29 Brilliant Music Videos

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Music has always been an excellent source of inspiration. Particularly if you are stuck with some problem you can’t find a workaround for, a beautiful song can give you a new perspective, let you see the problem from a different angle. And sometimes it’s just useful to make a break — for instance, watching some music videos.

In this post we present some unusual music videos for your monday’s coffee break. Some of the videos are thought-provoking, some of them are funny and some are bizarre. While many of them are well-known, you’ll probably find some videos you’ve never watched before. The videos all perfectly to the music which is being played in the background. Hopefully, everyone will find something new and inspiring for himself/herself. Please notice that you might need to watch some videos at least twice to get the idea behind them.

You might want to read the descriptions of the videos — they are provided below every link. The screenshots often don’t reveal that much about the videos they stand for.

Music Videos

Unkle – Rabbit in your Headlights1
What is this guy whispering? Who is the guy? And what is he doing in the tunnel? You need to watch this video till the very end. You won’t be disappointed.

Music Video Screenshot2

Jason Forrest – “War Photographer”3 (2005)
These freaking vikings are both cool and strange. But it doesn’t make them less sympathetic. And they can play both on drums and guitars pretty well.

Music Video Screenshot4

Bat for Lashes — What’s A Girl To Do5
00:38 is the best moment in the history of music videos. Well, this one is kind of scary. Hares driving on the bicycles and clapping their hands at the same time? A masterpiece from the year 2007.

Music Video Screenshot6

Nick Cave & Kylie Mingoue — Where The Wild Roses Grow7
Probably one of the most beautiful music videos ever made. There is no need for words. Watch it.

Music Video Screenshot8

Rob Dougan — Clubbed To Death9
Incredible editing and directing. So symbolic, so powerful.

Music Video Screenshot10

Fujiya & Miyagi – Ankle Injuries11
What about a music video which is made with thousands of 6-sided dice? Exactly. And the music fits perfectly.

Music Video Screenshot12

Radiohead – “Street Spirit (Fade Out)”13 (1995)
The video for this song was shot using different film frequencies, allowing various actions to unfold at different rates within the same frame. The emotional effects of this practice range from silly to unsettling. Try not to watch this video too many times; it begins to feel a little more disturbing each time. [Jeff Shreve]

Music Video Screenshot14

Sia – “Breathe Me” (Quicktime)
The production of this video clip took several thousands Polaroid photos. The result is… at least unusual.

Music Video Screenshot

Citizens Here and Abroad – You Drive and We’ll Listen To Music15
Jason Koxvold’s video pairs crashing cars with crashing guitars. Rock. Very well executed and perfectly edited. Must see.

Music Video Screenshot16

Moby – Porcelaine17
Such a beautiful song. One of the videos you are amazed about once, and you never forget again.

Music Video Screenshot18

The Strokes – You Only Live Once19 (Imeem)
With a Hundred ways to do a dozen things, why not try it all? Directed by Warren Fu.

Music Video Screenshot20

Arctic Monkeys – A view from the afternoon21 (Quicktime version)
A song about a passion and unstoppable willingness to do what you love. Simple, yet so effective.

Music Video Screenshot22

“Glosoli” – Sigur Ros23
“Glosoli” depicts a young drummer boy gathering up the other denizens of what appears to be an adult-free utopian land, and leading a revolution to freedom. So beautiful and so touching. Don’t miss the last scene.

Music Video Screenshot24

The Avalanches – “Frontier Psychiatrist”25
This is freaky. Sometimes the most obvious concept for a video also turns out to be the best. The ghost choir is the best. Except for the nightmarish old-man turtle, of course. [via PitchForkMedia26]

Music Video Screenshot27

Royksopp – Remind Me28
We’ve featured this movie already, but it’s worth mentioning it in this post. You can watch it dozens times and still not catch everything. A day in the life of an average working Jill, broken down into its minutest component parts. The unstated joke: mankind has erected immense, resource-devouring systems of almost incomprehensible complexity just so you can sit in your cubicle.

Typography in Motion29

Blur – “Coffee & TV”30 (Quicktime31)
Actually, this song is about a dancing milk carton. However, its adventures are funny, cute, but with a pleasing streak of cruelty. The milk-carton protagonist even has its own fan site32.

Music Video Screenshot33

Boards of Canada: “Dayvan Cowboy”34 (Quicktime35)
It’s pretty easy to get wrapped up in the grainy, existential pulchritude of this thing and completely miss the cheeky self-reference. So, um, where can one surf in Canada? Directed by Melissa Olson.

Music Video Screenshot36

Move Your Feet – Junior Senior37
That’s weird. And that’s what makes it special. A pixel-based video clip.

