Top 10 Music Videos Directed By Spike Jonze

Script by Michael Wynands If you’re in the market for a memorable music video, look no further than this guy. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’ll be counting down the Top 10 Music Videos Directed By Spike Jonze. For this list, we’re ranking some of his best work taking into account the unique qualities, memorable moments and overall cultural impact. Special thanks to our use Nicholas Zarach for suggesting this idea, check out the voting page at http://WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Spike+Jonze+Music+Videos
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Top 10 Music Videos Directed By Spike Jonze

If you’re in the market for a memorable music video, look no further than this guy. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’ll be counting down the Top 10 Music Videos Directed By Spike Jonze.
 
This acclaimed director is responsible for some of the most iconic music videos of the last few decades. For this list, we’re ranking some of his best work taking into account the unique qualities, memorable moments and overall cultural impact.
 

#10: “What’s Up Fatlip?” (2000)
Fatlip 

What makes Spike Jonze such a remarkable director? Apart from a truly distinct aesthetic, it’s the fact that he goes above and beyond simply making a music video for most projects. Reuniting with ex-Pharcyde MC Fatlip for his solo debut The Lonliest Punk, Jonze created a gritty, often uncomfortable but ultimately charming video that perfectly compliments the rapper’s unconventionally self-deprecating song. He also filmed a lot of b-roll over the multi-day shoot, material that would become the short documentary by the same name. It captures the world of drugs, booze and confusion that defined Fatlip’s life after splitting with Pharcyde, and provides context to the song’s themes, as well as insight into the eclectic style of the music video.
 

#9: “Sky’s The Limit” (1997)
The Notorious B.I.G. feat. 112

It was the final single from what would be the rapper’s first posthumous album, the appropriately titled Life After Death. Biggie was shot 4 times and died, just two weeks prior to the release of the album, making “Hypnotize” the last video he’d partake in. Kids standing in for adults has become somewhat of a cliche in music videos, but given the context of Biggie’s death, it feels like a fitting, and touching testament to the man’s life - a chance for Biggie to live out his childhood ambitions of success and luxury after death. Taking emotional cues from the song, Spike Jonze, then still new to directing mainstream rap videos, nonetheless achieved a perfect balance between hip hop excess and childish innocence.
 

#8: “The Suburbs” (2010)
Arcade Fire 

Win Butler, Arcade Fire's vocalist, summed up the band's third album as “a letter from the suburbs". Spike Jonze takes that theme for all it’s worth. The music video explores the stifling monotony of suburbia by making it a literal police state, and leaves the adolescent characters to create their own fun within it - however dangerous that might be. Spike Jonze expanded the video’s concept into a 30 min short film entitled “Scenes From The Suburbs”. It’s as bleak as it is beautifully shot, more visually similar to Jonze’s later films like “Where The Wilds Things Are” and “Her” than his early, gritty music video work. 
 

#7: “Flashing Lights” (2008)
Kanye West feat. Dwele

Three separate music videos were made for this song. This one was last to be shot, but first to be released. No one can explain Kanye’s logic better than Kanye himself, so to put it simply, he just didn’t like the first two. This led him to team up with Spike Jonze to get a finished product he’d be happy with. West deemed this video to be his favorite of the three and the world seems to agree with his choice as Pitchfork ranked it the 15th best music video of the 2000s, while Rolling Stone called it the 11th best video of 2008. Spike Jonze employed an effective slow motion technique while incorporating an artistic strip routine, and a violent end for the singer.
 
 

#6: “Triumph of a Heart” (2005)
Björk 

Some fans may prefer Björk’s earlier collaboration with Spike Jonze, “It’s Oh So Quiet”, in which the director manipulated the speed of the video to emphasize the changing tempo of the song to admittedly great effect. But 2005’s “Triumph of a Heart” is a wacky narrative tale, the likes of which only Jonze can pull off - including interspecies relationships, a nostalgic aesthetic, a roomful of scatting bar patrons and what can only be described as the greatest cat dance ever. The instrumentals in this song are truly frenetic, and it’s tough to imagine anyone else successfully putting together a video that does the song justice. 
 

#5: “Drop” (1996)
The Pharcyde 

Spike Jonze and Fatlip made magic together, but this video for Fatlip’s old crew, The Pharcyde, for their 1995 single “Drop”, is a testament to what Jonze can accomplish when he’s given not one, but four enthusiastic collaborators. J Dilla’s distinct use of looped samples played backwards pairs perfectly with Jonze’ reverse video. The members of Pharcyde literally had to learn all their verses in backwards to lip snyc to the song and their efforts made for a creepy, captivating, and endlessly rewatchable finished product. 
 

