By Cole Parkinson
While music videos are still made and put on YouTube, the cultural importance they hold is much less than what it was in the 1980s, 1990s and even the early 2000s.
Being a kid growing up in the 2000s, I think I can safely say I was part of the last generation that would sit in front of the TV and wait for your favourite music video to come on — now, just pull up YouTube and the world is your oyster.
So, in this nostalgia trip, let’s explore my top 10 music videos.
These won’t necessarily be the best videos ever made (Thriller by Michael Jackson would be number one if it was), but these will be videos that had a big impact on my early life.
10. Paramore — That’s What You Get
I don’t necessarily think this is a great video, and in fact it’s not even Paramore’s best video, but it’s the song and video that introduced me to Paramore.
While the early to mid-2000s was filled with tons of pop punk bands, some good, some bad — and That’s What You Get is pretty much standard for a lot of those cheesy pop punk songs of that time. You get you classic band playing, solo shots of each member, and a party filled with tons of mid 2000s tropes.
If you grew up watching videos in the 2000s, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about, it’s not exactly award-winning-material.
But ever since that first view, I’ve been a Paramore fan, and Hayley Williams is easily one of my favourite musicians of all-time.
9. Guns N’ Rose — November Rain
While the previous entry was a pretty bare bones music video, November Rain is truly one of the greatest music videos of all time.
It’s basically a short film that oozes 90s from start to finish.
The shot of Slash playing guitar in front of the church in the middle of the desert is arguably the coolest anyone has ever looked, and that moment is etched into my brain forever. It had a major impact on me, and it was one of the driving factors for me wanting to pick up a guitar in the first place.
The entire rain sequence is also pretty funny — shoutout to the guy who dives through the wedding cake for no reason!
8. Billy Talent — River Below
Billy Talent blew my mind in the early 2000s because before them, I can’t remember a local radio station ever playing a band like them. And when River Below started making its rotation on MuchMusic, I remember sitting around waiting for it to come on daily.
It’s a pretty simple video in general, but watching the band play in that garage was always something I thought looked so cool.
Despite this, the video certainly caused some controversy with the ending, as it ends with a man so annoyed with Billy Talent playing across the street, he sets off a bomb. Because of this, it was even edited, and I’m pretty sure I never saw the actual ending until it was put on YouTube much later.
7. Fall Out Boy — Dance Dance
Going right back to the well of mid-2000s, Fall Out Boy was huge when they released their second album From Under the Cork Tree. While every one of the videos released for the album are etched in my brain, Dance Dance was always my favourite. Set at a high school homecoming, it truly is a funny video. Dorky Pete Wentz and Patrick Stump makes me laugh every time. While some of the humour probably went right over my head as a kid still in middle school, I still loved every part of it. Wentz jumping over Joe Trohman’s back was also so cool to me as a kid.
6. Sum 41 — Makes No Difference
I remember back in the 90s and early 2000s when Much Music used to release compilation albums called Big Shiny Tunes, and the one I had was Big Shiny Tunes 5 — which featured Makes No Difference. From the moment I first heard it, I fell in love with Sum 41.
The video is another traditional “band plays at party that gets out of hand” video, but as a kid, it was my dream to play at a show like that. This was right after American Pie was released, so it has a very similar feel. Also DMX’s cameo riding a quad into the middle of the living room is absolutely random, but hilarious.
It’s still my favourite Sum 41 song to this day.
5. My Chemical Romance — Welcome to the Black Parade
Pretty much every MCR video was cinematic, but the first one I remember being in awe of was Welcome to the Black Parade.
I was in middle school when the album came out, and everyone was listening to it. The costumes, the overall vibe of the video, and of course the song are all top notch and it still stands up today. Certain parts creeped me out as a kid, I mean look at some of the masks.
And it was cool there’s a sequel to the music video with Famous Last Words — which is another great video.
4. Smashing Pumpkins — Today
I wasn’t alive when it was released, but when I found out about the Smashing Pumpkins, the first real exposure I had other than hearing the odd song on radio was the Today music video and 1979 being on one of the radio stations in Grand Theft Auto IV.
I can’t remember which came first, but by that time YouTube was pretty popular, and I probably played the Today music video for days on end. Billy Corgan driving around in an ice cream truck has to be one of the 90s most recognizable music video images. The video filters used throughout the video are also so 90s.
For such a depressing song lyrically, the video and music are so happy, it almost doesn’t make sense why everything works so well — but it does.
3. AC/DC — Jailbreak
In the spring of 2005, AC/DC released a video album titled Family Jewels. My dad bought it and I bet I played both discs a hundred times throughout the summer of 2005.
I can remember each so vividly it’s really quite absurd, and while I have a ton of favourites, Jailbreak is at the top.
I wouldn’t be who I am today without that entire collection, and Angus Young is the biggest reason I ever wanted to play a guitar.
The video itself is spectacular. Bon Scott is the greatest front man of all-time and he’s in full force during the video. There’s explosions, gunfire, a jail break (obviously) — what else could you ask for?
2. Green Day — American Idiot
There’s a lot of great Green Day videos, but I vividly remember watching American Idiot for the first time. Everyone has an album or two that changed their life, and American Idiot is one of those for me.
The video was released in the summer of 2004, and it really is a great, yet simple video. Green Day is playing in a warehouse in front of a wall painted with an American flag, and eventually the flag starts to melt which leads to plenty of chaos. It perfectly encapsulates Green Day at that point of their career, and as a nine year old, it sparked my love for punk rock music.
While previous generations had their ideal rockstar, Billie Joe Armstrong was one of those guys for me, especially during the American Idiot era.
Like AC/DC, Green Day was the other big influence on me picking up a guitar, and I couldn’t venture a guess on how many times I pretended to be him when I plugged in my guitar.
All of the videos from the American Idiot album are special to me, but the title track will forever hold the number one spot due to the affect it had on me as a kid.
1. blink-182 — What’s My Age Again?
I think I could have put a handful of blink songs here because they’ve put out tons of quality videos, but I think What’s My Age Again? is still their best. As a kid, watching three grown men run in downtown Los Angeles with nothing on but sneakers was hysterical, and honestly, it still is. Say what you want about blink, but they didn’t take them selves too seriously, and it always led to great music videos.
There’s a ton of great moments in the video, but my personal favourites are the kid looking through the magnifying glass when Tom, Mark and Travis run by, Mark doing the cartwheel during the dance sequence or when the Enema of the State nurse walks by.