The 20 Best Videos of 2009
Waste time at work in grand style with our eclectic collection of the year's greatest embeddables.
Lady Gaga, “Bad Romance”
Directed by Francis Lawrence
Oh, decadence: so 1999. Let’s welcome its brief return in this big-budget, fetishistic vision — which also serves as an important reminder that mind-bogglingly absurd outfits happen everywhere, not just in Japan.
Death Cab for Cutie, “Little Bribes”
Directed by Ross Ching
Using rocks, Post-Its, and, best of all, melted cheese, an inventive fan spells out the lyrics to Gibbard and Co.’s song — a far more advisable expression of devotion than, say, tattooing the words to “Transatlanticism” on your torso.
The xx, “Crystalised”
Directed by Alex Flick and Masato Riesser
A track so good that it’s enough to watch the band stand onstage in the dark while cumulus clouds roll by behind them. Anything more would be a distraction.
UCB featuring Wale, “Pat Your Weave”
Directed by Rik Cordero
Patting one’s weave is just a sassy little gesture of self-confidence, much like this video.
Beck and Charlotte Gainsbourg, “Heaven Can Wait”
Directed by Keith Schofield
Every scene here would be almost normal if something wasn’t a tiny bit… off. Come to think of it, the same could probably be said about the songwriters.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs, “Heads Will Roll”
Directed by Richard Ayoade
We imagine things went down like this in Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves of London.”
Handsome Furs, “I’m Confused”
Directed by Scott Coffey
Just when you think this house party’s gonna be like every other-red cups, haggard blondes, puke — there’s an end-of-the-night hook-up that changes everything.
The Dead Weather, “Treat Me Like Your Mother”
Directed by Jonathan Glazer
One wonders what the motivation was for Jack White and Alison Mosshart to storm towards each other gripping machine guns. Domestic dispute?Blood feud? Too many Meg jokes?
Yeasayer, “Ambling Alp”
Directed by Radical Friend
It’s impossible to tell nude hipsters apart! These ones could very well be the same as those in the Flaming Lips’ “Watching the Planets.” But thanks to Yeasayer for sparing us close-ups of crack.
Bat for Lashes, “Daniel”
Directed by Johan Renck
Soon, Natasha Khan will have paid homage to every moment that made growing up in the ’80s so memorable. This time, it’s rainbow make-up and The Karate Kid. Next, it’ll be slap bracelets and The Legend of Billie Jean.
Depeche Mode, “Wrong”
Directed by Patrick Daughters
A backwards, disturbing nightmare, with a Michael Myers-ish mask thrown in for creepy measure.
She & Him, “Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?”
Directed by Mark Webb
500 Days of Summer took Zooey Deschanel’s cuteness and Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s earnestness too far. Here, working with the same director, they make a charming pair — and graceful dance partners.
Manchester Orchestra, “Shake It Out”
Directed by Isaac Rentz
As Over The Top’s Lincoln Hawk (Sylvester Stallone) might say, “The world meets nobody halfway.” Manchester Orchestra goes all in on this satire of (homage to?) Sly’s arm-wrestling epic, yet another ridiculous ’80s classic.
Chairlift, “Evident Utensil”
Directed by Ray Tintori
Complex and mesmerizing, the band members emerge like a blur from a jungle of color before disappearing into the scenery again. Sort of like the Predator but friendlier.
The Avett Brothers, “Slight Figure of Speech”
Directed by Jody Hill
I’m sure the song is good but I didn’t really listen to it because I was too busy rewinding the hilarious intro skit in which Eastbound & Down’s Andy Daly plays a local shopping network host.
Major Lazer “Pon de Floor”
Directed by Eric Wareheim
Did you know about daggering? It’s like if, instead of dancing, you just violently dry-humped. Watch and learn. Or maybe just watch.
Nyle, “Let the Beat Build”
Directed by Chadd Harbold
For his school project, NYU senior Nyle Emerson rewrote the lyrics to a Lil Wayne song, got his talented ladyfriends to harmonize and convinced the rest of his class to play their instruments. They recorded this live in one take. Take that, Feist.
Fever Ray, “When I Grow Up”
Directed by Martin de Thurrah
There’s something sad and unsettling about a neglected pool after the summer ends, sort of like a discarded tree after Christmas. The mood — and the mad, paint-smeared conjurer — suits this haunting song.
Brat Pack’s mashup of Phoenix’s “Lisztomania”
Directed by Sarah Newhouse
An appropriate, if accidental, eulogy for John Hughes.
Matt & Kim, “Lessons Learned”
Directed by Taylor Cohen and Otto Arsenault
The simplest ideas are often the most amazing. I could watch these two walk down the street a million times and still be impressed when they reveal their rude bits. In the middle of Time Square. In February. As stunts go, it was both brave and frugal, and what better survival techniques existed in 2009?