Top 5 One-Take Music Videos

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.

Author: Mark

Share This Post On


  1. Hooray! no OK GO! When I saw the post title I thought please don’t show them. The bald head and sideboards hurts my soul. Plus phwoar for Darcy.

    Post a Reply
  2. Know a lot about music? Come jam with us. We’re looking for knowlegeable music lovers to act as correspondants on our new website. Please visit and submit and application today!

    Post a Reply
  3. good call with die krupps.I always used to think that the first spice girls video was done in one take but I just read that there are actually two edits in it.Live and learn!

    Post a Reply
  4. Sugar Water was my favourite because it seriously messed with my head, and to do it in one take is amazing. I’m going to watch it again once my eyes have uncrossed.

    Post a Reply
  5. You know as of late I have had to deal with a lot of Hip-Hop "artists" that need some serious producing. They have been coming to me for about three years now to teach them various things pertaining to music; what a bridge is or more specifically what it isn’t, what progressions go together, why they are called "artists" when all they do is rip everyone off they can to make a song that sounds cool as a ring-tone. Needless to say I always greet them with my "Rap is crap support real music" t-shirt to let them know exactly where I stand.

    That being said I have unwillingly had to listen to a lot of that crap. All I can say is the very first video is the best of the lot. Abdoninal fucking KILLED IT! Very old school approach and the video was just the icing on the cake. I actually enjoyed it. As for the rest:

    Lucas: Odd video, crappy song. Big Band plus Rasta plus Soul = Dog Shit.

    Dead Krumpetts: You should be ashamed of yourself Mark. Like the solo though.

    Ava Odor: Yeah, did your overly pretentious Uncle Fester looking asshole ever think that maybe the video might not be completely flushed down the toilet by you panning left to right as so NOT to expose the tracks the camera is gliding on? Two words Billy: Get Fucked!

    I am glad I never saw that video before you posted it.

    Sugar Water: ??? Ok so the timing was cool. And then…………………

    Post a Reply
  6. Malice: Yeesh. What an appropriate name for you.

    Post a Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *