10 Most Random Music Video Cameos of 2010
Fact 1: Double your star power and the buzz around your music video will increase a katrillion times over.
Fact 2: We're terrible at math. But the point still stands: adding a random celeb to your music video will get it noticed (or at least get it blurbed on Dose.ca). It's a tactic (gimmick?) that kept recurring throughout 2010, so we compiled 10 of our favourite examples. You're welcome.
1. Yeasayer, "Madder Red"
Featuring: Kristen Bell
Veronica Mars was just so damned good, there's this unofficial rule that Kristen Bell fans will go crazypants over anything she does, regardless of quality: Heroes, When in Rome...the second and third seasons of Veronica Mars. This surreal video from director Andreas Nilsson sort of makes up for all her missteps -- but you may just have to be one of those hardcore Bell fans to make it through to the end without a pang of nausea. The actress plays a girl with a sick pet -- that pet being a slimy, barfing, anthropomorphic tumour.) As for how Bell became involved, Nilsson told Pitchfork earlier this year that she was his first choice for the video, but landing her for the gig was totally an act of fate. "We went her the treatment and never heard back. Then, a couple days later, I was at the Apple store in Santa Monica and she was there," the director said. "So we went up and just talked to her. It was divine interference. And she had a dog that died two weeks before we shot it, so she was quite close to the experience."
Madder Red by Yeasayer from Secretly Jag on Vimeo.
2. Vampire Weekend, "Giving Up the Gun"
Featuring: Jake Gyllenhaal, RZA, Joe Jonas, Lil Jon
Guy has crazy dream about his friend playing tennis with a samurai. Guy pitches dream to director as music video concept -- and suggests that rappers RZA and Lil Jon guest star, just for funsies. Director runs with it, and recruits two dreamy heartthrob-types (Joe Jonas, Jake Gyllenhaal) as an added bonus. According to reports, that's pretty much how this video came together. Yeah, life must be good for Vampire Weekend (hipster backlash, aside).
The band's Ezra Koenig told Spinner that the video's assortment of crazy cameos was pretty much as random as it appears: "I was pretty surprised it all worked out," he told the outlet. "We always thought RZA would be perfect. We'd been in touch with Lil Jon since the first album. He heard the reference on 'Oxford Comma' and sent us some cases of Crunk Juice. Joe Jonas and Jake Gyllenhaal were both excellent -- lot of improvisation and some surprisingly powerful serves."
3. LCD Soundsystem, "Pow Pow"
Featuring: Anna Kendrick
Sure, Anna Kendrick tends to get cast in Pollyanna-ish lil sis roles (see: Up in the Air, Scott Pilgrim). But in this video, she's the one in control. Mess with this girl and she'll EAT YOUR SOUL. No, really. She will, and she looks like she enjoys it. Director David Ayer (Training Day) told MTV that Kendrick plays a "shape-shifter" in the (confusing) video. Not that she appears to actually shift her shape or anything. Most of the time she's just cruising around the city with a team of burly bodyguards, zapping rich dudes with white light Sookie Stackhouse-stylez and revelling in more Illuminati imagery than a Jay-Z joint.
4. Kid Cudi, "Erase Me"
Featuring: Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Clark Duke, Kanye West
Kid Cudi's recent declaration that he's giving up rap for rock? Bizarre.
Kid Cudi casting dorky comedians Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Superbad) and Clark Duke (Hot Tub Time Machine) for this video? More bizarre.
Kid Cudi making a pale imitation of an old Weezer video for this pale imitation of an old Weezer song? Even more bizarre.
Let's just all agree that 2010 wasn't Cudi's year, and watch the video anyway.
5. Gorillaz, "Stylo"
Featuring: Bruce Willis
With three albums, the Gorillaz line-up is transforming into something more like an army (or, going off their current Plastic Beach aesthetic, maybe a naval fleet?). But hey, there's always room for Bruce Willis. And the only way this self-aware cameo could have been radder is if there'd been room in the script for him to bust Hans Gruber.
Gorillaz stylo from TB303 on Vimeo.
6. Brandon Flowers, "Crossfire"
Featuring: Charlize Theron
If you're a straight dude, we can only imagine that adding Charlize Theron to any situation makes things better. That's doubly true when you happen to be kidnapped by ninjas, and the only person who can save you is a certain South African Oscar-winner.
7. Broken Bells, "The Ghost Inside"
Featuring: Christina Hendricks
So maybe this isn't the first time Christina Hendricks has starred in a music video (see Everclear's "One Hit Wonder" for some before-they-were-stars nostalgia). But that was before she was single-handedly bringing back the wiggle-dress as Mad Men's Joan Holloway. Broken Bells are such fans of her work in Mad Men they recruited her to star in their sci-fi video. The dystopian tale of an android (Hendricks) pawning her limbs so she can vay-cay on a resort planet, the video's kind of a stretch from taking meetings at Sterling-Cooper-Draper-Price. But, in the words of Broken Bells' Carey Mercer (as told to Entertainment Weekly): "It's, like, f*cking pro. And Christina Hendricks is in it!"
8. Islands, "No You Don't"
Featuring: Michael Cera
Maybe one day you were having an argument with a pal, and they were all like "That George Michael kid from Arrested Development keeps showing up EVERYWHERE." And then you said, "Oh, you mean Michael Cera. Yeah, he's even in that Islands music video." This would be the one you were talking about. (You were talking about the one where he gets so high he tries to beat up a puddle, right? Because that Michael Cera kid has been showing up EVERWHERE.)
Bonus fun fact: Cera is currently on tour with Nick Thorburn, the lead singer from Islands. They're part of an indie supergroup-of-sorts called Mister Heavenly.
9. Rock Mafia, "The Big Bang"
Featuring: Miley Cyrus and Kevin Zegers
Unless you're the world's biggest Cheetah Girls fan, you probably don't know much about Rock Mafia. After watching this video, you still won't know who they are (apart from being purveyors of Maroon 5-ish pop), but you will have seen Miley Cyrus get chased around town by that dude from Air Bud (Kevin Zegers).
10. Eminem and Rihanna, "Love the Way You Lie"
Featuring: Megan Fox and Dominic Cooper
Two times the star power: good. Four times the star power: that's how you break YouTube's all-time record for the most views in 24 hours. If they'd added Justin Bieber and/or Lady Gaga to this one it could've broken the interwebs.