Dancing Astronaut’s Top 10 Block Rockin’ Big Beat Music Videos
In the late 90s and early 2000s, electronic music experienced a brief but influential revival on US airwaves, championed by the big beat sounds of Fatboy Slim, The Chemical Brothers, The Prodigy and others – each of whom’s aggressive approach to dance music took our popular culture by storm. Not only were the tracks some of the most iconic of the time, but their music videos were equally influential – allowing the big beat sound to infect airwaves and television sets alike. The charm of this era of dance music speaks to most dance music fans – it sparks nostalgia for a simpler time, when the parties were deeper, the beats bigger, and the scene much more authentic. We’ve put together our 10 favorite big beat songs and their accompanying videos after the break, so grab your weapon of choice, find your head, start a fire or two and then let forever be – these are the Dancing Astronaut‘s Top 10 Block Rockin’ Big Beat Music Videos.
10. The Prodigy – Firestarter
Released in 1996, “Firestarter” was the The Prodigy’s first number one single in the UK, launching the group into international spotlight. Filmed in an abandoned tunnel in the London underground and led by Keith Flint’s punk vocals, the track and subsequent video were deemed “too scary” for children – exiling the video to late night airplay.
9. The Chemical Brothers – Block Rockin’ Beats
Quite possibly the track that redefined the Chemical Brothers career, “Block Rockin’ Beats” debuted in 1997, receiving a Grammy for Best Rock Instrumental Performance and a #1 spot on the UK Singles chart. Fast-paced cinematography combined with the tracks blistering bass line and drum sections work in tandem to create a gritty vision of the London dance scene.
8. The Crystal Method – Name of the Game
The first single off The Crystal Method’s “Tweekend,” features guitars from Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello, vocals by Ryan Maginn, and the scratching of DJ Swamp. The main character “Nosey” takes center stage, showcasing his impressive breakdancing skills – but sadly, despite the “To Be Continued” ending, “Nosey” has not appeared in videos since.
7. Groove Armada – I See You Baby
Great music videos are never without heavy doses of innuendo and humor and Groove Armada’s “I See You Baby” has plenty of both. Beautiful women, a voyeuristic security guard and one of big beat’s most recognizable choruses combine to deliver a video worthy of number 7 on our countdown.
6. The Prodigy – Breathe
Dark and foreboding are not terms often associated with the neon-clad EDM of 2013, but back in 1999, The Prodigy dominated the dance market with haunting electronica and some of the most unsettling imagery in music video history. After “Firestarter” was considered too scary, the group pushed the envelope yet again, creating an unnerving, bug-infested atmosphere for “Breathe’s” video debut.
5. The Chemical Brothers – Let Forever Be
In 2003, The Chemical Brothers created a kaleidoscope of dream sequences for the “Let Forever Be” music video. The track, featuring the vocals of Noel Gallagher of Oasis was a classic in its own right, but Michel Gondry’s ground-breaking cinematography made “Let Forever Be” one of the most well-known videos from group, garnering widespread media attention and achieving cult status in the world of music videos.
4. The Prodigy – Smack My Bitch Up
Taking the award for most controversial dance music video of all time is no easy task, but The Prodigy’s “Smack My Bitch Up” managed to get itself banned from MTV before it ever had the chance to officially air. Following a first person’s view into the seedy underworld of London nightlife, this uncensored version is Not Safe For Work – you’ve been warned.
3. Fatboy Slim – Praise You
Video responsibilities for Fatboy Slim’s sample-heavy big beat classic “Praise You,” were handed over to Spike Jonze, who shot the video guerilla style as the Torrance Community Dance Group. The video only cost $800 to produce but went on to win three major awards at the 1999 MTV Video Music Awards – back when MTV was still musically relevant and played music videos.
2. Basement Jaxx – Where’s Your Head At
The incredibly infectious chorus of Basement Jaxx, “Where’s Your Head At” is still finding its way into dance music sets in 2013, but its visual representation, released in 2001, is as funny as it is unsettling. Set in a music laboratory, it turns out that the “latest thing in pop music” are actually musical monkeys, with Felix and Simon appearing superimposed on some prodigious primates.
1. Fatboy Slim – Weapon of Choice
Arguably the best music video of all time, Fatboy Slim’s “Weapon of Choice” became a cult classic from the moment the beat kicks in and a nimble Christopher Walken starts his now famous dance routine. Until Christopher Walken reprises his role, there will never be a music video as shockingly out-of-character and refreshingly fun as “Weapon of Choice.”