“U” Is For Ultravox

R-27834-1109080942.jpgI remember this song and video vividly from my childhood. Ultravox emerged from the new wave and late 70s/early 80s electro scene and were hugely successful in the 80s. Their most well-known song is probably my choice here. Vienna is just an all time classic song and not just from the 80s. Released in January 1981, this was a massive hit, but was kept off the Number 1 spot by Joe Dolce’sShaddup You Face” of all things.

I like the film noir style of the video and it does seem to fit the song very well. I think there was always a bit of the frustrated actor in Midge Ure, as the band indulged in other movie style music videos later in their career. The video was directed by Russell Mulcahy who went on to direct the movie Highlander, so not a bad pedigree.

I hope you like this choice and I shall get up to date with my outstanding posts over the weekend.

“T” Is For Take That

220px-TTPatienceWoops, I’ve been a little lazy the past few days, let’s get caught up shall I? I suppose I Have always had a small soft spot for Take That. Back in their heyday, they had a few decent songs out and I even managed to catch them live once. They actually put on quite an amazing show back then, but unlike the millions of screaming female fans, I wasn’t surprised when they split up.

I was somewhat surprised when they suddenly announced their reunion 10 years later, and boy what a comeback. I love the song “Patience”; it sums up how their career came full circle. I like how the video focusses on the four members of the band starting out on a journey and finding each other and once again performing as a group. It’s a nice way to look at a fresh start for the group.

Since then they have gone on to record a number of albums and have even dropped to being just a trio in recent months. That said, they still seem to be able to produce good music and probably will now until they retire gracefully as very old men.

“S” is for Shiny Toys Guns

Ghost_Town_coverShiny Toy Guns are a band that I came across a few years ago purely by chance, which has happened to me quite a few times actually. Their single Ghost Town is a really rocking track that grabs you very quickly and doesn’t let go until its finished. Released in 2009 the single peaked at number 26 in the Billboard Alternative Songs chart.

The video is another animated effort which was created and directed by Glen Hanson, a Canadian cartoonist. I like how this looks. It reminds somewhat of an old animated series on MTV called Aeon Flux (you may have seen the movie of the same name) I suppose even some of Gorillaz music videos have the same look to them, but none of their music is as good as this track. I hope you enjoy it, and if you find the time, check out their version of Peter Schilling’sMajor Tom

“R” Is For Rammstein

Contrary to popular belief, I don’t just listen to one band on this planet. I have quite an eclectic taste in music that ranges in styles and eras, but I also like music from other countries. Germany produces lots of good music, but I would say that the band Rammstein are probably the most famous to make it big worldwide. Some of their video have questionable material I think it could be said and they make no excuses for what they produce, but I have chosen the video for the song Sonne.

Taken from the album Mutter which is one of my favourites, the video is their take on the Snow White and the Seven Dwarves fairy tale. The band are all miners and true to their form (I refer here to the darkness of the band’s songs and videos), Snow White likes the illegal substances. The tone of the video just works really well with the deep gravelly vocals of lead singer Till Lindemann. I would suggest that the band are frustrated actors judging by their performance in the video, they pull it off really well.

They have done a lot of other really tracks, but I think as far as videos go, this is my favourite, see what you think.

“Q” Is For Queen


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Queen_Save_MeI couldn’t really have an A-Z list of music videos without mentioning Queen. The band practically invented the concept way back in 1975 with the video for Bohemian Rhapsody. However, it is not that video I have chosen today. Instead I have picked one from a later album and the track is called Save Me. It comes from the album The Game which was released in 1979 and for me really started the whole ball rolling in terms of their commercial success in the charts. Yes they had had one or two hits, but I think this album marked the start of their constant role in the make up of the UK music chart.

Save Me is a really good song and the video is a really nice blend of live action and animation. However, it is the way that the animated segments of the shoot merge back into the live shots as you will see from the video below. I find the whole thing quite moving in fact and the final shot when Freddie is reaching for the dove appears quite poignant in the whole Queen story.

Queen of course did many great music videos. The Miracle used mini members of Queen, I want To Break Free featured the band dressed in drag, and of course who can forget Radio Ga-Ga with the whole crowd clapping in unison, but I have always preferred the earlier side of Queen’s music and Save Me is one of the heights for me in terms of music and vision.

save_me___by_queen_by_shinyeeveee-d4r38uaWhat is your favourite Queen video? There are so many to choose from, comment below with your opinions =)

“P” Is For Placebo


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220px-PuremorningcoverPlacebo aren’t a band I have particularly liked in the past, yeah ok, they have done some decent tracks here and there, but I wouldn’t call myself a fan. They did do a great cover of Bony M’s Daddy Cool, but it’s not that I am talking about today. In terms of their music videos, I think their best has to be Pure Morning. Another mini film, it tells the story of someone standing atop a building’s ledge and the mayhem that is going on below with the emergency services and the media.

