Friday Discussion: The Most Iconic Music Videos

by Zack Zarrillo - Jun 21, 2013

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Music videos tend to matter less and less over time, but we all still have our go-to favorites. Whether it was on MTV, VH1, a band’s terrible 2003 website, or YouTube, music videos used to (and sometimes still do) entertain us to no end. We thought it’d be a great idea to do a new PropertyOfZack Friday Discussion on The Most Iconic Music Videos from our general scene over the past few decades. Check out our Discussion below and feel free to reblog with your favorite music videos!

blink-182 - What’s My Age Again, by Zack Zarrillo
It doesn’t matter if you discovered the music video for “What’s My Age Again” at age 14 in 1999, 2003, 2008, or 2013. When you found it, you 1) were laughing 2) were singing along while laughing, and 3) were watching semi-naked dudes on your computer or TV screen while hoping your mom didn’t walk in. 

4) You most likely fell musically and immaturely in love with blink-182. 

The video is classic blink and set the band up for so much that happened in the rest of their immediate and future career, by nature of putting together all the pieces of the puzzle to create a video that (by today’s definition) would be the most viral music video on the internet.

Saves The Day - At Your Funeral, by Brittany Oblak
This music video was released in 2001 and came out for the album Stay What You Are, when the band took on a much poppier direction. This music video got airtime on both MTV and MTV2, and it was also how I discovered the band. The video is shot in motion-control behind a young Chris Conley, showing what appears to be the life cycle of a family. The video’s directors were really into “Requiem for a Dream” at the time, hence them shooting it in this style, and it even features director Maureen Egan’s mom at the end. This video opened not only a lot of doors for the band, but helped increase their fan base as well. This song being the band’s biggest single and an iconic anthem for Saves the Day fans alike, this video is (appropriately so) just as memorable and admired as the song itself. 

Sum 41 - Still Waiting, by Marc Gary Gray
The hilarious introduction (thanks to a cameo by Will Sasso) to this video paints a perfect picture of the musical landscape in 2002. After enjoying a huge decade starting with Green Day’s Dookie in 1994 and culminating with blink-182’s Enema of the State in 1999, the momentum of the pop-punk movement had faded. In its place, garage rock bands like The Strokes and The White Stripes were sending popular rock music in a different direction. Enter Sum 41 and this song/video. They weren’t done with pop punk, and they were ready to prove it (and ready to poke fun at the nouveau chic). This is Sum 41 at their best: bratty, catchy, and fun as hell. 

The Replacements - Bastards Of Young, by Jesse Richman
The Replacements carved out a place in history as punk’s lovable losers, accidental geniuses who managed to cut themselves off at the knees each time success crept close, and nowhere is it more evident than here. After years of under-heralded brilliance, the ‘Mats signed a major label deal, gave the boot to talented-but-unreliable guitarist Bob Stinson, and churned out Tim, and album featuring nine of the most perfect songs ever complied on one disc (and two terrible ones, because that’s how the ‘Mats roll).

And yet, when it came time to make a music video for “Bastards Of Young”, a song that seemed sure to make the band stars, they handed the label…this. The greatest anti-video ever created. Three and a half minutes of a camera pointed at a stereo playing their song, while someone just out of view sits on the couch and has a smoke. That’s it. Wait through it all, and be rewarded with three seconds of catharsis at the end. It was a giant middle finger toward music video culture: there was no way MTV could have played it, and they basically didn’t. So much for success!

Of course, The Replacements are having the last laugh; they’ll be reuniting in a few months to headline all three of this year’s Riot Fests, atop lineups packed full of bands they inspired, including Against Me!, who have been known to whip out a killer live cover of “Bastards” from time to time.

Attack Attack! - Stick Stickly, by Donald Wagenblast
The song itself doesn’t matter. The story thrown together for the video doesn’t matter. All anyone will ever remember about the “Stick Stickly” video, and frankly all that needs to be remembered about the video/song/band, is that it was the world’s introduction and horrible first impression of crabcore.

Every Time I Die - Ebolarama, by Zac Lomas
As a hockey fan, I’ve always wondered what a mosh pit would look like on ice skates. To date, Every Time I Die’s roller-skating themed video for “Ebolarama” is the closest I’ve got to living that dream. The video opens with a disc jockey dropping the needle on what he describes as “The new Every Time I Die joint” before commencing the festivities with the classic line of, “now let’s bump it!”  What occurs next is pure chaos as approximately fifty hardcore fans skate around the furiously head-banging band.  

At one point guitarist Jordan Buckley even hurdles an oncoming skater mid-riff.  As the song approaches its hectic climax, this friendly open-skate turns into a full on mosh-pit as skaters collide into one another, creating one large pile-on in the center of the rink.  Of course, the members of Every Time I Die take this cue and crank things up a notch, destroying their instruments in the vein of The Who. After vocalist Keith Buckley’s closing line of “Last call, k-k-kill it!” one would expect the video to be over, however, the last shots of the video show the band holding hands and casually skating around the rink, adding classic Every Time I Die humor to the mix.  This video is both simple and entertaining, acting as the perfect complement to the song’s musical component. That is why it remains one of the most iconic hardcore videos of the past decade.

