This is the best music video I have seen since Christopher Walken dancing in an empty hotel to Weapon of Choice, and that was like ten years ago.
Hot Chip - I Feel Better
Hot Chip | MySpace Music Videos
It is directed by Peter Serafinowicz, the Brit who is the voice of Darth Maul and the creator of Look Around You (he also played a small role on Spaced). The thing, without explanation, is just awesome, and thoroughly hilarious, mostly because of the inspired absurdity, pointless and ridiculous violence, and the mischievous facial expressions of the bald guy. I also especially like a detail that skims by too quickly at the opening -- one guy is named "Kyng" and another "Mar'Vaine." What follows may be over-reading but I thought I would throw it out there anyway. Forgive me for the fact that my references are 10 years old. Someone who knows music better than I will be able to give better examples, I am sure.
I think the video is about how the sexy overproduced musical acts such as the Backstreet-Boys-style group that opens are just the public face of music created by sickly-skinny nerdy bald Moby-looking white dudes. Fans would be horrified if they were confronted with this uncool source, and indeed one of the best parts of the video are the horrified looks of the fans, confronted by this unglamorous badly-lit weirdo at 1:09 and 1:29 -- in fact I would read the looks as disappointed more than anything else. The singers react confidently, thinking that cool will carry them but they are each destroyed in turn, after being mocked for their meaningless gestures -- and it is significant that they are taken down by energy that comes pouring from the mouth, like singing -- this is where the music comes from, and part of the surprise of the moment is not just the vomited blue energy so much as the sound effect added: most music videos do not add sound, even sound effects, over the original song (since the video is just supposed to showcase the song), but this one does. The bald guy has the power to create sound where we expect none. He is the source they cannot stand against. Each guy in the band tries to support themselves by preening for the audience, but they are merely an effect and not a source and cannot save them. It is wonderful that they never break character and the screams of the audience when one is killed are funny because they are followed by everyone forgetting and being freshly shocked at the next kill, rather than running or freaking out. These are the fickle fans of the boy band.
After the singers are annihilated there is a weird moment of respectful silence as we move into the next bit -- the revenge of the nerds fantasy is followed by the contradictory fantasy of the nerd JOINING the group, becoming cool like them, wearing matching outfits and dancing with them, and being adored by screaming fans. (The bald guy's head movements at 2:38 are particularly great). The video reaches new heights as THIS is also revealed to be the last sin: like the boy band's preening, the bald guy's preening for the audience also ushers in revenge as the white nerdy guy is confronted by HIS source -- this disembodied black head. Just as Sexy Overproduced Bands live off the musical work of Skinny Bald White Dudes, so the Skinny Bald White Dudes live off the work of African musicians -- look at the black spirituals incorporated into Moby Songs or the Afro-pop influenced Vampire Weekend. Hot Chip themselves, the nerdy guys who appear in the crowd at the end and are destroyed by red lasers even as the skinny bald guy escapes on stage, count Prince and Stevie Wonder as influences. One of their most famous songs includes the lyrics "I'm like Stevie Wonder but I can see things," which is maybe one reason why the disembodied head at the end shoots lasers out of his eyes, rather than spew the same electric blue vomit as his opponent. One of the explanations of the British Invasion was that the British, because they don't have the same race issues because slavery did not take hold there as it did in the US, more fully and quickly embraced African influences (a teacher I had -- Perry Meisel, author of The Cowboy and the Dandy: Crossing Over From Romanticism to Rock and Roll -- claimed the Rolling Stones "Paint it Black" was about minstrelsy). And they are not as squeamish about pointing out such influences.
At the end of the Hot Chip Video, it is this big black head, the African musical source, that gets the last laugh, destroying the Backstreet Boys style front band, the nerdy members of Hot Chip themselves, the fans, and the sign with the name of the band. The whole video is about the revenge of sources on the people that profit from them.
Over-reading? More recent examples than the Backstreet Boys and Moby?
The British comedy team The Mighty Boosh, for example, makes a similar point to Serafinowicz's, and, like him, combines alien imagery with race (and minstrelsy specifically).