Greatest Animated Music Videos of All Time - Rolling Stone
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The Greatest Animated Music Videos

Animated clips from Pearl Jam, Radiohead, Tool, U2, Gorillaz, Daft Punk, and more

Greatest Animated Music Videos: Pearl Jam, Radiohead, Tool, U2, Gorillaz, Daft Punk

Rolling Stone

Animated music videos are a staple of the medium and a go-to for artists who either do not want to appear in their own clips or — for one reason or another — don’t have the time to turn up for a video shoot. Animation has become a lot cheaper and easier to produce in recent years, so the number of cartoon clips have skyrocketed, particularly among smaller acts on a tight budget. Here, our pick of some of the greatest animated videos of all time, including unforgettable creations by Radiohead, Pearl Jam, Gorillaz, and more.

Pearl Jam, ‘Do the Evolution’

Pearl Jam

Pearl Jam, ‘Do the Evolution’

Pearl Jam swore off music videos after “Jeremy” blew up in 1992 but returned to the medium in 1999 with this animated clip for “Do the Evolution,” directed by comic book superstar Todd McFarlane.

Gorillaz, ’19-2000′

Gorillaz

Gorillaz, ’19-2000′

Damon Albarn’s Gorillaz project was originally conceived as the music for an animated band created by his collaborator, comics legend Jamie Hewlett. “19-2000,” one of their earliest clips, is most effective in getting across the charm of Hewlett’s goofy characters.

Radiohead, ‘Paranoid Android’

Radiohead

Radiohead, ‘Paranoid Android’

Magnus Carlsson’s animated clip for Radiohead‘s “Paranoid Android” sidesteps the high-concept videos from the band’s previous album while highlighting the nightmarish absurdity of the lyrics.

Tool Sober music video

Tool

Tool, ‘Sober’

Tool have made a number of animated videos, but Fred Stuhr’s stop-motion clip for their breakthrough hit “Sober” set the template for many disturbing videos to come down the line.

Kanye West, ‘Heartless’

Kanye West

Kanye West, ‘Heartless’

Kanye West teamed up with video legend Hype Williams for the “Heartless” video, a homage to Ralph Bakshi’s 1981 rotoscope animation classic American Pop.

Wilco, ‘Dawned On Me’

Wilco

Wilco, ‘Dawned On Me’

Darren Romanelli’s clip for Wilco‘s “Dawned On Me” has the distinction of being the first hand-drawn Popeye cartoon produced in a quarter century.

a-ha take on me music video

a-ha

A-Ha, ‘Take On Me’

A-Ha’s “Take On Me,” a staple of early MTV, is one of the most iconic animated clips, with live action mingling with some very stylishly drawn pencil illustrations.

U2, ‘Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me’

U2

U2, ‘Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me’

U2 wrote the space-age glam tune “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me” for the Batman Forever soundtrack, so it was only sensible that the group would appear as cartoons in this clip. Bono’s Zoo TV-era Mr. Macphisto persona is ideally suited to animation, particularly in how it echoes the look of Batman’s archnemesis, the Joker.

bjork, I miss you music video

Bjork

Bjork, ‘I Miss You’

Björk has made a number of animated videos, but the best is “I Miss You,” in which she appears as a cartoon illustrated by Ren and Stimpy creator John Kricfalusi.

matthew sweet girlfriend music video

Matthew Sweet

Matthew Sweet, ‘Girlfriend’

Matthew Sweet’s breakthrough hit “Girlfriend” includes footage cut from Space Adventure Cobra, one of the rocker’s favorite Japanese animated movies.

Spoon, ‘Everything Hits at Once’

Spoon

Spoon, ‘Everything Hits at Once’

Peter Simonite and Divya Srinivasan’s video for the opening track from Spoon’s 2001 album Girls Can Tell captures the melancholic tone of the music with simple, bold images that play out the romantic angst of the lyrics without getting overly literal.

Paula Abdul, ‘Opposites Attract’

Opposites Attract

Paula Abdul, ‘Opposites Attract’

The video for Paula Abdul’s late Eighties smash “Opposites Attract” is a cheeseball classic, with the future American Idol judge playfully dancing around with MC Skat Kat, the greatest rapping animated cat in the history of pop music.

REM man-sized wreath music video

REM

R.E.M., ‘Man-Sized Wreath’

R.E.M. are best known for their inventive live-action clips, but later in their career, Michael Stipe began teaming up with animators such as CRUSH Inc., the Toronto studio responsible for this striking video for the Accelerate tune “Man-Sized Wreath.”

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