Agency A-List 2007

Music Video

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Phoenix

"Funky Squaredance"

Phoenix are a bunch of Frenchman, which explains why their video has zero commercial potential. Ordinarily, this would be a good thing, though this nine-minute, text-heavy hodgepodge - in which director Roman Coppola points out in his onscreen musings that the band didn't have much money for the vid, so he decided to do a stream of consciousness thing in which anything and everything goes - doesn't really have any artistic payoff. Then again, neither does the song, which is frequently described by fans of the band - way too charitably - as a "three-part epic." Nevertheless, the clip, despite its length, is a guaranteed sit-through, since there's all this text to read and one doesn't know what's coming next. Which is to say, there's always the possibility that something sexy or violent will happen - though it doesn't. But this is definitely scoring points for being completely different.

Director/Editor: Roman Coppola, The Directors Bureau

Motion Graphics: Johannes Gamble, Bucky Fukumoto

Mariah Carey

"Boy (I Need You)"

A cool Japanese pop-cult smorgasbord - in a Mariah Carey vid? Yeah, we know she's crazy, but what the hell? The story, according to the production company, is something along the lines of Mariah and crew were in Tokyo on a publicity tour and it was decided, sort of on the spur of the moment, to do a video with an Asian theme. We're told that in the clip she's supposed to be a star who is manufactured and controlled by the Yakuza, but in the end it's all revealed to be a videogame. Whatever. There are indeed plenty of references to videogames, Godzilla, anime and virtual pop stars, and we particularly enjoy the completely incongruous inclusion of rapper Cam'ron, in standard 'hood wear, looking like he wandered in from an old episode of Yo! MTV Raps. The song, incidentally, as with almost all songs that have parentheses in the title, is so treacly-awful it's like choking to death on cotton candy.

Director: Joseph Kahn, Supermega Editor: David Blackburn

Effects: Hollywood Digital

Eminem

"Superman"

Shot mainly through the visual conceit of a fisheye peephole and letterboxed on the sides, for reasons we have yet to fathom, this is surely one of Eminem's best tracks - and the vid boldly stands up to the music. As a special bonus, the "dirty" version has some toplessness in it (compliments of porn star Gina Lynn, whom Em spends most of the clip throwing out of bed), which is, of course, one of the crucial elements of a great vid. That and a bare ass, in this case Em's, gives us more exposed anatomy than we dreamed of - and what a cute butt that stud has! Moreover, there are occasional overhead shots of nude orgy scenes thrown into the mix, which have the compositional elan of Hieronymous Bosch crossed with M.C. Escher. Marshall, as ever, is da law!

Director: Paul Hunter, HSI Editor: Bill Yukich

O'2L

"Stolen Beatbox"

Here's a video you haven't seen yet, and, just as rare, it's actually got an engagingly coherent narrative. The jazz/rockish tune, by Bang Music composer Jane Pitrelli, whose band is called O'2L, features an insistently pounding piano note that would, unsurprisingly, make great commercials music. The clip itself has all the brio of an award-winning Nike spot. The story involves a portable TV, on which Pitrelli is seen playing the song, which improbably exchanges hands all around New York, the action ranging from a bar to Times Square to the subway, with the TV finally crushed in a garbage truck. Very imaginative and crisply executed.

Director: Kohl Norville, Element Editor: David Lee, PS 260

Sigur Ros

"Untitled #1"

From these odd Icelanders (are there any other kind?) comes this 6 1/2-minute meandering, new-agey track, interpreted by the great Floria Sigismondi. After a slow, curious opening in which kids are being physically inspected by a schoolmaster, we get a somber, poetic meditation featuring gas-masked children playing around a wrecked car in what appears to be an ashen, postnuclear landscape, 'neath an ominous red sky. The toxic black snowman is a poignant touch. This has been instantly pegged on the web as an anti-war clip, though Sigismondi, who lives near ground zero in Manhattan, has been quoted to the effect that it's 9/11-inspired.

Director: Floria Sigismondi, Revolver Film Co. Editor: Michelle Czukar, Panic & Bob Effects: Susan Armstrong, Click 3x

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