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.
Chance the Rapper – “Sunday Candy”
Directed by Austin Vesely, Ian Eastwood & Chance The Rapper
More like theater play than a traditional film or a music video, Sunday Candy utilizes a live performance and live sets on a continuous tracking shot, something that is not easy. The message behind the music and performance is heartwarming as chance confesses his love to his grandma, who has been there for him since he was a child. The amount of love, effort and just genuine fun that is put into this video is truly amazing. There is a behind the scene video for those who want to see just how much heart was put into this video.
J Dilla – “Last Donuts of the Night”
Directed by Tuomas Vauhkonen and Jeremias Nieminen
One of the more symbolic music videos put out. From the Late James Yancey’s Donuts album, this video takes place in Finland and follows two cops taking some time to eat some donuts. While this is happening a thief tries to steal from the story they are eating from and they are forced to make a decision, keep eating or stop the thief. Well edited, executed and lighted this video this video is a prime example of an artistic music video at its finest with a story that doesn’t only go along with the music but also pulls in some heavy themes such as corruption and classism.
Robert Glasper Experiment ft Jill Scott – “Calls”
Director: Ace Norton Producers
Calls is more direct and upfront but just as symbolic. There are couple of major motifs that are hard to figure out such as the wolf or the green button but after watching the video most people can understand whats going on. There are some exceptional framing choices that with the actors sitting down with portrait like shots. There are some parts that look like their where shot without a tripod and some subtle zooms that disconnected me as a viewer but besides those few things it comes of as a good video.
Madvillian – “Fancy clown”
Director – Matthew Wood & Aaron Moores.
In a stone record contest to pick a official video for the song Fancy clown, Matthew Woods takes the approach of a sad story of a clown burying himself alive. Through of the video you can sense the clowns emotions of dread and sadness. As the song comes to a pause we see him contemplating his decisions before finally laying down can covering himself alive. All this with quick shots of the rose he is holding implying heart break along with the lyrics. We never get a full shot of the clown because of how broken inside he is, only showing parts of his body and the damage he is doing to himself from tireless work. This video pushes the meaning of capturing emotion.
Chet Faker – “Talk is cheap”
Directed by Toby & Pete
An interesting take on a time-lapse where the singer is frozen over winter and is taken through the seasons to be unfrozen and frozen again. Because the video is a time-lapse it can take full advantage of the depth of field giving amazing visuals with the screen. The details on the ice leaves and the singer himself are amazing. And definitely when the video reaches the spring season we get to see very saturated colors of green and work beautifully and harmoniously within the scene.