By Natalya Jones
By County Grind
By Liz Tracy
By Chris Joseph
By Liz Tracy
By Matt Preira
By Jesse Scheckner
By Michael E. Miller
Arcade Fire, "Neighborhood #2 (Laika)," "Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)," "Rebellion-lies": Arcade Fire doesn't screw around when it comes to videos. The "Neighborhood #2" and "#3" entries feature intricately animated worlds, one like a water-stained children's book and the other a digitally animated caper, which stars little dudes who look like Jawas in Santa outfits and ends in a climactic battle at a power plant. But don't bother watching "Rebellion-lies" on a computer or an iPod: The footage of the band shooting bolts of lightning at kids undoubtedly looks cool on TV, but the effect is lost on a Post-It-sized window.
Spoon, "Sister Jack": Love the song, like the '60s-rock knockoff, but can't stand the video, which all too literally follows the track's title by showing a dude walking around in a nun's habit. Britt Daniels, you're lucky the chicks dig your narrow little face, 'cause there's nothing else to look at here.
Bright Eyes, "Lua" and "Lover I Don't Have to Love": Bright Eyes is king of the cheap music video. In "Lua," Conor Oberst sits in a thrift-store parka at a bus stop and just plays the song on his acoustic, with two cameras filming him (one of them gets in the other's shot). If you're a member of the "It's Conor, OMG!" club, you can just gaze at his face as he plays. We're not, so this just made us realize how damned long "Lua" is. By contrast, in "Lover I Don't Have to Love," you never even see the boy wonder: This one's produced like a karaoke video, with the song's lyrics running across the screen. That sounds lame, but it's actually a great gag. Have you ever downed a few Pink Slippers and given a crowd your best impression of Oberst's cracked vocals? Believe us, it's liberating.
Deerhoof, "Dog on the Sidewalk": At less than a minute long, this one's just a series of photos of dogs on sidewalks. Thanks, but we already have that screen-saver.
The New Pornographers, "All for Swinging You Around": We saved the best for last. This unbelievably great video shows a bunch of incredibly cute and wholesome Canadian girls decked out in camisoles and PJs, dancing to this song, sometimes in slow motion. It's so hot, they don't even need to tickle each other! But not only do we enjoy the video but it sums up the genius of the New Pornographers: They write pop songs that make teen girls want to dance. Isn't that why we invented music in the first place? Chris Dahlen