#4: “Sabotage” (1994)
The Beastie Boys 

What can be said about this iconic video that hasn’t already been said? The song has become synonymous with glorious action scenes with “Star Trek Beyond” being just the most recent example. But the most memorable action sequence to ever use it… was its own video - an incredible homage to 1970s crime dramas in the form of the opening credits of a fictional tv series called “Sabotage”. Jonze borrows from all the best '70s cop shows with the Beasties themselves going deep undercover. The project proved to be so gritty that MTV actually forced a re-cut of the video, but here in the digital era the original can easily be found in all its glory.
 

#3: “Buddy Holly” (1994)
Weezer 

1994 was a good year to be Weezer. 1994 was also a good year to be Spike Jonze, but it was a really good year for fans of Spike Jonze AND Weezer, as he made not one, but two videos for songs off their legendary self-titled debut album. “Undone - The Sweater Song” was the band’s first single and music video.  Filmed as a single shot, a technique that Jonze would revisit many times, on a blue stage with a bunch of dogs, the video was a hit. But it was their second single, “Buddy Holly” and the brilliant, nostalgic, Happy Days-inspired concept developed by Jonze that would cement the band’s fame. The video earned 4 MTV Video Awards and is featured at the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan.
 

#2: “Da Funk” (1997)
Daft Punk

You know a music video is serious when it earns itself a distinct title. The music video for “Da Funk” is titled “Big City Nights”. The song is instrumental, giving the anthropomorphic dog Charlie, our hero, plenty of speaking time. His broken boombox, which constantly pumps the catchy beat, causes him a certain amount of grief and alienation in the city he newly calls home. The meaning of the story is highly debated, but one thing is for sure, it demonstrates Jonze’ ability to pull at the heartstrings of viewers. The band and fans alike were so touched by Charlie’s hard luck story, the character was brought back for a later Daft Punk-directed music video to give him a happy ending. 
 
Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.
 
“100%” (1992)
Sonic Youth
 
“Feel The Pain” (1994)
Dinosaur Jr. 
 
“Drunk Girls” (2010)
LCD Soundsystem

 
“Get Back” (2004)
Ludacris
 
 

#1: “Praise You” (1998)
Fatboy Slim

While Jonze and Fatboy Slim may have only made two videos together, their combined artistic endeavours are unparalleled. The 2000 video for “Weapon of Choice” featured an iconic performance by none other than Christopher Walken (or should we say … Christopher Dancin’?). But it's the video for “Praise You” which feels like the definitive work in the respective career of each artist. It is simple yet utterly captivating. It feels, candid, unabashedly silly and nonetheless oddly beautiful. Shot in a sly, guerrilla-style, the video features Jonze and a pack of dancers - the fictional Torrance Community Dancers – performing for the general public - including the very real cinema employee who turns off their boombox. An $800 well spent.
 
Do you agree with our list? Which of Spike Jonze’ many excellent music videos do consider to be his best? For more captivating top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.










Top 10 Music Videos Directed By Spike Jonze
If you’re in the market for a memorable music video, look no further than this guy. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’ll be counting down the Top 10 Music Videos Directed By Spike Jonze.
 
This acclaimed director is responsible for some of the most iconic music videos of the last few decades. For this list, we’re ranking some of his best work taking into account the unique qualities, memorable moments and overall cultural impact.
 
#10: “What’s Up Fatlip?” (2000)
Fatlip 
What makes Spike Jonze such a remarkable director? Apart from a truly distinct aesthetic, it’s the fact that he goes above and beyond simply making a music video for most projects. Reuniting with ex-Pharcyde MC Fatlip for his solo debutThe Lonliest Punk, Jonze created a gritty, often uncomfortable but ultimately charming video that perfectly compliments the rapper’s unconventionally self-deprecating song. He also filmed a lot of b-roll over the multi-day shoot, material that would become the short documentary by the same name. It captures the world of drugs, booze and confusion that defined Fatlip’s life after splitting with Pharcyde, and provides context to the song’s themes, as well as insight into the eclectic style of the music video.
 
#9: “Sky’s The Limit” (1997)
The Notorious B.I.G. feat. 112
It was the final single from what would be the rapper’s first posthumous album, the appropriately titled Life After Death. Biggie was shot 4 times and died, just two weeks prior to the release of the album, making “Hypnotize” the last video he’d partake in. Kids standing in for adults has become somewhat of a cliche in music videos, but given the context of Biggie’s death, it feels like a fitting, and touching testament to the man’s life - a chance for Biggie to live out his childhood ambitions of success and luxury after death. Taking emotional cues from the song, Spike Jonze, then still new to directing mainstream rap videos, nonetheless achieved a perfect balance between hip hop excess and childish innocence.
 
#8: “The Suburbs” (2010)
Arcade Fire 
Win Butler, Arcade Fire's vocalist, summed up the band's third album as “a letter from the suburbs". Spike Jonze takes that theme for all it’s worth. The music video explores the stifling monotony of suburbia by making it a literal police state, and leaves the adolescent characters to create their own fun within it - however dangerous that might be. Spike Jonze expanded the video’s concept into a 30 min short film entitled “Scenes From The Suburbs”. It’s as bleak as it is beautifully shot, more visually similar to Jonze’s later films like “Where The Wilds Things Are” and “Her” than his early, gritty music video work. 
 
