Music videos have always been a great way for bands to get noticed. Remember when MTV used to play music videos? Remember how boring it was to watch the same corporately funded videos over and over again? Thank goodness for the Internet!
These days, musicians have far more opportunity to reach audiences directly, without record-executive-gatekeepers dictating the creative process. The new era of music videos are edgier, more experimental, and come from a place of passion; since the music artists have greater influence on the final result.
Because there is always the possibility of a clip “going viral,” catapulting a band or artist from relative obscurity to superstar status, many musicians continue to invest in video production.
If you stopped watching music videos in the early 00’s, you’re definitely missing out. But don’t worry, I’m here to catch you up! Without further adieu, I present to you: 10 badass music videos for people who like music, and also video!
This live action video just screams FUN! It centers around professional modern dancers and other performers interacting with the band’s music, conveying a sense of reckless abandon through carefully choreographed movement. Like a cross between a wild party and a dreamscape, this video captures viewer attention and truly showcases the song.
The video for this song tells a story, with the lead singer as the main character. Relying on a vintage lo-fi aesthetic and dramatic sets and lighting, this simple concept is expertly executed. The play between light and dark, contrasting innocence and evil, matches the tone of the song perfectly.
3. Hudson and Troop – Against the Grain
If you’ve ever attempted a stop motion film, you know exactly how time-consuming this technique can be to nail down! This music video uses colored pencils as it’s subject, a clever play on the song’s title, to produce a simple, yet spectacular result.
The creators of this video were certainly not shy with the special effects! The band remains the primary focus through a cacophony of quick shots, which make interesting use of post-production effects. Everyone looks like they’re having a fun time, despite the dingy warehouse background and their all-black rockstar outfits. The carefully curated special effects bring life to the scenes, adding a playfulness without distracting from the band members or song.
5. Jonathan Coulton – Shop Vac
Using kinetic typography, this music video taps into the power of modern brand recognition, which the song itself subtly mocks. The choice to use typefaces we all associate with specific stores, products, and restaurants says so much– without saying anything at all!
6. The Avalanches – Frontier Psychiatrist
Based on the variety show format of the 1970s, the video for this song features classic TV overacting, vintage costumes, and bizarre imagery. Its is a funny, kind of twisted re-imagining of the Ed Sullivan era that moves right along with the song. The video flows so smoothly from start to finish it hardly feels like 4 minutes has gone by.
Creating a video for a song with no lyrics is a bit like staring at a blank canvas. This video uses beautiful composite animation and amazing special effects to tell a story with a powerful contemporary message. The tale of this little bee is captivating and visually stimulating, making the song itself more memorable.
8. Katy Perry – California Gurls ft. Snoop Dogg
Yes, Katy Perry made my list. But have you seen the video?! Bringing the classic CandyLand board game to life, this video features attractive ladies, lots of desserts, tons of color, and super amazing costumes. The candy-sweet video matches the pop song well and, honestly, it’s hard to look away!
This video is quirky and unusual, yet bursting with energy, much like the song. The kids in this vid are amazing, giving it a very “Where the Wild Things Are” feel. The colors and geometric shapes, paired with crisp lighting create this sense that you’ve encountered a futuristic tribe of neon-painted native people.
10. Bonobo – Cirrus
Vintage looking clips are patched together to match the mechanical rhythm of this song, which has no lyrics. The images move forward and backward, fast and slow; constantly building toward a “bigger picture.” The effect is an amazing multi-layered video experience
Laszlo – Mr. Sunshine
Ok, I know I said there was only going to be ten BUT this is an excellent example of an animated video that really enhances the song. The animation is seriously amazing and tells a little story with a twist ending… Bet you didn’t see that coming! If you watch a second time, though, you might notice some clever foreshadowing. Did you see it??
Have a favorite music video? Tell me about it in the comments!
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