Hello everyone, I am currently in the process of moving houses so I’m a little bit stetched for time. Hopefully, things will settle down and I will be back on schedule! I can’t wait to finally unpack and start drawing again.
Anyway, for now I want to share with you my love of music videos. I personally believe that music videos are an artform in its own right; people often overlook its significance, perhaps because of the short play time or just due to the fast paced nature of the industry it’s in. To create a successful video, it’s got to grab the viewer like a film does except in a much shorter time, to content (the song) already provided whilst also doubling up as an advertisement for the album/single. However, unfortunately I have noticed the increasing amount of boring music videos which usually feature scantily clad women or generic singers prancing (or in some cases, not doing much at all) around on a set. Well, not here my dear readers! Here I am celebrating music videos with my own personal ‘top 5’ music videos. You may feel free to disagree, or to chip in with your own favourites, hell this list might even change in the future, but for now in time of writing these are why I love music videos. Enjoy.
Naughty Boy ft. Sam Smith: La La La
Starting off with #5 is La La La, I’m not sure if it ever managed to get to American listeners, but this song was big in Britain, and it only got bigger when the music video was released, with people sratching their heads trying to figure out what it was all supposed to mean. Some people first thought it was a homage to The Wizard of Oz with referances to Dorothy (The boy), The Lion (The Dog), The Scarecrow (The man), and the Tin Man (The Traffic Controller). It seemed plausible, but it didn’t really explain some of the other aspects of the video, such as the ending. However, it then surfaced that it is in actual fact based on a Bolivian legend and suddenly the penny dropped. People lost interest in the song soon afterwards, but what I love about this video is that not only does it showcase a culture that perhaps isn’t that widely known but also adds another context to the song. This song lyrics prior knowledge/viewing of video is simply about an argument from one person’s perspective. (Yes our love is running out of time, I won’t count the hours, rather be a coward, When our words collide, I’m gonna drown you out before I lose my mind) They believe that the person they are arguing with is, spewing out pointless ‘venom’ and so to solve this (perhaps immaturely) they are refusing to acknowledge/listen to the person at all. (I’m covering my ears like a kid. When your words mean nothing, I go la la la, I’m turning off the volume when you speak, Cause if my heart can’t stop it, I find a way to block it). However with the addition of the video; the song jumps from being about an argument between two lovers, with the ‘la la la’ being a immature counter arguement to the ‘la la la’ blocking out sins and ultimately, being the saviour. I could go more in depth, but we’ve got another four videos to go and I want you guys to make your own mind up first.
#4 is Jack, by Breach and the music video goes into the catergory of videos that have absolutely nothing to do with the context of the song, but through careful editing and choreography ties the beat of the song with the visuals. The video depicts two alternate worlds, one similar to ours, and the other where the hair placement is switched around. (You’ll probably understand that better once you’ve watched the video.) I love the simple yet well executioned idea and it just makes me smile everytime you see the switch happen. What really secured it’s place in my top 5 though, was when the blonde lady came into view. At first I thought ‘oh my, probably another women only incoporated into the video to be either a love interest or to be sexually objectified sigh‘ I was especially dubious about her ‘hair bra’ as the pattern had already been established and of course I thought the worst. I was wrong though. Her boobs didn’t turn into the main attraction and more importantly, she held equal importance to the man. She wasn’t better than him, she wasn’t objectified, she shared an equal space in the frame and danced in union. After seeing a slew of practically naked chicks you know who you are in videos, and even ‘girl group girl power, all men are cheating liars boo’ videos (which addmittedly are the lesser of two sins but still rather boring at times) this was just, well refreshing. It didn’t last long though, because at 1:47, Ginger arrived and my hopes of equality departed. I may be exaggerating slightly as the shots of her only lasted for a moment in comparison to the rest of the video, but her suggestively stroking the chair and gazing longingly in the camera just ruined it all. I still love the video as a whole, and I think it’s a point in the right direction but for that reason, I couldn’t put it any higher then a #4.
Fleet Foxes: The Shrine/An Argument
I’ve always been a fan of Fleet Foxes but I have never heard of this song till recently. At #3 this video is just insanely beautiful. I couldn’t tell you anything about the narrative, if you’re confused about what’s going on, don’t worry, you’re not the only one. There have been a few interpretations, but no one really knows why the deer killed and ate a rabbit, why the deer appears to be the only one of its kind, as well as many other questions. Fleet Foxes are notorious for having cryptic messages within their lyrics so I guess the video is quite befitting in that sense. Maybe it’s all symbolic, maybe they we just high when they created this, but whatever it is I still think it’s wonderful. The subtle blend between digital and hand made elements combined with the lighting and stylistic choices are superb in my eyes. I think the only slight problem is near the end, with the saxophone (I believe it is anyway) it’s rather jarring but I guess that’s more of the song’s issue, as opposed to the video’s. If you like the sort of similar style I urge you to watch their music video for Mykonos which is a simpler but nevertheless more wonderful and surreal experience.
In a few short words, this is basically a modern retelling of Orpheus and Eurydice in which Orpheus goes into the Underworld to save his wife, Eurydice from death. In a similar ilk to ‘La La La’, the song without the video is about two lovers; this time however one has left the other and the singer is yearning for them to come back. With the video added in, it adds another layer to the song, and to me, emphaisises on the longing the lover feels for the other. I also like how it’s executed, there is a lot of symbolism, but it’s all done very subtly (well, most of the time, floating Anubis anyone?). I also like the dynamic lighting and the way they’ve portrayed the Underworld itself. They could have gone with the ‘dark, cave like setting with Hades laughing in the background and lots of lost souls’ but no, they used a different approach, bright colours and lighting, with a minimal setting; without losing the fact that it’s a representation of the Underworld. I think the video is edited well with the music, and it a strong tone throughout the music video. Wonderful.
Taylor Swift: Ours
Those of you who have read ‘Taylor Swift’ and convulsed I urge you to hear me out! Yes, those that have read my blog for a while will know that I admit to being an old romantic, and Taylor Swift is the epitome of that so it is no wonder I fell fast for lyrics along with perhaps thousands of pre-pubescent girls. And yes, that reason is a small part of why I like this music video so much, but the main reason is because it makes me feel. The video itself is surprisingly humourous, the way it’s acted and edited makes it stand out from the other (admittedly sickly sweet) narratives Swift usually features in. There’s no speaking parts so the humour is based on the gestures of the actors and the way it’s shot and edited. The way the narrative plays out, it’s a lot subtler, less fantasy (yes I know there are fantasy elements still there, but comparitively with other of Swift’s videos, definitely more real) and I care for Swift’s character. I want that reunion and when it happens I feel something stir inside. This video makes me laugh, it makes me cry, both in happiness and in longing. It makes me think, re-evaluate, dream. You might think ‘how can one feel all of that from a bloomin’ 4 minute video?’ It sounds strange and I’m afraid I can’t give you a definite answer, only that is does. Everytime. I lknow a lot of people will have a different music video in mind that does the same, and that’s ok, because that’s what great art is supposed to do. And that is why Taylor Swift: Ours is my top music video.