The song is powerful enough, but it’s that point when he walks off the edge of the building and begins to walk down it that really grabs you. Just like that moment in Neneh Cherry’s Woman that I described earlier in my challenge, it is something which you don’t quite expect to happen and it makes the hairs stand on end. that is the mark of a good video for me.

7655f35aeb22As for the song itself, lead singer of Placebo, Brian Molko has stated that he now hates the song and its lyrics and they haven’t performed it live since 2007. See what you think of my choice, does it move you? Leave your thoughts below =)

“O” Is For OK Go


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220px-Here_It_Goes_AgainAlright, so after my half ass post yesterday, I am back on track with today’s video. Here It Goes Again by Chicago band OK Go is a Grammy award-winning video from 2007 and is possibly one of my favourite videos of all time. I think it’s deserving of being in my list just because of its originality. Its fun to watch, the song is good and the idea was so simple.

Apparently it took 17 takes to get this right. The video is one continuous shot so you can imagine how frustrating it must have been to get almost to the end of the shoot and one of the band screwing it up…arrgh! Directed and choreographed by Trish Sie who has worked on some movies such as Step Up: All In, she had already worked with the band on a previous song by the band, A Million Ways, and I think she upped her game here.

okgo001The timing of the moves on the running machines is just so well done I think much credit has to be given to the band members for actually making it work. It’s all very well having a good idea, but if it cannot be executed well, then its a waste of time, OK Go did a great job and have gone on to make some really great and complicated videos, its kinda their trademark now and long may it continue. If you haven’t checked out the band, you should, they are a good listen.

“N” Is For Nickelback


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Burnittotheground_I know, I know. Nickelback? For some reason they seem to be the most hated band on the planet by pop fans and rock fans alike. I haven’t liked everything they have done, but in 2009 they teamed up with legendary music producer John “Mutt” Lange. he has produced bands like Def Leppard, The Cars and Bryan Adams. You can tell, he has a distinctive style, but Nickelback’s album Dark Horse was a massive success and the first track Burn It To The Ground was a great single off it.

1315313938_nickelback-burn-it-to-the-groundIt is a fantastic rock track. It punches and kicks and it is in my opinion what a rock song should sound like. Play it loud. Now I have to confess that the video isn’t really all that in terms of its content, it is more or less just them playing on stage at a live gig. I don’t care lol. It kicks ass whatever way you look at it, and that’s why I’ve included it here.

So really there isn’t much more to say here, I suppose this is a bit of a cheat post, but let’s hear you suggestions, can you think of a great “L” band video? Post them here and I’ll comment on your tracks =)

“M” Is For Meatloaf


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alb_1762488_bigTake your pick here really, Meatloaf has always been a frustrated actor (although he has done some movie work), he takes out his craving in his music videos. He isn’t so prolific these days for various reasons, but during his resurgence in the 90s following the release of the hit Bat Out Of Hell II album, there were a few singles that became mini movies. I’d Lie For You (And That’s The Truth) is probably one example of an over the top music video that was the lead single on the follow-up album Welcome To The Neighbourhood in 1995.

It borrows heavily from some kind of Lara Croft/Indiana Jones type of film, and although I like the song and the video, it does appear quite confusing and was criticised for being overly complicated upon its release. That said, it certainly is a spectacle and wouldn’t be out-of-place in an actual Hollywood blockbuster. The piece also features the acting talents of Xander Berkley, a well-known and respected figure in the business. The whole thing was done on a massive budget, and watching it, you can plainly see that. I suppose he has to spend his money on something?

Just one of many vehicles leaving an explosion in its wake...

Just one of many vehicles leaving an explosion in its wake…

Meatloaf of course gets the girl at the end of all this running around and chasing planes with huge explosions, and that of course is what we all wanted. Confusing – yes, but entertaining – it is in my book. Isn’t that what a music video is supposed to do?

“L” Is For Linkin’ Park


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Linkin_park_breaking_the_habit“L” takes me to American rap rockers Linkin Park. From their second album Meteora is the track “Breaking The Habit“. This was a very successful period in the band’s career, but the video is right up my street. I have always loved the Manga style of animation, and this is a great example of a short film that fits the song well here.

Directed by Kazuto Nakazawa, who has done work on movies such as Kill Bill and Animatrix, we see a story told backwards Japanese style. The story is interwoven with footage of the band performing the track, and everything has been rotoscoped to give it that scribbled look, while maintaining the anime style. At the start of the video, we do not know who it is that has fallen to their death, but as the video progresses, there are many little messages given and we discover at the end that it is in fact the lead singer of the band, Chester Bennington that has fallen.

breaking-the-habit-10I just think it’s a very powerful video animated in a great way for maximum effect. What do you reckon? Is this worthy of a place in your top video list? Comment below.