Five Videos Pitchfork Missed Monday

For the most part, when browsing Pitchfork’s recently-posted Top 50 Music Videos of the 90’s, four names dominate: Chris Cunningham, Hype Williams, Michel Gondry, and Spike Jonze.  And all four of these men completely deserve their recognition – they all, in their own way, directed only the finest of what is considered to be the best decade for music videos.  MTV was still influential and watchable, and the medium of video promotion was still powerful in the music biz.

This burgeoning new phenomenon had transformed into a well-produced, highly-financed, ultra-creative artistic landscape that the 80’s products couldn’t touch.  By the time of the 2000’s, however, the luster was lost – the best videos were buried in the over-saturation of the Web, and the “music” cable channels ceased music programming.  Still, we have the 90’s – the golden age of the music video, and Pitchfork, more or less, covered the highlights.

There are many personal favorites of mine that didn’t make the cut – perhaps one day I will compile my own list of top videos from the 90’s.  While video lists usually lean towards either ranking in terms of influence or innovative spectacle, Pitchfork teeter-tottered between the two, leaning toward the latter.  With this in mind, it’s a decent list – like most lists, it has some glaring omissions, which are recognized after the jump.

Prodigy – Smack My Bitch Up

Banned by MTV outright, it amazes me this video was not featured on Pitchfork’s list.  It’s controversial, entertaining, and a bit shocking at the end.  And the song is one of the best of the late 90’s alt-techno craze.

Busta Rhymes – Gimme Some More

The Busta/Hype powerhouse was well represented with “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See,” but I prefer this eye-popping moment of Rhymes performing his usual eccentric antics.

Dinosaur Jr. – Feel the Pain

As previously stated, Spike Jonze probably had more cool videos than anyone else in the 90’s, so it’s fair to say that Pitchfork couldn’t fit them all.  There’s no doubt, however, that if they had decided to do a Top 100 (which wouldn’t have been a bad idea, in my opinion) this would’ve made the list.

Smashing Pumpkins – Tonight Tonight

I feel like the obvious choice for the best Pumpkins video, bar none, is “Tonight Tonight.”  So I’m calling bullshit in regards to choosing “1979” over this cinematic achievement.  Try(ing too hard) as they might, sometimes Pitchfork lets their pretentious colors show.

Radiohead – Karma Police


There are many artists who received more than one slot on the list (Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Bjork, Aphex Twin – whose dual-Cunningham videos are a bit too similar, methinks), but why not Radiohead?  Merely mentioning the fascinating videos the band has churned out do them no justice.  And to top it all off, they decide to go with “Just,” which, while a great video, does not trump the likes of “No Surprises,” “Paranoid Android,” Fake Plastic Trees,” and my personal favorite, the haunting “Karma Police.”  In fact, when compared to these, “Just” is largely forgettable, which makes its inclusion over other Radiohead gems laughable.

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