The Top 10 Retro Music Videos

Retro music videos are some of the most fun videos a band can put out. It’s a chance to show the band in a fun new setting while seeing how far the band can take the concept with modern music. So which are the best retro music videos? Here’s Rooktopia’s Top Ten:

#10 – R.E.M.: Tongue. R.E.M.’s oddest video (and that’s saying a lot about the guys who did “Losing My Religion”) reminds us why, from the ’80s through the ’90s, everyone totally made fun of the 70’s: the weird haird, the drepressingly lethargic evenings in front of the TV, the wood paneling, and the Bee Gees-style falsetto.

#9 – OutKast: Hey Ya!. It’s really tough to place this in era, but you do get a distinct feeling watching this video that it’s definitely retro. The stage setting is very reminiscent of the Ed Sullivan show, though I doubt that he ever invited a band that consisted of Andre 3000 clones.

#8 – Weezer: Buddy Holly. Weezer seems to pick up the most fun settings, even partying with the Muppets at some point. In one of their earlier hits, though, they employed some of the cutting edge technology of the time to stick themselves in an episode of Happy Days.

#7 – Lucas: Lucas With the Lid Off. Whenever I see this video, I remember the time when the world almost approached the perfect fusion of ragtime and rap. And I weep. Anyway, the video and the music pays tribute to the 1930-40’s Depression Era America, while keeping it’s main singer, Lucas, rooted in the present.

#6 – Beck: The New Pollution. Tough toss-up here. There are actually two great retro Beck videos: this and the more highly acclaimed “Where It’s At.” I love this one, though, for it’s wonderful use of the 60’s-style set pieces, the bold colors, and Beck’s sweet, sweet dancing.

#5 – Smashing Pumpkins: Tonight, Tonight. There aren’t that many videos that are retro all the way back to the turn of the 20th Century, but the Smashing Pumpkins manage to do it with their haunting and lovely tribute to the 1902 silent film “Voyage dans la lune.”

#4 – Madonna: Vogue. Strike a pose: Madonna reminds us of the 1940’s Hollywood glamour era and infuses it with modern sensibilities. I mean, I’m sure that people in those days didn’t wear her signature conical bras. The dancing here is kinda odd, but against all odds it still remains elegant. And I love the shout out to past Hollywood stars at the end. Bette Davis, we love you.

#3 – Christina Aguilera: Candyman. I’ve mentioned this before in another list, but hot dang this video is fun. Christina shatters all the bad perceptions I’ve ever had of her by playing an extremely hot version of the Andrews Sisters on a USO Tour. Everything just pops here: the big band music, the earth tone colors, and the Rosie the Riveter sequences.

#2 – Red Hot Chili Peppers: Dani California. Not content to just be retro to one era, the Red Hot Chili Peppers pay tribute to several major bands since Elvis. Half the fun is trying to figure out which bands they’re dressing up as: there’s the Beatles Sgt. Pepper-era band, Def Leppard, Nirvana… an extremely fun video.

#1 – Beastie Boys: Sabotage. What’s not to like here? It was directed by Spike Jonze and made the ’70s cool when everyone was hating that decade with a passion. The Beastie Boys star in an homage to those 1970’s cop movies that were all over the TV back in the day. But the video never treats itself too seriously. I’m telling y’all, it’s SABOTAGE!


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