Music Video Screenshot38

Daft Punk – One More Time39
Probably one of the most colorful animated music videos of all time. Daft Punk, one more time.

Music Video Screenshot40

Xploding Plastix – Joy Comes In The Morning41
A music video about the world we live in and the world we’d like to live in.

Music Video Screenshot42

Unkle – Eye For Eye43
A haunting track with a creepy animation, which won an award at the Edinburgh International Film Festival. Nasty weirdness drops from the sky and then moves on.

Music Video Screenshot44

Vitalic – Poney45
Flying dogs in light of a laser and in slow-motion. Nobody has ever done something like this before.

Music Video Screenshot46

OK Go – Here It Comes Again47

Music Video Screenshot48

Justice “D.A.N.C.E.”49 (Quicktime50)
Sometimes even T-Shirts can speak. For instance, in this music video. “D.A.N.C.E.” was nominated for “Video of the Year at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards. On the first of November Justice received the “Video Star” award at the European Music Awards in Munich.

Music Video Screenshot51

Forss – “City Ports”52
The visualization fits perfectly to the music.

Music Video Screenshot53

Radiohead – Just54
What could the man on the street possibly have said?

Music Video Screenshot55

Prodigy – Out Of Space56
Prodigy’s “Out of Space” is probably one of the weirdest videos ever created. Welcome back to the 90s — this is how some videos looked like then. The song which was * for the whole generation.

Music Video Screenshot57

The Verve – Bitter Sweet Symphony58
A video everybody has seen. And everybody would see again.

Music Video Screenshot59

RJD2 – Work It Out60
This guy just want to have some fun with his crooks and his skateboard. A one-shot-video from 2007.

Music Video Screenshot61

Footnotes

  1. 1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z3ClCwcCvdQ
  2. 2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z3ClCwcCvdQ
  3. 3 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-3fa-sjsvno
  4. 4 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-3fa-sjsvno
  5. 5 http://videos.antville.org/stories/1642555/
  6. 6 http://videos.antville.org/stories/1642555/
  7. 7 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jRMe5H9WKpM
  8. 8 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jRMe5H9WKpM
  9. 9 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PMq4akUZr8c
  10. 10 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PMq4akUZr8c
  11. 11 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N5XVeENmLMk
  12. 12 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N5XVeENmLMk
  13. 13 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nPX3u0XJzKM
  14. 14 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nPX3u0XJzKM
  15. 15 http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&VideoID=748883
  16. 16 http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&VideoID=748883
  17. 17 http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXhGvcmhqaM
  18. 18 http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXhGvcmhqaM
  19. 19 http://thestrokes.imeem.com/video/YG-iSIQn/the_strokes_the_strokes_you_only_live_once_music_video/
  20. 20 http://thestrokes.imeem.com/video/YG-iSIQn/the_strokes_the_strokes_you_only_live_once_music_video/
  21. 21 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GF978AgLyaY
  22. 22 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GF978AgLyaY
  23. 23 http://www.emichrysalis.co.uk/quicktime/sigur_ros/glosoli/index.php
  24. 24 http://www.emichrysalis.co.uk/quicktime/sigur_ros/glosoli/index.php
  25. 25 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8BWBn26bX0
  26. 26 http://www.pitchforkmedia.com/article/feature/36588-staff-list-100-awesome-music-videos
  27. 27 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8BWBn26bX0
  28. 28 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBvaHZIrt0o
  29. 29 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBvaHZIrt0o
  30. 30 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWUil383us4
  31. 31 http://www.tongsville.com/cinemahtml/blur.html
  32. 32 http://www.milkyfan.com/
  33. 33 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWUil383us4
  34. 34 http://youtube.com/watch?v=_lEsLcGB7Vo&watch_response
  35. 35 http://www.warprecords.com/dayvancowboy/boc-dayvancowboy.mov
  36. 36 http://youtube.com/watch?v=_lEsLcGB7Vo&watch_response
  37. 37 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKcDa0Kp2K8
  38. 38 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKcDa0Kp2K8
  39. 39 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFaNXsNIXp4
  40. 40 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFaNXsNIXp4
  41. 41 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Dm4y9s9vjA
  42. 42 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Dm4y9s9vjA
  43. 43 http://youtube.com/watch?v=IRbrJHUrIqk
  44. 44 http://youtube.com/watch?v=IRbrJHUrIqk
  45. 45 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ugTLYWB3SlY
  46. 46 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ugTLYWB3SlY
  47. 47 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pv5zWaTEVkI
  48. 48 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pv5zWaTEVkI
  49. 49 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fo_QVq2lGMs&feature=related
  50. 50 http://project.75.tv/justice_dance_27avril/getmedia/0/dance-finale.mov
  51. 51 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fo_QVq2lGMs&feature=related
  52. 52 http://forss.to/cityports/
  53. 53 http://forss.to/cityports/
  54. 54 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5X7HKxpiQA
  55. 55 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5X7HKxpiQA
  56. 56 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7edztkuz5o&feature=related
  57. 57 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7edztkuz5o&feature=related
  58. 58 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-Po8uJeoUw
  59. 59 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-Po8uJeoUw
  60. 60 http://media.ghostrobot.net/7014_workitout_v2_web.mov
  61. 61 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5X7HKxpiQA

