A list of – in my opinion because it’s the only one that counts around here – the best music videos filmed in one take. Think of it as the Brian de Palma Music Video awards but try to hide the memory of Mission To Mars that surfaces if you do so.
This Ruben Fleischer-directed video shows Abdominal walking through downtown Los Angeles rapping to camera while the chaotic world behind him pretends it can’t see the strange man talking to himself. Technically there are some good things happening too; the different speed rates of the video sequences and the scale of the video shoot are pretty impressive. Of particular note in this video is the impressive pimp-walking by Abdominal; a lesson for any would-be pimp-walkers out there. Also, schoolgirls and a nurse in stockings! Oh yeah.
Director Michel Gondry has a unique approach to video-making; he usually utilises seven dimensions of space and three of time to visualise them. Sometimes the result is beautiful and uplifting. Those ones are ditched; nobody must see a beautiful and uplifting Gondry video! The keepers are the videos that hurt your mind in a good and a bad way at the same time. Lucas With The Lid Off is one of those videos that make you think both "Ooh, impressive set-ups and choreography" and "Only a madman could come up with this! A madman I tells ya!"
Compared to the other videos listed, this particular one – by one of the earlier industrial bands I ever listened to, Die Krupps – is by far the simplest in terms of production. Its high rating, though, comes mainly from two elements: firstly, the video takes place in a toilet. A toilet! Would you ever see, say, George Michael perform in a toilet? Okay, bad example. Secondly, one of the cubicles includes a couple of old men in suits dancing with one another. You’d pay top dollar to see a show like that anywhere in the world and here it is in this video for free! Wowsers!
One of my favourite videos of all time thanks to the feel and production of it features Billy Corgan in the midst of his Nosferatu period along with the other members of Smashing Pumpkins moving from set to set along both sides of a tracking camera. Great use of speed-changes, filled with just the right amount of pretentious shit to remind you it’s the Smashing Pumpkins, and it’s nice to see the occasional shots of the entire set and camera tracks to get an idea into how the video was made. Bonus points for this video come from D’arcy’s innovative backwards-dancing style. It’s the style I always use at weddings and parties. No Macarena for me! Thankyou D’arcy.
Yeah, you just knew that mad genius of a Frenchman Gondry would get another entry in this list didn’t you. It’s not as visually stunning immediately as some of his other works, nor is it as instantly impressive as Smashing Pumpkins’ Ava Adore, for instance, but then you start to think about the video. And you watch it again. And then you watch just the left side. And then the right. And you take some headache tablets. And you watch it again. And you think of the timing that goes into the video. And, ultimately, because this is a top 5 list of one-take videos you realise that since this video features two of the buggers simultaneously then it simply has to be the best. So it is.