When done poorly music videos can just be a way to show off, sit down and have a tedious conversation or have a dance off between people for about three minutes. But at it’s best they can be as conceptual as some of the greatest movies and give abstract film making a run for its money. In this article I’ll try to highlight some music videos that I believe deserve high praise because of their concept cinematography and execution.
Blackstar Ft Common – Respiration
This music video uses elements of french new wave utilizing cross dissolves, show with 35mm film on a Cameflex camera and uses on screen motifs that goes along with the lyrics. This combined with the influences and setting of New York allows of expansive story telling. This allows for topics such as poverty, corruption, violence and being raised in such conditions only to become apart of the madness or awaken and break free. There are a lot of interesting editing choices that I think work for the embitterment of the video including speeding up the footage along with the lyrics and very short cuts to different motifs.
Flying Lotus – Corunus, The Terminator
Directed by Young Repilcant
I don’t even know where to start out with this video. The Visual effect and camera work are stunning, not to mention how it incorporates Flying Lotus’s Thesis for the album and bring it to life. Using themes of live and death, both Steven Ellison and Young Repilcant truly outdo themselves when it comes to story telling, the costume designs and visual effects.
Woodkid – Run Boy Run
Directed by Yoann Lemoine
If you haven’t seen a Woodkid music video, the suggestion is to go watch one now. Run Boy Run is not only visually pleasing but depends very heavily on it lyrics for story telling. In it we see a child running from a beast with the lyrics “Run Boy Run” chanting along with the tribal like drums beating just underneath. With uses of slow motion and very tight close ups to emphasize the details within the frame another visual stunner of music videos.
Thundercat – Walkin
Directed by Holly & Kelly Port
The Brainfeed label (same label that does flying lotus’s music) always seems to be on point with not only their music but also their videos. They’re always interesting in their own way whether it be by focusing on themes of life and death, shooting down the moon or just walking and seems to turn it into a great video. In this one they are doing just that, walking. But the events that take place during this walk are so kooky and strange it’s almost strange to think that someone sat down and thought of all this with a sane perspective. If you’re ready for a weird trip check this video out.
The Knocks – Comfortable
Director by Ace Norton
Although the name of the song is called comfortable, the goal of the music video seems to be to make the viewer the exact opposite. With a rather warm yellow color scheme and dominatrix theme, its safe to say that this is achieved. A major strength of this music video is the composition and also the color scheme. First touching upon the color scheme the main tone of the lights being a very warm yellow goes with the black clothing being worn thought the video. With the composition a lot of props are used in this video. Hangers, irons, shirts, whips and all things of the sort. But these items never seem to be distracting within the frame themselves. They always seem to be right where they need to be and serve a purpose.