Fall Out Boy - Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down, by Donald Wagenblast
The “Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down” video was a breath of fresh air to the TRL scene when it was released as the first video Fall Out Boy shot to support From Under the Cork Tree. The video follows an adorably antlered boy chasing his sundress-clad crush, despite the lack of approval from her father. Meanwhile, Fall Out Boy is rocking out (really, really hard) in a mountain lodge. The video gave us so many iconic moments from the band: Pete Wentz’s “lick, lick salute” in the second verse, Andy Hurley pointing his drum stick to the heavens after crushing his cymbals during the bridge, Joe Trohman flailing and twirling around the entire room, and Patrick Stump’s not-so-subtle sideburns. 

"Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down" was the single that sent Fall Out Boy into the spotlight, and it wouldn’t have gotten there without this video, which teaches us that you can still find love if you look a little different, and that four emo kids could become some of the world’s biggest rock stars. 

New Found Glory - Head On Collision, by Jason Stives
A great music video will always leave a mark on a person, especially if it’s your first impression of a band. Weezer had “Buddy Holly” and blink-182 had “What’s My Age Again?” to cement their status in popular music and their overall personality as bands. New Found Glory had already released several music videos when the video for “Head on Collision” premiered in 2002, but it was by far the first video of theirs that made them stick out to me. 

Directed by the kings of low-budget film making, Troma Pictures, the video for “Head On Collision” best displays the band’s trademark sense of humor and their ability to never take themselves too seriously. While their video for “My Friends Over You” did much the same, the pratfalls and shtick the band partake in here was always something that made them far more likable than most bands around this time. In many ways, that video left quite an imprint on me because its the lasting image of the band that I still see to this day every time I see them on one of their numerous tours. It’s not only iconic to the pop punk sound of the early 2000s, but also truly memorable to fans like me who are still growing up with their music years later.

Green Day - When I Come Around, by Erik van Rheenen
The video for “When I Come Around” starts with the trio taking a nighttime stroll around San Francisco (Billie Joe Armstrong sporting the sweater that launched a thousand striped-sweater trends) and ends by making a surprisingly poignant statement about the threads that tie random human lives together. The video shows a series of people watching their neighbors’ routines in all of its bizarro nineties glory, until it eventually circles back to the first observer being observed.

Maybe its just a crafty setup to sell the “When I Come Around” punchline (because everything does come back around. Get it? Get it?), but I’d like to think Green Day drove home a solid point about how random lives can bump into each other, since we’re a seriously interconnected species. I might just be waxing philosophically about a simple pop-punk song, but it’s a simple video that drums up some not-so-simple ideas.

Wax - California, by Jesse Richman
The video for ’90s SoCal pop-punk band Wax’s “California” couldn’t be more straightforward. It’s just a simple, single camera, one-take slo-mo shot of a man in blue jeans and a windbreaker going for a run.

Oh, and did I mention he’s on fire?

Keep in mind, this was 1995: there’s no CGI tricks here, just one very brave and/or crazy man, fully engulfed . Director Spike Jonze would go on to serious critical acclaim for movies like Being John Malkovich and Adaptation. Meanwhile, Wax seem to have been so thoroughly forgotten that another act of the same name headed out on Warped Tour last year and nobody raised an eyebrow. But don’t underestimate their contributions to the scene; you might know frontman Joe Sib as the guy behind SideOneDummy Records, home to bands like Title Fight and Anti-Flag.

Jimmy Eat World - The Middle, by Erik van Rheenen
Jim Adkins and Co.’s video for their breakout smash was ambitiously unambitious, spinning a coming-of-age story in just shy of three minutes. While some bands in the turn-of-the-millenium pop-punk scene phoned in their “hey, it’s cool to do your own thing” message, Jimmy Eat World sold it with a lot of heart and a whole lot of young folks partying hard in their underwear.

The band sets its performance at a cool-kids-only, clothes-optonal house party, but the video is less about the band’s performance and more about a fully-clothed young protagonist (don’t worry: the band didn’t shed any layers for the shoot). It makes for a cute story about not surrendering individuality to fit in with the crowd — just as the boy starts stripping down, he meets a girl about to do the same, and the two walk off to presumably live happily ever after. It’s charming, endearing, and powerful: much like the song.

Simple Plan - I’d Do Anything, by Ashley Dean
Eleven years ago, Simple Plan stormed into the pop punk scene like a rocket with “I’d Do Anything.” As simplistic as the video is, it’s still very fun to watch. With a guest appearance by a young Mark Hoppus, the video is funny and made  viewers want to attend a Simple Plan show. “I’d Do Anything” also inspired me to make very bad fashion decisions, via wearing sweat wristbands and black nail polish (before it was cool). I still like the video and think Simple Plan was genius for putting Mark Hoppus on guest vocals and having him appear in the video, since it really helped advance their career. 

  1. rmserra13 reblogged this from propertyofzack
  2. avablink94 reblogged this from propertyofzack and added:
    Great videos by great bands
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  6. rhonettespeak reblogged this from propertyofzack and added:
    I agree with pretty much all of this.
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    No Sic Transit Gloria?
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