Eminem's new single "Not Afraid" is a fantastic return to form for Slim Shady, as it does little more than lay a beat down and let him spit crazy, passionate verses over it. The video, which premiered over the weekend, also taps into a visual place that Eminem has not tapped into in several years. The aggressive, serious nature of the song made him leave behind the wacky trappings of his funny videos and focus on intensity and visual poetry (the sort of thing he used to do with clips like "Stan" and "Lose Yourself"). "Not Afraid" casts Eminem first as a man wandering the streets and then as a Neo-like superhero looking for redemption.
But the whole thing starts on a rooftop in Newark, New Jersey, which brings to mind a number of other famous clips that heavily feature bands playing on the tops of buildings. "Not Afraid" immediately jumps onto this list.
Collective Soul, "The World I Know"
The video for this moody ballad (from the grunge-era rockers' self-titled second album) features a businessman in a suit who slowly contemplates his own doom as he walks to the top of a building in a city. But just as he is about to jump, he is saved by the grace of a bird. Rather than send his body into oblivion, he sheds a few tears and tosses a load of cash instead.
U2, "Where the Streets Have No Name"
Like the Beatles before them, U2 took their equipment to a rooftop, started playing and caused a near-riot in the process. Still, it was all worth it, as "Where the Streets Have No Name" became a huge hit for the band and the video immediately became iconic in music video history.
The Click Five, "Just the Girl"
What do you do when a hot band is playing on the roof of your school? Pass the note in class and storm upstairs to rock with them! This clip wins bonus points for having helicopter shots.
Guns N' Roses, "Don't Cry"
Ignore the goofy narrative about Axl Rose and his mistress in that cabin and focus on the rooftop shots. Not only does this clip feature helicopter shots, but it also features shots of helicopters, which means that no fewer than three whirlybirds were used in this clip. Plus, the whole thing happens at night. Bonus game: Watch out for an appearance by late Blind Melon frontman Shannon Hoon.
Gary Jules, "Mad World"
All of the action takes place on the ground below, but this impressive bit of synchronization was clearly shot from a rooftop, which makes it ever more amazing.
Arctic Monkeys, "Leave Before the Lights Come On"
What person hasn't had the "I'll meet someone special by convincing her or him not to leap from a tall building" fantasy? This clip also gets bonus points for featuring actress Kate Ashfield, who played Shaun's put-upon girlfriend Liz in "Shaun of the Dead."
What's your favorite rooftop scene in a music video? Let us know in the comments!