Back when MTV played music, a music video had the power to make a song more popular. (See also: $,$$$,$$$). In Millennial terms, the song would go “viral” on network television.
Artists quickly learned to embrace the video format to enhance — or parody — their image in order to entice more eyes and ears. (Now, all music videos from the 80s seem like parodies).
In 1984, music videos became a product musicians could be awarded for, at the first-ever MTV Video Music Award show, hosted by Dan Aykroyd and Bette Midler.
During MTV’s heyday, artists didn’t need to rely on tacky product placement in order to produce a polished video because record labels provided a decent budget for music videos. This is simply not true today.
Most directors and producers still employ the “sex sells” strategy when crafting a music video. A short list of trailblazers crafted music videos that double as animated short films — and that’s where we’re a viking.
Here are our Top 10 picks for the best music videos featuring stop animation.
Honorable mention: The California Raisins commercial featuring Michael Jackson
Thanks to YouTube, you can watch a bizarre homemade video of Michael Jackon partially directing the raisins.
10. Fleet Foxes – White Winter Hymnal
This music video demonstrates what happens to hipsters as they age.
9. Tool – Sober
Give the clay protagonist larger eyes and paint the room black and white, and you’ll have a Tim Burton movie!
8. Grizzly Bear – Ready, Able
Yes, that’s a claymation penis you just saw flailing in the air at the 2:40 mark.
7. OK Go – Last Leaf
The members of OK GO are over-achievers when it comes to producing music videos. This one is no exception.
6. In Your Arms – Kina Grannis
In case you need inspiration for your dried bean art.
5. We Have Band – You Came Out
This is what the product of 4,816 still images and a lot of patience looks like.
4. The White Stripes – Fell In Love With A Girl
We fell in love with The White Stripes when we first saw this music video in 2001.
3. Oren Lavie – Her Morning Elegance
Oren Lavie, who? We always knew this artist as “Cool Stop-Motion Video of a Woman in Her Bed.”
2. Son Lux – Change Is Everything
One word: mesmerizing.
1. Peter Gabriel – Sledgehammer
The kingpin of all stop-animation music videos! This video won nine MTV Video Music Awards in 1987 (the most awards a single video has ever won), and is the most played music video in the history of MTV.