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Top 25 Music Videos of 2010

There are compelling and funny stories, imaginative visuals and the labors of much love. The style of video varies as much as the music. Many of these were not among the year’s most popular and weren’t made with the biggest budgets, but the artistry is commendable.

If you have a favorite music video that didn’t make the cut, please add it to the comments section below. All of these should be relatively safe for work except Grinderman and, of course, Cee Lo Green.

Here are the 25 best music videos of 2010:

25. MGMT – “Congratulations”
MGMT’s album was overblown, self-indulgent and strange—all the things that make for a good music video, especially one involving a freakish Duck-dog-o-saurus.
Album: Congratulations
Label: Columbia
Director: Tom Kuntz

24. Surfer Blood – “Floating Vibes”
Album: Astro Coast
Label: Kanine
Director: G. Warner
The Florida band goes all-access on this one. All-access cable, that is.

23. Ted Leo & The Pharmacists – “Bottled in Cork”
Album: The Brutalist Bricks
Label: Matador
Director: Tom Scharpling
Ted Leo on Broadway? The world needed “a half-assed musical that cheapens what they do and embarrasses everyone involved,” especially when those involved include Paul F. Tompkins, Julie Klausner and John Hodgman.

22. Jeremy Messersmith – “Tatooine”
Album: The Reluctant Graveyard
Director: Eric Power
Paper-cut Star Wars trilogy=awesome.

21. Vampire Weekend – “Giving Up the Gun”
Album: Contra
Label: XL
Directors: The Malloys
The strange assortment of characters in this tennis match include RZA, Jenny Murray, Joe Jonas, Jake Gyllenhaal, Daft Punk and Lil John.

20. Gorillaz – “Stylo” (feat. Mos Def and Bobby Womack)
Director: Pete Candeland
A car chase involving the cartoon band in a Camaro and Bruce Willis in a souped-up El Camino? What’s not to love?

19. Coconut Records – “Is This Sound Okay?”
Album: Davy
Label: Young Baby
Director: Gia Coppola
Schwartzman, the man behind Coconut Records, has the unfair advantage of being able to enlist his cousin Gia Coppola to direct and friend Kirsten Dunst to star.

18. Hanson – “Thinking ‘Bout Somethin’”
Album: Shout It Out
Label: 3CG
Director: Todd Edwards
Keep an eye out for Weird Al on tambourine.

17. The Black Keys – “Tighten Up”
Album: Brothers
Label: Warner
Director: Chris Marrs Piliero
Sometimes great music videos tell a story. Sometimes they make you chuckle. This one does both.

16. David Crowder*Band – “SMS [Shine]”
Album: -Church Music
Label: sixstepsrecords
Directors: David Crowder*Band
With a LITE-BRITE board and 700,000 pegs, this self-made video took 2,150 man hours from 83 of the band’s friends.

15. Grinderman – “Heathen Child”
Album: Grinderman II
Label: Mute
Director: John Hillcoat
(NSFW) If you were waiting for the video where Nick Cave shoots lasers out of his eyes and farts an atomic blast, it’s here. As a YouTube commenter LoPan99 put it, “Nick Cave has finally lost his fucking mind. May he never find it.”

14. Jónsi – “Go Do”
Album: Go
Label: XL
Directors: Arni & Kinski
Directors Arni & Kinski use light like Jónsi uses sound.

Jónsi - Go Do
Uploaded by EMI_Music. - Watch more music videos, in HD!

13. Hot Chip – “I Feel Better”
Album: One Life Stand
Label: EMI
Director: Peter Serafinowicz
Nick Cave isn’t the only one who’s lost his mind—or who’s shooting lasers out of his eyes. This is the best kind of ridiculous.

12. Yeasayer – “O.N.E.”
Album: OddBlood
Label: Secretly Canadian
Director: Radical Friend
Yeasayer goes sci-fi with the same director of last year’s “Ambling Alp” video. The band’s “Madder Red” video is pretty great, too.

11. Lissie – “Everywhere I Go”
Album: Catching a Tiger
Label: Columbia
Director: Marcus Soderlund
This video just features Lissie. Oh, and an elephant.

10. Hollerdao – “Americanarama”
Album: Record in a Bag
Label: arts & crafts
Director: Greg Jardin
This clever “8-Bit Human” video was shot in a single take, using a four-by-six grid and a lot of posterboard.

Plus, the original 2008 video with Dave Foley:

9. The Avett Brothers – “Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise”
Album: I And Love And You
Label: American Recordings
Director: Jason Mitcham
Mesmerizing animation of a single street’s growth and decay.

8. Lady Gaga – “Telephone” (feat. Beyonce)
Album: The Fame Monster
Label: Interscope
Director: Jonas Åkerlund
There’s no current pop-star as adept at the visual medium with the possible exception of Beyonce, and the pair team up for a Thriller-esque short film.

7. LCD Soundsystem – “Drunk Girls”
Album: This is Happening
Label: DFA
Directors: Spike Jonze and James Murphy
Panda bears are mean. And this video is insane.

6. OK Go – “White Knuckles”
Album: Of the Blue Colour of the Sky
Label: Paracadute/Capitol
Director: Trish Sie
What’s better than a choreographed OK Go video? A choreographed OK Go video with dogs.

5. Josh Ritter – “The Curse”
Album: So Runs the World Away
Label: Pytheas
Director: Liam Hurley
Josh Ritter’s tale of an Egyptian mummy comes to life through artful puppetry.

4. Janelle Monae – “Tightrope” (feat. Big Boi)
Album: The ArchAndroid
Label: Wonderland / Big Boi
Director: Wendy Morgan
Janelle Monáe can dance a little, and that’s never been more evident than this wonderfully choreographed video.

3. Cee Lo Green – “Fuck You”
Album: The Lady Killer
Label: Elektra/Roadrunner
The kiss-off song of the year was already great with nothing but kinetic typography, but it got better with the introduction of Little Cee Lo and High-School Cee Lo, who grow up to turn things around on The Heartbreaker:

And the original typographic version:

2. Arcade Fire – “ We Used to Wait (The Wilderness Downtown)”
Album: The Suburbs
Label: Merge
Director: Chris Milk
This interactive short film lets you put your childhood home into the video. Visit WildnerssDowntown.com to customize it for yourself.

1. OK Go – “This Too Shall Pass”
Album: Of the Blue Colour of the Sky
Label: Paracadute/Capitol
Directors: James Frost
Nobody puts as much care into music videos as OK Go, and they’ve outdone themselves with the Rube Goldberg version of “This Too Shall Pass.”

Plus, here’s a marching-band version:

Tags: list, music video

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