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Vitaly Friedman loves beautiful content and doesn’t like to give in easily. Vitaly is writer, speaker, author and editor-in-chief of Smashing Magazine. He runs responsive Web design workshops, online workshops and loves solving complex performance problems in large companies. Get in touch.

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  1. 1

    what about muse – knights of cydonia?!

    0
  2. 52

    I agree, Michel Gondry should be in there and Tool as well.

    Radiohead’s Just was a mind blowing video when it came out, and 15 years later, no one still seems to know what the guy says. Well I do! He says “you do it to yourself.” As in, your messed up life is your own damn fault. All your problems are because of things you’ve done. So if everyone lays down and does nothing, they cant mess up their lives anymore. It’s the whole point of the song.

    Its really not that difficult to figure out.

    Great list though, thanks

    0
  3. 103

    OK, but where is SIgur Ros?

    0
  4. 154

    Nice list!

    Chemical Brothers – Star Guitar and Bjork – Joga definitely should be on the list. Both directed by Michel Gondry. Heck, anything directed by Michel Gondry should be on the list.

    0
  5. 205

    I also like the video for ‘Crazy’ by Gnarls Barkley (video by Robert Hales).

    -1
  6. 256

    My #1: Clubbed To Death by Rob Dougan – awesome production :)

    0
  7. 307

    Metallica | One, Metallica | One, Metallica | One, Metallica | One, Metallica | One :)

    0
  8. 358

    I wrote a similar post a while back on my blog.
    So check it out if you want to: http://djl-commercials.dk/blog/dennis/?p=48

    0
  9. 409

    Where’s Pearl Jam’s “Evolution”?

    0
  10. 460

    Bjork “All is Full of Love” still gives me the shivers when I watch it years later. best video ever IMHO.

    1
  11. 511

    What? No Chris Cunningham?

    This is poor. Stick to web design Smashing….

    1
  12. 562

    Nice! I love The Verve’s song!

    Thought I would add Snow Patrol’s “Open Your Eyes” and Coldplay’s “Scientist” ones :)

    0
  13. 613

    I do like the Video of “Blur – Coffee & TV”, the cute milk box and his advanture. It’s awesome!

    0
  14. 664

    So awesome to see Norway represented twice with Röyksopp and Xploding Plastix! Makes me proud to be one. :3

    0
  15. 715

    I like Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal!

    0
  16. 766

    Awesomo!!!

    0
  17. 817

    Ditto. Where’s “Crazy” ?

    0
  18. 868

    Great Collection to test on my New Woofer :-)

    0
  19. 919

    Just a bunch of emo trash

    I don’t think that means what you think it means…

    0
  20. 970

    This list IS pretty poor, especially the 2007 choices. I cannot understand the obsession with Bat For Lashes. The RJD2 video is nice for its one shot thing, but other than that, meh. And the Fujiya & Miyagi? As I’ve noted previously and someone else did above, that’s basically just a ripoff of Gondry’s video for “Fell In Love With A Girl” by White Stripes.

    And ignore the calls for Tool videos, seeing shit pushing through a pipe is not inspiring.

    0
  21. 1021

    Vitaly Friedman & Sven Lennartz

    January 24, 2008 3:39 am

    Thank you for your comments.

    To all users who complained about “poor” list: please notice that this wasn’t supposed to be the ultimate list of best videos of all time. The main intention here was to give provide our readers with some inspirational music videos. And this list is probably subjective, as we haven’t asked a panel of the best music experts to take part in compiling this list.

    It should be pretty clear that some videos are missing, and there are definitely some better videos which aren’t in this list – so please let us know about them! Please appreciate our efforts and good intentions.

    Thank you for all videos mentioned in the comments!

    0
  22. 1123

    Forgot to mention before, kudos on including the UNKLE’s vid for Eye for an Eye, Shynola are fantastic, they also did Radiohead – Pyramid Song and Queens of the Stone Age – Go with the Flow.

    0
  23. 1174

    M MI MICH MICHELL

    January 24, 2008 11:39 am

    totally, a coool list, that screams “where is gondry?”
    useful link for mv buffs…the IMDB OF VIDEOS:
    http://www.mvdbase.com/index.php
    horrible design, but excellent library

    0
  24. 1225

    I’m not such a fan of her music but my wife absolutely loves Bjork
    She’s got a whole lot of insane videos that seriously blow my mind

    I think Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine, Science of Sleep) has done a few of her videos.
    I’d recommend you check em out.

    1
  25. 1276

    Daft punk – around the world… revolution! :D

    0
  26. 1327

    I’m glad I see two Unkle videos in there – I love Unkle.

    That said, it’s a shame not to mention the video clip for Burn my Shadow from their latest album, War stories.

    The song is so haunting and the video clip is just amazing.

    0
  27. 1378

    awesome? but for the lack of North of Ping Pong, What Goes Up Must Come Down. this list is not yet complete.

    0
  28. 1429

    Gondry makes the best videos so this list is definitely not complete

    0
  29. 1480

    How could ou miss Royksopp – What Else Is There ?!!!

    0
  30. 1531

    kox’s video for the citizens is simply stunning

    0
  31. 1582

    Some cool Vid’s smash. (y)

    0
  32. 1633

    i understand this isn’t supposed to be a definitive list, but these are some really weak videos. you mention the daft punk video but not matthew sweet’s girlfriend? what about the video for “only” by nine inch nails directed by david fincher. it tops all these listed here. where’s the spike jonze directed videos? you want inspirational videos, at least put the directors up that have inspired others.

    0
  33. 1684

    The name of the OK Go song is “Here It Goes Again”.

    1
  34. 1735

    Sorry to come late to the party but you missed possibly the greatest video made in the past ten years:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GDxZ3Ll_k8c

    -1
  35. 1786

    You are missing SABOTAGE from Beastie Boys – best video ever =)

    0
  36. 1837

    youtube.com/mcadavieco

    Playlist: videoclips.

    I’m adding the ones on this list right now.

    0
  37. 1888

    Best video “Rabbit in your Headlights”, best song “Porcelain”

    0
  38. 1939

    Amazing Collection!!!

    “Clubbed to death” by Rob Dougan is one of the most stunning, impressive song I’ve ever heard.

    Also, I think you’ve missed a video.

    “Exhibit 13″ by Blue Man Group

    Preety dramatic. The most beautiful way to remember 9/11.

    0
  39. 1990

    You have a great taste in music. Especially UNKLE, Radiohead and Sigur Rós are amazing music clips.
    Great collection.
    Best wishes

    0
  40. 2041

    Where are the White Stripes? Fell in Love with a Girl, Seven Nation Army, The Hardest Button to Button? They are all amazing videos!

    Fatboy Slim, Weapon of Choice? Its Chistopher freakin’ Walken dancing around a hotel lobby! It doesn’t get any more amazing then that.

    Crystal Method, Name of the Game. Where is it? A guy break dancing with a giant nose for a head is pretty amazing.

    And finally, you included a Prodigy video that somehow wasn’t Smack My Bitch Up. Thats almost ridiculous.

    0
  41. 2092

    what, no beck – black tambourine?

    0
  42. 2143

    yeah this is a grat collection but you all forgot Brand new’s sic transit gloria glory fades

    0
  43. 2194

    Nick Cave & Kylie Mingoue — Where The Wild Roses Grow — the words for it are, well it was released very shortly after Isobel by Bjork, it copied the video.

    0
  44. 2245

    Nice list but no Chris Cunningham can’t have ’em all

    0
  45. 2296

    You Missed out “Fell in Love with a Girl” by the white stripes…

    0
  46. 2347

    I liked a lot of the songs on here. But was hoping to see an incredible video for Kenna’s “Hell Bent”.

    It was an incredible video with a great concept. And i agree that Fell in Love With a Girl and any Tool video should be on there.

    And of course Chris Walken in Weapon of Choice is incredible.

    0
  47. 2398

    interstellar 5555, the movie that “one more time” the daft punk video is from is really really cool. I would recommend it to anyone who likes the ” one more time” video.

    0
  48. 2449

    Good list – one glaring missing video, though, is Unfinished Symphony by Massive Attack:
    http://youtube/watch?v=y1svI-owtWA

    Not only wholesale ripped offed by the Verve for the video, but the actual track as well! One shot brilliance – and the last 10 seconds where the camera lifts off has to make the list….

    ooh, and Bjork “Its oh so quiet” should be their as well:

    http://youtube/watch?v=g8Z1MpcyqQU

    Not a dis, just my 10 cents!

    0
  49. 2500

    You’re missing Knights of Cydonia by Muse. It’s the most hilariously epic music video I’ve ever seen.

    1
  50. 2551

    no michael jackson????
    your list is suxxx!!!

    1

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