I’m a classically trained violinist who bought a guitar this past weekend. This post is to celebrate that, to share my favorite things, and to keep me motivated to continue teaching myself those chords.
If you kept me hostage for a day, I wouldn’t mind it very much if I was shown the twenty-four following MVs that embody the cool.
Here we go.
24. ABSOLUTE BEGINNERS, DAVID BOWIE
While the lyrics seem to talk about a mature approach to love, the movie shows Bowie (in a trench coat!) chasing after cigarettes and a feline woman, suggesting an addiction to drugs. But I would mostly watch it for the period dress (cough cough trench cough coat cough).
23. CETTE ANNÉE LÀ – CLAUDE FRANÇOIS
22. WE DIDN’T START THE FIRE – BILLY JOEL
It cracks me up that they had to start a fire to make the video. Otherwise, memorizing the packed list of cultural references has been on my to-do for a while, and who could ever get tired of the piano man?
21. IT’S MY LIFE, BON JOVI
With Jon Bon Jovi looking his absolute cutest and the most motivational rock lyrics ever, this song would either make me bust out of custody or have me staring in adoration for the rest of the day.
20. FIELDS OF GOLD, STING
I think that this is one of the most romantic songs written in the last century and would gladly have Sting croon it to me for hours on end.
19. BITTER SWEET SYMPHONY, THE VERVE
I’d watch Richard Ashcroft strolling down the street any day.
18. SPEED OF LIGHT – IRON MAIDEN
At first, I thought this band was insane, then they kind of grew on me. I began to appreciate their creativity and articulate rage.
17. JUMP – VAN HALEN
Eddie Van Halen looks so happy when he jumps and when he tells me to jump that I wouldn’t even bother asking, “How high?”
16. YOU BETTER YOU BET – THE WHO
Besides an absolute groovy chorus, it always amazes me to see how effortlessly cool and boppy these guys were. Very Beatle-esque.
15. PEOPLE HAVE THE POWER – PATTI SMITH
Oh Patti, what would the world have done without you? In a male dominated music scene, you’re still the godmother of punk. In this age, these lyrics resonate as poignantly as they ever had. “People have the power – to dream, to rule, to wrestle the world from fools.”
14. OTHERSIDE, RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS
How long will I slide? This video is so unique and portrays addiction as a losing battle against oneself. The only way to escape it is by eventually going to the other side.
13. DANCING WITH MYSELF, BILLY IDOL
If you want my mood song, this is it. Surrounded by zombies, alone on a roof, and DANCING. Amazing.
12. MOTORCYCLE EMPTINESS – MANIC STREET PREACHERS
This reminds me of a Chinese pop song my parents would always play to us in the car. The lyrics are also always depressingly relevant. But how cool do these guys look in this video? I couldn’t if I tried.
11. WE ARE THE WORLD – USA FOR AFRICA
With all of Michael’s contributions to the world, this is one of the most uplifting ones I can think of. I love seeing these big name singers gathered in one space, each with their distinctive styles, forming a power chorus that brings on the chills.
10. WHO WANTS TO LIVE FOREVER, QUEEN
Let’s face it, if I was being held captive I would probably think I was dead, or soon to be. And if I want a song to be playing at my funeral this would be near the top of my list.
9. PINK – AEROSMITH
On the other hand, I could be feeling super optimistic and in the pink. (Steve Tyler made face swap cool before it was cool.)
8. WALK THIS WAY, RUN-D.M.C.
Speak of innovation, these guys were the pioneers of remixing. The two groups synergistically introduced the hip-hoppers to rock n’ roll, and the rockers to rap. I would pay to watch Steve Tyler in his wizard cape face off in a rap battle at a time like this.
7. DANCING IN THE DARK – BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN
No matter what, this video makes me happy. And this commentary makes it all even better. Boss!
6. SHAKE IT OFF, THE HILLYWOOD SHOW
A classic for the fangirl/fanboy troupe. Oh, I can’t believe I put this so high on my list. Check back in with me in a few years. Oh, the embarrassment.
5. TAKE ON ME, A-HA
As for as actual music videos go, this one is more famous for its graphics than the song itself. It’s absolutely mesmerizing.
4. TIME WILL CRAWL – DAVID BOWIE
The dancing! The energy! I could loop this for hours on end trying to find hidden meanings within the choreography, so what I’m really saying is that I almost wish someone would force me to…
3. BEAUTIFUL ONES – SUEDE
My favorite Suede song, coming in at #3 on this list, was no easy feat. It’s gotten me shaking my meat to the beat. See for yourself.
2. NOVEMBER RAIN – GUNS N’ ROSES
I adore this song, but when I saw the video for it, my mind was just about blown away. It became more than a power ballad to me. In truth, if I had to watch this for 24 hours, my heart would break. There’s only so many times you can watch Axl Rose lose his beloved and listen to Slash wail away in the desert.
1. SHINE ON YOU CRAZY DIAMOND – PINK FLOYD
Oh goodness, this song means a lot to me, in ways that I can’t fit here. The Pink Floyd deserves a whole series to itself.
Rock on! What would you have added to the list?