Thursday, January 6, 2011

An Evening With Me And Music Videos

As stated a dozen time before, I want to be a music video director for a living. It would make me endlessly happy. I might some day get frustrated with it all and convince myself that comedy was always my true calling. And hell, it may be, but right now I want to direct music videos. Funny ones, just in case.

As a result of this, I get very excited by good music videos that are made by current bands. Most bands don't care about music videos anymore. Since MTV stopped playing the M in their name, most bands(understandably) feel that music videos won't give them much return on the money they cost.

Miley Cyrus does not appear in this article. Sorry guys.
The '90s caused a lot of this backlash. Videos became lavish and over the top as a good economy gave way to a culture of financial bravado while hip-hop "bling" was impressive rather than crude. Hype Williams is the leader of this school of video. Just look at his portfolio to see some of the things I'm talking about.

However, technology is making the video important again. YouTube is now arguably more important than MySpace in getting music to the masses. If you can make a video interesting enough for people to show their friends then you can reap a possible cash windfall through iTunes downloads.

However the idea is not to make something flashy, but something artistically creative. People don't care how much "cheese" you've got. We've got rims of our own. Show me something that makes me go "ooh" is the current attitude. Welcome to the 21st century.

Here are some of my favourite "ooh" videos of the past year or two. Lets enjoy them together.

Pace is a vital thing in music videos. If you can get your images to match, or even enhance, the tempo of the music then you've done your job. Music can be exciting and as a video director you sometimes have to recreate that feeling. Cousins is a great example of this. Very simple video with some good physical effects but mostly it just gets the timing right. As a result I find it incredibly watchable.
Vampire Weekend - Cousins

Listen, I'm not going to go into the crush I have for OK Go right now (I want to make love to their face) but any list of modern music videos has to include them. It's a cold hard fact. I wouldn't say they were the first to figure out how to exploit the internet as musicians but I'll be damned if they're not the poster children for doing it well.
I like this for a number of reasons. It follows' OK Go's M.O. of one-take video making but it also is just a cool idea that looks great. It reminds me a lot of old Sesame Street style clips. In general it gives me a happy.
OK Go - WTF

Who says you can't include the same band twice? Fuck you, it's my blog. Get your own! Anyway, while the above is a personal pleasure, below is obviously a bigger and better beast. This Too Shall Pass has two videos. The first is a delightful live rendition done with a marching band that I quite like. You can see it here. This monster however got so much attention it was given a spot on Sky News. Is it news worthy? Probably not, but you know you're doing something right when you make the evening headlines.

OK Go - This Too Shall Pass

Speaking of making the news... Born Free was deemed so controversial that YouTube has banned it. Seriously, too much for the internet? M.I.A. made everyone's jaw drop with the release of this politically fierce music video. It's been a long time since I can think of any music video that made such a successful attempt to shake you in your seat. I could describe it to you but you'd be better served just watching it. Ginger kids, don't be scared. It's not really about you.

M.I.A. - Born Free

And since I'm talking about videos for the WiFi age, Power is less than two minutes long and perfect for your attentionless mush of a brain. There is so much going on in this short video that it's kind of like Kanye West's mind. Too much going on for it's own good. But, if you want something you can watch again and again and find something new, this is your best bet.
Kanye West - Power

I'm sure I'll be back again at some point with another bunch of videos with some other agenda. But for now I hope you got a kick out of this one.