I saw a couple really cool animated music videos this week and it really got me wondering – what are the greatest cartoon / animated music videos of all time?! There’s a few that come to mind immediately and I know there are a ton that likely have fallen under the radar over the years.
The videos I’ve chosen are official ones by the actual artist, mainly more of an old school traditional animated or hand drawn style & I’ve steered away this time of the modern CG style stuff. Maybe some day I’ll investigate that further in the mean time check this out and most definitely let me know if I have left something off of the list – so let’s get crackin’ here as we figure out exactly what the coolest animated videos of all time are!!
Descendents – No Fat Burger (2016)
Here’s a brand spankin’ new video from one of my personal favorite bands of all time. The Descendents have been around since 1978 and packing the pop into punk like no other band can. This cool frantic animated video finally finds it’s cartoon mascot (and lead singer) “Milo” growing older and trying to resist eating everything unhealthy in sight. The band now in their fifties still has the energy but let’s face the facts, they just can’t eat the way they used to as teenagers. This is a call back to their classic song ‘I Like Food’. I always wanted to see the Milo character come to life in animation and the wait is finally over.
A-ha – Take On Me (1985)
Here’s one of the most popular videos of all time and it’s animated! Aside from this song being one of the best pop tunes of the 1980’s it also featured this incredible video filled with adventure & pure heart. The song was released several times but failed to chart, however when they produced this amazing video the whole thing exploded. One of the best things about it is that it tells a short action packed story that really sticks with you long after the video is over. The cool rotoscoping animation also gives it a hyper realistic quality no one had ever seen before in a music video. A true classic.
Freak Kitchen – Freak of the Week (2014)
Ok so I’m not a fan of the Swedish rock band Freak Kitchen I’ll admit BUT I am smart enough to know a damn good animated video when I see it! This one’s done beautifully by Juanjo Guarnido who raised around $140,000 on Kickstarter to produce this. It reminds me a bit of Don Bluth’s work which I’m a huge fan of. Anyway I think this one deserves a spot on the list for how much damn work must have went into it to make it look this great.
Vitamin X – About to Crack (2016)
Holy shit do I love this video and the song as well! This rad punk rock band from the Netherlands kicks complete ass and the video is chock full of some truly crazy shit moving along at lightning pace. The video was incredibly animated by Marco Imov and is the kind of thing I could watch over and over and over. The dude also did some awesome animation in the Descendents documentary ‘Filmage’. This shit is legit check it out!
Moby – Are You Lost In The World Like Me (2016)
I’ve never really gotten fully into Moby but this here video is an excellent social commentary about the modern world that’s also beautifully animated. It’s got that old time Betty Boop style feel to it but with a sense of dread & impending doom of of current culture. I love the the imagery and also the message. It says a lot about how we live today and what we find to be important. I think this one will be a good time capsule for this odd era of humankind we are experiencing right now.
Elvis Costello – Accidents Will Happen (1979)
I totally dig Elvis Costello, his song from 1979 is a great one and the video is equally impressive. This one also represents the era quite perfectly with it’s color scheme and stylistic animation. The most simplistic on my list, it reminds me a bit of A-ha’s ‘Take On Me’ at times though a bit more abstract. It’s a fun one to watch and special in that it was one of the first of it’s kind music video wise for the time.
Paula Abdul – Opposites Attract (1989)
Of course this video just had to make the list! Let’s face it, it’s a damn good time and the song is a total classic. We got a kind of ‘Cool World’ type of thing going on here as well and features the animated hit character ‘MC Skat Cat’. The cartoon cat was so damn popular they decided to green light an album by him. Yeah you heard that shit right, “MC Skat Cat” released his one and only album in 1991 called ‘The Adventures of MC Skat Cat & The Stray Mob’. Guess what it flopped! Oh well I feel like that’s another whole blog in itself!
Wilco – ‘Dawned On Me’ (2011)
Rock band Wilco released this cool video starring the band, Popeye and the rest of his gang. As a big fan of all things Popeye this was right up my alley. It’s a simple classic Popeye adventure with the band playing a catchy one while the usual Popeye style mayhem unfolds. The odd thing is that when all is said and done here Popeye leaves the scene an Olive decides to kick it with the band! OMG I had no idea she was a groupie – How dare she!!
Slick Rick – Behind Bars (1994)
Here’s a rad video from Slick Rick and it’s the only rap video on the list. It’s a great song with a truly unique video that captures the vibes of 90’s hip hop quite well. The animation style is super legit too and at times looks like it was colored with crayons. I dig it too because it’s most clearly done by hand which makes the sale for me complete. It was animated in the studio that produced Tom & Jerry to boot and done while Slick was behind bars! Check it…
Metallica – All Nightmare Long (2008)
Here’s a really cool video from Metallica for their comeback album Death Magnetic. This album found them a bit back to form of their 1980’s sound. This video however is quite an experience and features some truly menacing imagery. The song itself was inspired by a sort story called ‘The Hounds of Tindalos’ about a pack of wolves that hunt through their nightmares. I’m not 100% sure how all the animation was done but whatever the case it turned out to be one helluva frightening vision hauntingly put together by Robert Schober. The video seems to follow it’s own storyline through a chilling mocumentary.
Dye – Fantasy (2011)
This music video from French musician Juan de Guillebon aka Dye is easily one of the most bizarre things I’ve ever seen. If you don’t believe me dare to check out this completely batshit crazy video. It’s not for the feint of heart, you’ve been warned but it’s such an intriguing little cartoon that it’s got a whole page on Wikipedia devoted to theories of just what it all means. Beautifully drawn and utterly shocking this one is a thing of nightmares and will likely stick with you long after the video ends. Most definitely NSFW!
Still intrigued? Here’s a theory from youtube on just what the HELL went down in that video: