The Best Music Videos From the 2000s
The Best Music Videos From the 2000’s
Revisiting the superb and wonderfully bizarre music videos from the turn of the millennium.
By: Brandon Sims
The 2000’s were an interesting time.
While George W. Bush and Dick Cheney occupied the White House, people were running around in trucker hats, v-neck t-shirts, Livestrong bracelets wrapped around their wrists, and clothing with names like Sean John and G-Unit scrolled across it.
Blink-182 was in the midst of their original 13-year run whereby they ruled the music world. Everyone spent at least some part of their weekend hoping there was still a few copies of the newest flick available at Blockbuster, Myspace was forcing people to literally rank their top 8 friends publicly, and music videos were beginning to go on new heights as a form of entertainment.
We took the luxury of providing you with 10 of the most peculiar and entertaining videos that combine all the wackiness of the 2000s with sounds that are oh-so-reminiscent of the turn-of-the-millennium.
Where would a best-music-video-list be without an appearance from some of the best to ever do it? While the legendary trio has a number of memorable music videos — “What’s My Age Again”, “The Rock Show”, and “All The Small Things” are a few that come to mind — “First Date” is the one that takes the prize for us.
Mark, Tom, and Travis pull out all the stops in this 70’s themed masterpiece. Tom looks on par for the older, creepy dude next-door who exclusively dates high school girls, with his handlebar moustache and shaggy blonde wig. Every scene, from the jam space crotch grabs, to the baseball bat in the bike tire, to the waterpark shenanigans, to the classic boyband montage, this video is so absurd it’s impossible not to love.
9. Red Hot Chilli Peppers
This video-game themed saga is one of the more unique music videos in recent memory. Quite fitting for its time, when video-games had really started to expand their in-game world, the four band members each have their own digital avatar that is running, jumping, flying, and navigating their way through a constantly changing landscape.
It’s fascinating to look back on this video now. At the time, the video seemed so forward thinking and innovative and even the graphics appeared to be top notch. Now, we live in a time where some people may find it difficult to distinguish between some video-game graphics and live-action footage. Nonetheless, the “Californication” video was a spectacular production for its time and is one that will surely always be remembered by people who grew up during the 2000s.
Another artist who’s released a number of highly entertaining videos over the years, Eminem’s “Without Me” is without a doubt one of the most memorable. Yes, there was a time before Shady would release entire albums of him yelling at his audience through a microphone, and that version of Eminem was utterly hilarious, provocative, and wildly entertaining.
This comic-book themed video features Dr. Dre and Eminem as Batman and Robin seemingly running around Gotham City while putting their haters in check. We also see a number of cameos from famous faces like Moby and Elvis Presley, and even Osama Bin Laden and Eminem’s Mom make an appearance. Of course, all of these people are wonderfully played by Marshall Mathers, himself, providing for one of funniest and most watched music videos of its time.
7. Rage Against The Machine
"Sleep Now in the Fire"
Known for their outspoken politically driven lyrics and a mixture of hard-rock sounds with hip-hop stylized vocals, Rage Against the Machine kicked off the new millennium with one of the most punk-rock music videos of all time.
On January 26, 2000, in collaboration with Academy Award-winning filmmaker, Michael Moore, the four-piece band known as Rage Against the Machine took to the steps of Federal Hall National Memorial on Wall Street in New York City. While cast and crew did have permission to use the steps of the memorial, they did not have a permit to shoot on the sidewalk or the street, nor did they have a loud-noise permit or the proper parking permits. But if you know RATM fans, then you know no one cared about any permits. Hundreds of fans stormed Wall Street and dozens of police officers attempted all afternoon to contain the madness.
When the band left the steps, NYPD apprehended Moore and detained him for an hour, where he was threatened with arrest during the shooting of the video. The band was escorted from the site by security after band members attempted to gain entry into the Exchange.
The video also features an incredible amount of real and satirical footage. It does a great job of outlining the fundamental elements of American greed, kicking off with Rudy Giuliani’s smug smirk and following with some thought-provoking societal questions of the mock show, “Who Wants to Be Filthy F#&%ing Rich.” What is most fascinating about the elements shown in this video is how true most of it still is today, 18 years later.
