I came across an eclectic list of the “100 Best Music Videos” from an on-line publication called, Your Tango, with which I was not previously familiar. Bowie did not top the list (a distinction that belonged to the vile Kanye West for his song, “Runaway”), but had the most videos on the list. Beyond that, the introduction to the list identified Bowie as being the artist with the best videos overall. Included on the list were videos for “Life on Mars” (#8), “Let’s Dance” (#25), “Ashes to Ashes (#84) and Lazarus (#100). These are all good and influential videos, but they could have easily been swapped out for “The Jean Genie,” “Jazzin’ for Blue Jean,” “D.J.,” “Fashion,” “Blackstar,” or, especially, “Boys Keep Swinging.” I’ve also seen “Modern Love,” which is essentially concert footage, show up on fan-favorite lists. One of my favorites is “Little Wonder.” Bowie did great and innovative videos for “The Next Day,” “The Stars Are Out Tonight” and “I’m Afraid of Americans.” There are many others. So, I like the place of honor given to Bowie on this list. I won’t take issue with the videos chosen for inclusion even tough I would not necessarily have made the exact same choices.
I included as the video link the video for “Life on Mars” because it was the highest rated video from the list, even though it appears elsewhere in this blog.
So, what the heck, here’s my could-change-tomorrow top 10 list:
1. “Little Wonder”— the video elevates this overlooked song
2. “Boys Keep Swinging”— Bowie in drag as his own backup singers
3. “Jazzin’ for Blue Jean”— more of a movie event than a video
4. “The Next Day”— The video, starring Bowie, Gary Oldman and Marion Cotillard manages to tell a story that’s almost completely detached from the song itself
5. “Lazarus”— Bowie’s way of telling us he was dying
6. “Ashes to Ashes” – Iconic
7. “D.J.”- especially outstanding is the sequence of Bowie walking down the street with actual fans actually kissing him
8. “Blackstar”- another cinematic video, teeing up Bowie’s impending death
9. “The Jean Jeanie” – captures Bowie in the Ziggy era
10. “The Stars Are Out Tonight” – the video is far better than the song itself
Here’s what Your Tango wrote about Bowie’s contribution to music videos:
What artist has the best music videos?
While there are many amazing, talented artists on this list, we have to give a special mention to David Bowie for his profound impact on the visual art form.
As an artist, visuals and music were intrinsically linked for Bowie. Who could forget his iconic lightning bolt makeup or vibrant hair?
He was one of the early adopters of the music video, and no doubt contributed to translating this from a form of marketing to an art form within itself. That’s why he has gotten more mentions on this list than any other artist.