BuzzFeed has been the foremost Internet beneficiary of ’90s and ’00s nostalgia; they have quite a racket going with all their reminders of pogs and Nickelodeon shows that only seemed great because our brains were still grey mush. Obviously, that excludes Pete and Pete, which was genius and don’t you dare fight me on that.
One of the things I miss the most, though, is music videos. Believe it or not teenagers, there was a time when MTV programming consisted of more than just knocked up high schoolers and Rob Dyrdek.
When the Internet was still in its adolescence, TV was decent place to see your favorite bands. So, in no particular order, here are a handful of my favorite music videos from the last 20 years.
Wax “Southern California”
Wax was a really great band that never got as big as they should have been.
The video is a pretty simple idea executed perfectly by Spike Jonze.
Weezer “Buddy Holly”
Another Spike Jonze classic. Also, fun fact: At the beginning of “Undone (The Sweater Song),” the voices before the first verse are jabs at Wax.
The two bands were contemporaries (hence Jonze directing videos for each) and the members of Wax were certain they were headed for mainstream success.
It didn’t quite happen. Instead, Weezer hit it big, and they felt the need to remind Wax of it. Kind of a dick move.
Foo Fighters “Everlong”
The Colour and the Shape was the first album I ever bought, and I still get goosebumps when I hear this song.
Nostalgia aside, I appreciate that the Foo Fighter have always tried to do something different with their videos. Even without audio, it’s not hard to spot a Foo Fighters video.
I enjoy the surreal dreamscape, and, as a Kids in the Hall fan, I appreciate the band’s willingness to cross dress.
Queens of the Stone Age “Monster in the Parasol”
Speaking of the cross dressing, this might be my favorite example of it in a video. It’s just weird and fun.
QOTSA’s following videos weren’t as quirky or playful (see the “The Lost Art of Keeping a Secret”), which is shame. Josh Homme has a great sense of humor, as evidenced by QOTSA’s cameo at the end of Hot Rod.
Yes, that band was them.
Green Day “When I Come Around”
I’m not quite sure why I enjoy this video so much.
I suppose it has always reminded me of middle school and high school (I was probably listening to a lot of Green Day at the time) when I would walk and skateboard around my suburban community aimlessly with friends.
Rammstein “Du Hast”
I would like to think my affinity for this song stems from my German heritage, but, in reality, it’s probably from watching CKY2K approximately 1,259 times when I was 14.
The video is theatrical and vaguely sinister (kind of like Germany), and I would watch the hell out of a short film based on it.
Semisonic “Closing Time”
Was there any greater one-hit wonder? Possibly, but Semisonic was my favorite. The split perspective of this video made it particularly memorable to me.
Fun fact (that’s two now!): Dan Wilson (lead vocals and guitar) now works as a successful songwriter. How successful? Well, he co-wrote Adele’s “Someone Like You.”
Eagle-Eye Cherry “Save Tonight”
Speaking of one-hit wonders…
I’m a sucker for black and white (Clerks, Ed Wood, The Twilight Zone, etc…), so there’s no way I was going to dislike this video. Eagle-Eye playing every character was just a bonus.
Fun fact (another one!?): He is the son of famed jazz musician Don Cherry.
Fatboy Slim “Weapon of Choice”
Come on, do I really have to say why this video is awesome?
Christopher Walken! Dancing! Christopher Walken dancing!
Beastie Boys “Sabotage”
This is another Spike Jonze video. Much like Foo Fighters videos, I appreciate that the Beastie Boys never really took things too seriously.
I mean, who wouldn’t want a fake ’70s cop mustache?
Jimmy Eat World “The Middle”
As Andy Greenwald notes in his book Nothing Feels Good, this video has a great message. A guy walks into Hollywood’s version of a high school party with classmates clad in nothing but their underwear.
Despite the fact that he’s fully clothed, he’s the one that feels self conscious. As he’s about it to give and join his peers in thongs and banana hammocks, he runs into a girl feeling the same thing as him. The last shot cuts to them leaving together–even though he was the only guy there that didn’t want to hang dong, he ended up with the girl.
Franz Ferdinand “Take Me Out”
I think this the last video that made an impact on me. I remember seeing it in high school on an MTV2 “alternative rock” block (when MTV2 played videos instead of reruns of MTV shows) and thinking I don’t know what this is but I love it.
I’m a big Franz Ferdinand fan to this day and own all of their albums. I’m sure that is the first time you’ve heard that from anyone.