“Sleep Now In The Fire” was nominated at the 2000 MTV Video Music Awards for Best Rock Video but lost to Limp Bizkit's "Break Stuff", causing the infamous incident where bassist Tim Commerford climbed a large piece of the award show set.
6. Sigur Ros
An epic song with an equally epic video. A slow burn video that matches the gloriously soaring crescendo from the Icelandic avant-rock band. The cinematography was shot in the Reykjanes Peninsula in Iceland, and is breathtaking.
The music video, spanning over six minutes, features children in old-fashioned Icelandic garb, marching towards a cliff. The incline of the cliff, matched with the march of the children neatly matches the rising intensity of the song, and in the end the children fearlessly jump off the cliff and attempt to fly.
But, are they all free enough from doubt to soar through the air?
5. Fatboy Slim
"Weapons of Choice"
When you have Christopher Walken as the star of your video, it’s guaranteed to be one for the ages. Filmed in the lobby of the Marriott Hotel (now the L.A. Grand Hotel Downtown) in Los Angeles in December 2000, the video exclusively features Walken (who trained as a dancer in musical theatre before his acting career) dancing, swaying, and moving around the hotel like no one’s watching.
The "Weapon of Choice" video won six awards at the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards. Walken was awarded one of MTV's "Moonmen" for Best Choreography. The clip was also ranked number one in a list of the top 100 videos of all time by VH1 in April 2002 .
Surely this list wouldn’t be complete without this famous contribution from the legendary hip-hop duo, Outkast. In 2003, the group decided to do something not many artists had done before, they released a double album in one set. With a playtime of more than two hours, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below is the fifth studio album from Outkast that’s distributed over two solo albums from each of the group's members. Big Boi's Speakerboxxx is a Southern hip hop album with a P-Funk influence, while André 3000's The Love Below features psychedelic, pop, funk, electro, and jazz styles.
While there were a few videos that reached widespread acclaim, it’s the “Roses” video that stands out most for music fans from that time. There was a time when it was impossible to flip to a music-related TV channel and not see “Roses” being played over the airwaves. Stylized after a ‘50s high school setting, the video fittingly pins Andre 3000’s crew, The Love Below, against school rivals, the Speakerboxxx gang. The video is wildly entertaining all the way through, with both group members showing off a bit of their performance skills. Also, as the album was technically two solo albums packaged together, the video was a perfect way to show the differences in styles across each record.
3. Basement Jaxx
“Where’s Your Head At?”
Considering this song is probably the one track that has seen the most people literally lose their minds in a crowd to, it’s only fitting that its music-video is equally as nutty. The British electronic music duo, Basement Jaxx, has always been known for their unorthodox style and their visual representations of their music are no exception.
In the “Where’s Your Head At” video, the duo takes on the roll of laboratory chimps tasked with learning how to play instruments, most likely for the purpose of entertaining humans. The chimps and doctors literally go apeshit and main character eventually notices the comparison being drawn between man and animal before setting out on his escape from this anamorphic hell hole he’s found himself in.
2. The Avalanches
Possibly the most far-out contribution on this list, The Avalanches video for “Frontier Psychiatrist” was one of 2000s oddest, yet most creative music videos. Featuring a cast of mostly senior citizens recreating scenes from samples throughout the song, the video takes the audience on a peculiar ride through a ‘50s themed television show filled with donkeys, a 60+ year-old band, a puppet made out of coconuts, and a dance-off between a man in a duck suit versus a man in a money suit.
The video was the runner-up in the "Best Music Video" category at the 2002 Rushes Soho Shorts Film Festival.
Ah, the video that started it all. No one had heard of Gorillaz before 2001, when the four unearthly, digital apes took to the screen for the first time. “Clint Eastwood” was groundbreaking in the sense that it ushered in a whole new era of what a band was and what a music video could be.
Gorillaz videos are more than a simple video to go along with a new release. Not only did they tell a story and paint a picture, but they were the complete representation of the band. Some people to this day still don’t know Gorillaz has one full-time member, which is entirely due to their music videos depicting the group as a quartette of otherworldly walking, talking apes, and it all started with “Clint Eastwood”.
Agree? Disagree? Join the conversation and tweet your opinion at us.