1) Katy Perry, 'Firework'
Director: Dave Meyers
From the 2010 album Teenage Dream
2) The All-American Rejects, 'It Ends Tonight'
Director: Wayne Isham
From the 2005 album Move Along
I went through a period of really liking The All-American Rejects. It had something to do with the video for 'Dirty Little Secret', I think, and the fact that the video beat me to adopting Postsecret for my high school photography project by about three weeks. This song was one of the songs on their album that I tolerated, and in this video I still catch myself looking at the appalling acting and wondering why Wayne Isham couldn't have done something about that. But the trick to this song, I think, is that it's geared, almost top-heavy, so that it runs headlong toward that final chorus. And when those fireworks go off in that last minute or so, all the silliness and histrionics of the rest of the video disappear. I forgot about Tyson's ridiculous angst as he piled a shopping cart high with explosives, and instead enjoyed the moment where the drama of the pyrotechnics matched the strength of the song. Much as I hate to admit it, this song has a power to it, even if it is only because the singer pours a lot of unnecessary emotion into it.
3) Feist, 'I Feel It All'
Director: Patrick Daughters
From the 2007 album The Reminder
What the video for 'It Ends Tonight' lacked was discipline. Hidden in the very core of this video is a qualified ton of that. Almost every beat of the song is associated with a crackle of perfectly-timed fireworks, and yet it's shrouded in this wonderfully innocent performance. It reminds me of being a kid on Guy Fawkes; when I was actually a kid, ten or so, not like now when I'm twenty-two and just act like a kid. Being able to run around with these fireworks, like they were being set off for no other reason than that they just look pretty. But, once again, it comes back to the discipline that's in this video, whether in the impressive design of the video itself, considering it's a oner (there must have been a lot of rehearsal to get Feist next to the right barrel when the charges went off), or the courage with which she jumps into the lake in the final moments (we assume it's cold as she wears gloves). The real moment that sells this video to me, and which is heightened by being able to hear the fireworks go off, is similar to the moment that makes 'It Ends Tonight' work: when five perfectly synchronised towers of sparks kick off after the awesome crane shot, right on cue.