Spike Jonze’s 10 best music videos, before he was an Oscar winner


Spike Jonze poses in the press room with the award for the best original screenplay of the year for “Her” during the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre on Sunday, March 2, 2014, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Way back in 1994 — two decades before his sci-fi-rom-com “Her” would snare an Oscar for best original screenplay — Spike Jonze was busy defining what new music should look like.

The young director’s highly inventive music videos were fun, cool, hilarious, ubiquitous and massively influential — and his work with the Beastie Boys, Sonic Youth, the Breeders and Weezer set the tone and feel for years of MTV to come. I remember hairball teenagers actually taking up golf after Jonze’s video for Dinosaur Jr.’s “Feel the Pain” landed on “120 Minutes.” And it only got bigger. In 1999, Jonze might have invented flash mobs with his video for Fatboy Slim’s “Praise You.”

Need a quick primer? Here are Jonze’s 10 best music videos:

1. The Pharcyde, “Drop” (1996)
?emit lla fo oediv cisum tselooc eht siht sI.

2. Wax, “Califonia” (1995)
Music video as haiku.

3. Fatboy Slim, “Weapon of Choice” (2000)
It’s a top-three Jonze video. Is it a top-three Christopher Walken role?

4. Bjork, “It’s Oh So Quiet” (1995)
Why can’t “Glee” be more like this?

5. Beastie Boys, “Sabotage” (1994)
Hip-hop legends truly having a blast.

6. Kanye West and Jay-Z, “Otis” (2011)
Hip-hop legends truly having a blast.

7. Weezer, “Sweater Song” (1995)
Jonze also directed Weezer’s “Happy Days” mash-up clip for “Buddy Holly,” but that one didn’t have a slow-motion dog stampede.

8. The Breeders, “Cannonball” (1993)
In 1993, this is what rock-and-roll sounded like and looked like.

9. Velocity Girl, “I Can’t Stop Smiling” (1994)
All ironic portrait sessions at Sears date back to this video from Washington’s own Velocity Girl.

10. MC 900 Foot Jesus, “If I Only Had a Brain” (1994)
Perhaps the best example of how Jonze could make a lousy song seem really cool.

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Chris Richards has been the Post's pop music critic since 2009. He's recently written about the joys of heavy metal drumming, the perils of "poptimism" and six months in the life of D.C. rapper Shy Glizzy.
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