriel.
ALTERNATIVES : Sabotage - Beastie Boys | Saturn Barz - Gorillaz | Save a Prayer - Duran Duran | Say You'll Be There - Spice Girls | Scenario - Tribe Called Quest | (The) Scientist - Coldplay | Scream - Michael & Janet Jackson | See Fernando - Jenny Lewis | Self Control - Laura Branigan | Shake it Off - Taylor Swift | Single Ladies - Beyoncé | Sinkin’ Soon - Norah Jones | Sky's The Limit - The Notorious B.I.G. | Slave 4 U - Britney Spears | Slave to the Rhythm - Grace Jones | Sledgehammer - Peter Gabriel | Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana | Smooth Criminal - Michael Jackson | Someday - The Strokes | Somebody That I Used to Know - Gotye | Sorry - Justin Bieber | Space Oddity - David Bowie | Stan - Eminem | Stand and Deliver - Adam Ant | (The) Stars Are Out Tonight - David Bowie | Stonemilker - Björk | Straight Up - Paula Abdul | Strawberry Swing - Coldplay | Strict Machine - Goldfrapp | (The) Suburbs - Arcade Fire | Sugar Water - Cibo Matto | Sweet Dreams - Euryhtmics | Systemagic - Goldfrapp
This is one that there was never any doubt about - one of the most perfectly executed music video of all time - it has choreography, some mild shocks and plenty of twists. This remains the most perfect example of what the potential of this genre is - truly groundbreaking at its time of release, still special today!
ALTERNATIVES : Take Me Out - Franz Ferdinand | Take On Me - A-ha | Telephone - Lady Gaga | They Don't Care About Us - Michael Jackson | This is Hardcore - Pulp | This Too Shall Pass - OK Go | Thrift Shop - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis ft. Wanz | Tonight, Tonight - The Smashing Pumpkins | Toxic - Britney Spears | Train - Goldfrapp | Triumph of a Heart - Björk | True Faith - New Order | Turn Down for What - Dj Snake & Lil John | Twist - Goldfrapp | Two Tribes - Frankie Goes to Hollywood
Die Antwoord have a totally unique style - there is nothing out there quite like them - their Ugly/Beautiful aesthetic - particularly how Yolandi Vi$$er plays up to ideas of conventional beauty. From their earliest days they've had their own look and sound, and they've not bowed to pressure from anyone - still rocking their own thing - you've got to love them for that.
ALTERNATIVES : U Can't Touch This - MC Hammer | Umbrella - Rihanna | Up & Up - Coldplay | Uptown Funk - Mark Ronson ft Bruno Mars
Another really smart video based on a brilliant execution of a rather simply concept - have the room move around the artist - achieved with a sufficiently large soundstage and placing the entire enclosure on castors! Kind of simple when you know how - these cats were first though - really suits Jamiroquai's free-flowing moves.
ALTERNATIVES : Victory - Puff Daddy | Video Killed The Radio Star - Buggles | Vogue - Madonna
One of my favourite Björk songs accompanied by probably my favourite video of hers. The song is a grower - you need to stick with it a while! No one can argue about the fantastic aesthetics of the stop-motion animation though - totally inspired, and so perfect for the music - the way they capture the flow of water is particularly impressive.
ALTERNATIVES : Walk This Way - Run D.M.C. ft. Aerosmith | (The) Wand - The Flaming Lips | Wannabe - Spice Girls | Water Me - FKA Twigs | Waterfalls - TLC | We Found Love - Rihanna ft. Calvin Harris | Weapon of Choice - Fatboy Slim | Welcome to the Pleasure Dome - Frankie Goes to Hollywood | What You Waiting For - Gwen Stefani | What’s a Girl to Do - Bat for Lashes | What's My Age Again? - Blink 182 | When Doves Cry - Prince | Who is it? - Björk | Why Do You Let Me Stay Here? - She & Him | Wicked Game - Chris Isaak | Wild Boys - Duran Duran | Windowlicker - Aphex Twin | Wishes - Beach House | Work It - Missy Elliott | Wrecking Ball - Miley Cyrus | (The) Writing's on the Wall = OK Go | WTF - OK Go
I have a soft spot for this cheesy movie - it's mostly about ELO and Olivia Netwon John - sure the film could do with a million improvements, the soundtrack is certainly not one of them - and there are some interesting parts to be found within this - including any scene featuring Olivia on roller-skates! This is the one and only X - I could not think of any other obvious alternatives?
I was unable to find a fully separated track animation, so will make do with the sort of extended trailer for the full movie. Wonderful psychedelic animation - ahead of its time back in the day - seems to veer a little between Monty Python and self parody when viewed contemporaneously. Pretty groovy though if not a wee bit twee!
ALTERNATIVES : Yankee Rose - David Lee Roth | You Can’t Tell Me Nothing (Alternate Version) - Kanye West | You Gotta Fight for Your Right to Party - Beastie Boys | You Might Think - The Cars
Another and final category that has few options - 'Zero' by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs was the only decent thing I could find for 'Z' - can anyone suggest better?