We rejoiced at the news, earlier this week, that VH1 is bringing back Pop-Up Video, which we’ve missed ever since it went off the air in 2002. In addition to the pop and rock videos the original provided fascinating factoids about, the new version of the show will feature hip-hop videos for the first time. After the jump, check out our list of wonderful, bizarre, and downright baffling post-Pop-Up– Video-era music videos that we hope to see the show explain — and be sure to leave your own suggestions in the comments.
Radiohead — “Lotus Flower”
“Lotus Flower” is the first single from Radiohead’s beat-driven King Of Limbs, and the release of its music video sent the internet into a tizzy. The clip is five monochromatic minutes of Thom Yorke wildly gesticulating in a bowler hat. Sure, various blogs poked fun at “Lotus Flower,” and Yorke’s spastic dancing created a hillarious new meme, but there are questions that remain to be answered. How many takes did Yorke need? Where is this barren warehouse? Can the Radiohead frontman also dance the White Swan?
Jay-Z — “99 Problems”
“99 Problems,” produced by Rick Rubin, was the third single from Jay-Z’s The Black Album. The track’s Mark Romanek-directed music video is shot entirely in black-and-white and sees Jay-Z and Rubin cruising through the streets of Brooklyn, showcasing the street life that shaped Hova as a rapper. That the pair spent most of the shoot interacting with regular New Yorkers suggests that this video has a plethora of great behind-the-scenes stories. Also, the video’s violent final scene is frequently edited out when played on most networks — it would be valuable to have Romanek or Jay-Z’s thoughts on the controversial ending.
The Black Keys — “10 AM Automatic”
The video for The Black Keys’ “10 AM Automatic” contains all the elements necessary for the ultimate pop-up video: direction by David Cross, a Hasidic Jew played by comedian Jon Glaser, a Black Keys public-access television performance in front of a group of elderly fans, and a security team’s manhandling of a rather enthusiastic granny. Plus, the fact that the stage-rushing senior is actually singer Dan Auerbach’s own grandmother is the kind of fodder that Pop-Up Video thrives on.
Gorillaz — “Feel Good Inc.”
We wonder which direction Pop-Up Video would take in dealing with the Gorillaz. Would it take the fictional world of the band’s cartoon members at face value or reveal more of the logistics behind Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett’s animated collaboration? “Feel Good Inc.” is the first single off of the Gorillaz’s Demon Days, and the music video represents a stylistic departure for the band — the surreal clip features a depth of color and computer effects previously unseen in the Gorillaz’s animation. Any details Pop-Up Video could provide on the band’s increasingly stunning special effects or the lives of 2-D, Murdoc, and Noodle would be welcome.
R. Kelly — “Trapped in the Closet”
No explanation necessary.
Lady Gaga feat. Beyoncé — “Telephone”
You could really devote an entire episode of Pop-Up Video to Lady Gaga. While choosing just one of videos is difficult, we think “Telephone” would provide the bubble writers with the juiciest material. We are sure the show’s handling of Gaga and Beyoncé’s Pulp Fiction-esque epic would be hilarious, with headpiece counts and “Pussy Wagon” jokes aplenty. Plus, we really want to see how the show would explain the line, “I told you she didn’t have a dick.”
LCD Soundsystem — “Drunk Girls”
When LCD Soundsystem released “Drunk Girls,” their first single from This is Happening, it became our bad-choices anthem. When the band released the video for “Drunk Girls,” well, we had some questions only Pop-Up Video can answer. In the clip co-directed by Spike Jonze and LCD Soundsystem main man James Murphy, the band members are attacked by people dressed in creepy panda costumes. We wonder why Jonze and Murphy chose pandas as the band’s antagonists — they are, after all, second only to kittens as YouTube’s most adorable stars, making even sneezing cute. Do the directors have something against pandas? Who got the pleasure of playing these champagne-popping evildoers?
Kanye West — “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” (alternate version)
The first music video released for “Can’t Tell Me Nothing,” the lead single from Graduation, featured a Hype Williams-directed Kanye West performance in a barren desert landscape. About a month after its premiere, West’s official website posted an alternate clip featuring comedian Zach Galifianakis and indie rocker/actor Will Oldham (a.k.a. Bonnie “Prince” Billy) lip-syncing the track on Galifianakis’ North Carolinian farm. We are dying to know how this music video came into existence. Also, just who are those blue-dressed dancers?
Britney Spears — “Gimme More”
“Gimme More” was the lead single off of Britney Spears’ fifth studio album, Blackout. It is reported that the accompanying music video’s concept of a brunette Spears cavorting around a stripper pole was provided by the pop star herself. The video was filmed while Spears was going through the most intense of her highly publicized breakdowns, and her lack of confidence is palpable. With this in mind, we’re fairly certain that Pop-Up Video could dig up some gossip-worthy (albeit sad) stories from the music video’s production.
Weezer — “Keep Fishin'”
We love the Muppets — we own all five seasons of The Muppet Show on DVD and got just a bit teary-eyed when we watched the teaser trailer for their new movie. So, when we first saw the video for “Keep Fishin’,” in which Weezer performs on the legendary Muppet Show stage, we couldn’t help but feel like we were reliving our childhood. In classic Muppets fashion, there are hijinks backstage, a flustered Kermit, and the crotchety duo of Waldorf and Statler mocking the performance from afar. In our opinion, anything that involves the Muppets is sure to have Pop-Up Video worthy tales. In fact, their collaboration with Weezer proved so entertaining that MTV released a “making of” documentary before the video’s premiere.