#7: “Flashing Lights” (2008)
Kanye West feat. Dwele
Three separate music videos were made for this song. This one was last to be shot, but first to be released. No one can explain Kanye’s logic better than Kanye himself, so to put it simply, he just didn’t like the first two. This led him to team up with Spike Jonze to get a finished product he’d be happy with. West deemed this video to be his favourite of the three and the world seems to agree with his choice as Pitchfork ranked it the 15th best music video of the 2000s, while Rolling Stone called it the 11th best video of 2008. Spike Jonze employed an effective slow motion technique while incorporating an artistic strip routine, and a violent end for the singer.
 
 
#6: “Triumph of a Heart” (2005)
Björk 
Some fans may prefer Björk’s earlier collaboration with Spike Jonze, “It’s Oh So Quiet”, in which the director manipulated the speed of the video to emphasize the changing tempo of the song to admittedly great effect. But 2005’s “Triumph of a Heart” is a wacky narrative tale, the likes of which only Jonze can pull off - including interspecies relationships, a nostalgic aesthetic, a roomful of scatting bar patrons and what can only be described as the greatest cat dance ever. The instrumentals in this song are truly frenetic, and it’s tough to imagine anyone else successfully putting together a video that does the song justice. 
 
#5: “Drop” (1996)
The Pharcyde 
Spike Jonze and Fatlip made magic together, but this video for Fatlip’s old crew, The Pharcyde, for their 1995 single “Drop”, is a testament to what Jonze can accomplish when he’s given not one, but four enthusiastic collaborators. J Dilla’s distinct use of looped samples played backwards pairs perfectly with Jonze’ reverse video. The members of Pharcyde literally had to learn all their verses in backwards to lip snyc to the song and their efforts made for a creepy, captivating, and endlessly rewatchable finished product. 
 
#4: “Sabotage” (1994)
The Beastie Boys 
What can be said about this iconic video that hasn’t already been said? The song has become synonymous with glorious action scenes with “Star Trek Beyond” being just the most recent example. But the most memorable action sequence to ever use it… was it’s own video - an incredible homage to 1970s crime dramas in the form of the opening credits of a fictional tv series called “Sabotage”. Jonze borrows from all the best '70s cop shows with the Beasties themselves going deep undercover. The project proved to be so gritty that MTV actually forced a re-cut of the video, but here in the digital era the original can easily be found in all its glory.
 
#3: “Buddy Holly” (1994)
Weezer 
1994 was a good year to be Weezer. 1994 was also a good year to be Spike Jonze, but it was a really good year for fans of Spike Jonze AND Weezer, as he made not one, but two videos for songs off their legendary self-titled debut album. “Undone - The Sweater Song” was the band’s first single and music video.  Filmed as a single shot, a technique that Jonze would revisit many times, on a blue stage with a bunch of dogs, the video was a hit. But it was their second single, “Buddy Holly” and the brilliant, nostalgic, Happy Days-inspired concept developed by Jonze that would cement the band’s fame. The video earned 4 MTV Video Awards and is featured at the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan.
 
#2: “Da Funk” (1997)
Daft Punk
You know a music video is serious when it earns itself a distinct title. The music video for “Da Funk” is titled “Big City Nights”. The song is instrumental, giving the anthropomorphic dog Charlie, our hero, plenty of speaking time. His broken boombox, which constantly pumps the catchy beat, causes him a certain amount of grief and alienation in the city he newly calls home. The meaning of the story is highly debated, but one thing is for sure, it demonstrates Jonze’ ability to pull at the heartstrings of viewers. The band and fans alike were so touched by Charlie’s hard luck story, the character was brought back for a later Daft Punk-directed music video to give him a happy ending. 
 
Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.
 
“Feel The Pain” (1994)
Dinosaur Jr. 
 
“Drunk Girls” (2010)
LCD Soundsystem
 
“Y Control” (2004)
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
 
“Get Back” (2004)
Ludacris
 
 
#1: “Praise You” (1998)
Fatboy Slim
While Jonze and Fatboy Slim may have only made two videos together, their combined artistic endeavors are unparalleled. The 2000 video for “Weapon of Choice” featured an iconic performance by none other than Christopher Walken (or should we say … Christopher Dancin’?). But it's the video for “Praise You” which feels like the definitive work in the respective career of each artist. It is simple yet utterly captivating. It feels, candid, unabashedly silly and nonetheless oddly beautiful. Shot in a sly, guerrilla-style, the video features Jonze and a pack of dancers - the fictional Torrance Community Dancers – performing for the general public - including the very real cinema employee who turns off their boombox. An $800 well spent.
 
Do you agree with our list? Which of Spike Jonze’ many excellent music videos do consider to be his best? For more captivating top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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