SPIN’s 10 Most Innovative Music Videos of 2011
From coachroach munching to dancing in the streets, the most thrilling clips of the year
10. FUCKED UP, “QUEEN OF HEARTS”
Dir. Scott Cudmore
Post-Pink Floyd, singing schoolchildren lost a little of their shock value, but to have them handle the verses of the song as though the story of David and Veronica was already legend adds another layer to Fucked Up’s heavily meta rock opera.
9. BEYONCÉ, “COUNTDOWN”
Dir. Adria Petty
“Girl, show him how you ride it” is a far cry from “All the single ladies,” but the six-months-pregnant B is so damn adorable channeling Audrey Hepburn in these frames that she’s practically a one-woman .gif assembly line.
8. THE DECEMBERISTS, “CALAMITY SONG”
Dir. Michael Schur
Rock’s most self-consciously erudite band writes a love letter to a lost literary giant as Parks and Rec cocreator Schur interprets the apocalyptic tennis match from David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest. New Year’s resolution: Finish reading that damn book.
7. CHAIRLIFT, “AMANAEMONESIA”
Dir. Todd Hines and Caroline Polachek
Karaoke, Bob Ross, “Take On Me” — every ironic note hit, and yet that unforgiving bodysuit worn by lead singer Polachek lends flexible magic to the song without exhausting muscle memory.
6. BATTLES, “ICE CREAM”
Putting the object in objectification, this montage of psychedelically sexual clips is more suggestive than any movie starring a woman whose name ends in “i.”
5. TYLER, THE CREATOR, “YONKERS”
Dir. Wolf Haley
A cockroach is cause for panic. Call your friends. Call your mom. Cry. But whatever you do, don’t eat it.
4. ADELE, “ROLLING IN THE DEEP”
Dir. Sam Brown
Forgoing histrionics for restraint, director Sam Brown contains Adele’s reverberating emotion in glasses of water, which only makes her tidal wave of grief feel that much more constrictive.
3. MANCHESTER ORCHESTRA, “SIMPLE MATH”
If life will one day flash before our eyes, we can only hope for such stylish camerawork. Gorgeously shot, with memories dissolving into piles of leaves, Gondry-style, the Daniels duo reveal a narrative far more complex than these five minutes should have been able to accomplish yet somehow did.
2. BEASTIE BOYS, “MAKE SOME NOISE”
Ad-Rock, MCA and Mike D might be a little long in the tooth for bum-rushing bodegas and fighting for the right to party. Not so Danny McBride, Seth Rogen, and Frodo Baggins, who play out every white boy’s dream of rioting and rapping their way through lower Manhattan. Winking —and deep, deep down — a little wistful, too.
1. “GIRL WALK// ALL DAY”
Dir. Jacob Krupnick
No one celebrates music quite like mash-up maestro Gregg Gillis (a.k.a. Girl Talk), and nothing could compliment his manufactured orchestra better than this improvised freestyle dance by Anne Marsen (a mesmerizing stunt which led to her recurring role on The Good Wife).By turning the Staten Island Ferry into a dance floor, unbeknownst to fellow riders, director Jacob Krupnick honored the spirit of Gillis’ All Day by capturing a completely instinctual desire to thrill to the sound.