02 augustus 2011

Music Video Gods: #30 Jonas Åkerlund

jonas-akerlund1.jpgAs MTV is celebrating its 30th birthday this month, music video polls are popping up all over the place - like this one from Billboard, in which Michael Jackson, Britney Spears and Lady Gaga are crowned music video king and queens of the '80s, '90s and '00s. I know, right? Truth be told, I also started working on my personal Music Video Top 30 - quickly turning it into a Top 100, and still I felt like I was leaving hundreds of masterpieces out. So in the end, I decided not to focus on the videos but on the geniuses who made them.


In the next 30 days, I'll be posting my 30 favorite music video directors - counting down to my absolute favorite, and starting with Jonas Åkerlund at 30. Honestly, I wasn't quite sure whether to include him or not. Yes, he made one of the best music videos of all time: The Prodigy's Smack My Bitch Up (1997; see below).


Prodigy_Smack_My_Bitch_Up_012452_18-25-29.jpgMoreover, the guy was really on a roll around that time: the following year he also made Madonna's Ray of Light (see below), The Cardigans' My Favourite Game and Metallica's Turn the Page. Åkerlund continued to direct a number of noteworthy music videos for a.o. U2 and Robbie Williams, he introduced Sacha Baron Cohen to the world in Madonna's Music, directed the short film Try with Billy Corgan (which was also the basis for The Smashing Pumpkins' Try Try Try) and made two feature films: Spun (with Mickey Rourke and Brittany Murphy) and Horsemen (with Dennis Quaid and Zhang Ziyi). Unfortunately, neither was remarkable (nor successful) and Åkerlund's recent music video output hasn't been all that exciting either.


The Swedish director continues to play in the major music video league, and while there is nothing really bad about Lady Gaga's Telephone (2010; see below), there's nothing truly exceptional about it either. Oh, and he can definitely do a whole lot better than that recent N.E.R.D. video he did for Hot-n-Fun.