A good (or painfully bad) music video can make or break a song. Would Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ have been as popular if it didn’t have the epic video to go along with? Possibly, yes, but you’ve got to admit it made a hell of a difference. ‘Thriller’ is probably the first music video I clearly remember watching, along with Peter Gabriel’s ‘Sledgehammer’. I was fascinated. A good concept for a video can make me to do a complete 180 on my opinion of a song. A bad video concept makes me hold my head in my hands and weep for the future of the music industry.
Some examples of good music video making for your perusal:
Foo Fighters – Best of You
This is a prime example of how exactly to make a good music video. It still gives me goosebumps to watch all these years later. Of course it helps that it’s Foo Fighters and they can pretty much do no wrong, but I love the use of quick flashes of seemingly random images that move so fast you have to watch it a couple of times over to really take it all in. Incredibly simple but somehow still manages to pull at your heartstrings.
Sia – Chandelier
I haven’t shut up about this video since the day it came out. It is, simply put, genius. She somehow manages to create a piece of artwork in itself without ever actually distracting from the awesomeness of the song. Not to mention the insanely talented (and practically foetal) Maddie Ziegler, dance superstar at the grand old age of eleven. Watching this might will probably make you wish you’d taken up ballet at age two or that you could stop eating so much junk food, but it will also make you feel pretty damn good about life. Sia, you’ve done it again.
Naughty Boy feat. Sam Smith – La La La
I’m not ordinarily a big fan of dance videos in general, but I completely fell in love with this. A beautiful play on The Wizard of Oz, it’s what you’d get if Mexico had a lovechild with a children’s story book. What’s not to love.
And finally, how NOT to do it (take note, future musicians):
Talk Talk – It’s My Life
I would love to have been in the room with Talk Talk’s marketing team when the decision was made to go with this particular video concept. Lead singer Mark Hollis sitting in front of a green screen wearing terrible 80’s clothes (they were all terrible in the 80’s, no?). How could this be improved on? Surely only by adding some nature program footage in the background! I am truly amazed that when No Doubt covered this song in 2003 they didn’t opt for the same approach. What a mistake, Gwen.
The Village People – Sex Over the Phone
Another example of something being so bad it’s almost good. Not that anyone expected anything Oscar worthy from the people who bought you ‘YMCA’ but wow. Just wow. After watching this I felt like I needed to bleach my eyeballs clean. Blindness would be a welcome sacrifice if it meant never having to sit through this again. See, and decide for yourself, but keep harsh chemicals close to hand.
Kanye West – Bound 2
Now I find Kanye West creepy pretty much all of the time anyway, but he really cranked the creep factor up a notch with this bad boy. Add Kim “famous for nothing” Kardashian to the mix and you’ve got yourself a winner. I will never get over this man’s love for himself, which is so large it’s almost impressive. Warning: do not watch this on an empty stomach. Do however watch if you’re feeling a little down about yourself. It’s guaranteed to remind you that things could always be worse – you could be Kanye West.