Pitchfork Media published a list of “100 Awesome Music Videos”, with links to actual videos. It is not exactly numbered from 100 to 1, but Yo La Tengo’s “Sugarcube” is the next to last on page 10, which makes it a virtual number two out of hundred, which is not bad. By the same count, number one is ZZ-Top’s “Legs”, which is rather good too.
The list has many masterpieces – The Jacksons’ “Can You Feel It”, Blur’s “Coffee & TV”, Toni Basil’s “Mickey” etc. Interestingly, Björk is represented with a (good) video from her latter career and not with older favourites such as “Human Behaviour”, “Army of Me” or “Venus as a Boy”. But i really wanted to talk about “Sugarcube”.
The song comes from Yo La Tengo’s critical breakthrough I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One which came out in 1997. In 1997 i got online for the first time and immediately signed up to mailing lists about Sonic Youth, Tricky and dEUS, which were my favorites at the time. I kept seeing Yo La Tengo mentioned on all of them, but audio was very sparse on the web back in 1997 and i didn’t have much money to buy their records, which weren’t sold in Israel anyway. And then one day late at night i saw “Sugarcube” on MTV’s Alternative Nation, which was still rather good at the time. I was rolling on the floor laughing at the video, and i enjoyed the song too, even though with all the action in the video it was barely audible. That’s how my love story with Yo La Tengo got started. And today, when i watched it again, it made me cry yet again.
So, please enjoy the video. May you be successfull in learning where the hobbits dwell. And as a fun exercise – try to count the cultural references there. I may publish my count one day.