Despite being slightly more obscure, for some reason the video for Matthew Sweet's 1991 hit "Girlfriend," from the album by the same name, was the first song to occur to me when I thought up this little project.
I suspect this has to do with the animation used for the video itself; that is to say due to my love for anime, this video's use of animation from Space Adventure Cobra is more significant to me and thus more memorable. We were still four years away from the domestic release of Sailor Moon, which I consider the watershed moment for anime in the United States, and while one could find anime if one knew where to look in 1991, it was still very unusual to see anime or anime-influenced materials out in the wild that were not already familiar shows such as Robotech, Speed Racer, Battle of the Planets, and so on. On top of that, it is around this time period that I started to pay more attention to popular music, having been forbidden to listen to "the Devil's music," a restriction that seems kind of strange considering how big a fan of ABBA my mother happens to be, and Matthew Sweet's sound was distinctive enough to stand out from the other crap being played on the Top 40 radio stations to which I was listening. Hell, I still love that album almost twenty years later.
I do not know what to say about the A-ha video that has not already been said by people far more knowledgable than I. The amalgation of animation and live-action was groundbreaking in 1985 and, aside from the TRAGIC style choices, is still a very cool video today.
After ruminating on this for a couple of hours, the only other animated video I could think of is the video for "Fell In Love With a Girl" by the White Stripes. I do not know why this did not occur to me sooner as it combines a pretty decent song, which is now stuck in my head, with Lego and I LOVE Lego.
And that is it, kids. I am SURE there are some animated music videos out there that I am missing. Probably some REALLY obvious ones. If you guys can think of videos I missed, leave 'em in the comments and I will do a follow-up post here in a week or two.