5. Arcade Fire – “We Used To Wait”
This is obviously on my list for its innovation and new level of fan interaction. (If you haven’t seen this before, it’s a collaboration with Google where you can put in your address and the video is customized with Google Maps footage.) Arcade Fire have always been good at crafting messages that are easy to make personal, so this really takes it to another level. Except when I tried to put in my address, I couldn’t see my house, which I was mildly disappointed in because I live very close to Google. (Fun fact: A guy I went to high school with had a summer job on the Google Maps helicopter photography team. That’s how you know you’re really from the Bay Area.)
4. Jay-Z – “On To The Next One”
I had never really spent very much time thinking about Jay-Z before watching this video. The aesthetic is just mind-blowing, stark and elegant, no excess. This has become my favorite song of the year. (I was unsure if it qualifies as a 2010 song, but it does according to my frantic Googling, so I’m going to go with that.)
3. Das Racist – “Who’s That? Brooown!”
This is another interactive one, as there’s also a game version. (I didn’t do very well on it, I’m pretty sure I let the band get eaten by sharks when I tried to play.) Done in an 8-bit animation style, this video isn’t exactly the height of visual refinement, but it still has a lot to offer. There are hoverboards, Kirsten “I’m suing Vampire Weekend for $2 million” Kennis as a villain, some light Sarah Palin mockery, and more!
2. Vampire Weekend – “Giving Up The Gun”
Obviously, I love this song. This is just a great combination of aesthetic purity, layers of cultural references, humor, and a reasonably compelling narrative. It actually sort of reminds me of “On To The Next One” with the way space is used. “Giving Up the Gun” got a decent amount of attention for its bizarre collection of cameos, including Jake Gyllenhaal, Lil Jon, RZA, and Joe Jonas. Even though this year has been such that the Joe Jonas appearance isn’t as funny now as it was when the video debuted in February, these guests add an ever-so-slightly surreal aspect to it.
Also, it’s hard to resist anything that involves people setting stuff on fire with their eyes.
1. Duck Sauce – “Barbra Streisand”
I have spent the past two-plus months pretty much wanting to live in this video. I mean, why wouldn’t you? This may not be a particularly ambitious promo in terms of telling a story, but you can’t beat that vibe. You could call the cameos gimmicky, but everyone’s legitimately connected somehow, and Kanye and Pharrell are just so undeniably cool that it shouldn’t even be a question. It’s kind of disappointing that this song never really took off in America the way it has in Europe. Its catchiness is out of control. I’m looking forward to hearing more from Alain and Armand.