I was recently running 20 minutes late to meet a friend for a picture once I realized that I would rather watch 90 minutes of music videos compared to whatever we were going to watch. A fantastic music video does not just bring a song to life, but it takes a life of its own and creates a song better — it could achieve in moments what a fantastic film achieves in 90. It can begin a movement or perhaps define a generation. What do you think of if I refer to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”? The song, the album, or the full size zombie hand dance? Occasionally I must hear a song heaps, even trillions, of times until I realize I enjoy it, however, a fantastic music movie clicks right off and sticks with me.
As a teen, watching VH1 Top 20 Countdown has been my Saturday-morning-cartoon equal. Every week, they counted down the top 20 most-requested music videos of this week and interviewed up-and-coming musicians about what they’d been working on. It taught me that a lot. For example, before viewing “Struggling to Make Nice” 20 months in a row, I had no notion that the Dixie Chicks were fucking phenomenal. I understood “Everytime” was a catastrophic and gorgeous outpouring of emotion out of Britney Spears, but it wasn’t until the movie that I had a good weep. Alright, several good weeps.
When music tv, a.k.a. MTV and VH1, became diluted with displays like Laguna Beach (a real gem, do not get me wrong) and the internet brought about tens of thousands of new strategies to discover music, music videos became less important. VH1 Top 20 Countdown was quietly canceled and MTV essentially forgot music videos even existed. Music videos lost their spark and for years were relegated to complementary background noise. “With a couple exceptions, videos do not reach a mass audience in the manner of the old MTV,” The New York Times reported in 2003 about the fall of this audio video.
But in the late 2010s, following nearly a decade of starvation, music videos started ramping up for a comeback. “Due to the energy of a few elite musicians,” composed The Guardian in 2016, “music videos are using a renaissance and after more getting events in their own. … Major musicians and their labels will be spending significant money on videos”
Maybe credit’s because of the internet for temporarily getting a deal on itself and allowing brief digital productions to become anybody’s game — or perhaps it’s the power of a good visual to lift a song that might otherwise be lost in the ether of a million just like it. In any event, music videos have gotten transformative and creative once more. Following is a handful from the last few years that have improved upon the songs they were made for, thereby achieving the higher purpose of this music video art form, should you ask me.
“Sorry” by Justin Bieber
Directed by Parris Goebel
This one is a tiny throwback (it came out in late 2015); however, the audio movie had this influence on me I left it my Halloween costume less than two weeks after it was released. (nobody made it) This movie was initially produced for Goal: The Movement, an assortment of dance videos choreographed by Parris Goebel to each monitor on Bieber’s Goal (also of note: “Love Yourself”). Nearly all the album was followed up with “official” videos starring JB himself because how could you top Parris’ creations? I was scarcely even a fan of Justin before the launch of Goal: The Movement and I’ve since done a deep dip into his back catalog.
I firmly believe that endeavor — namely Parris Goebel — to be an integral participant in the current rise of internet dance videos. I’ve lost weeks of my life down a Millennium Dance Complex video rabbit hole because of this, and that I do not even regret it.
“Business” by Tinashe
Directed by Jack Begert
Also apparently a enormous fan of internet dance videos, Tinashe tapped among the most effective up-and-coming choreographers of stated videos to choreograph a movie for her song “Company.” I had been a fan of Tinashe since the movie for “All hands-on Deck,” however “Company” (the song) had never actually been on my radar. The music movie is basically a perfectly lit dance-class movie, and that’s all she wants to throw you to this monitor. The choreography is amazing, and Tinashe gets the Britney-like capability to captivate you with an appearance. (Sorry for bringing Britney.)
“Sorry” by Beyoncé
Directed by Kahlil Joseph, Beyoncé Knowles Carter
“Sorry” has been a course around the epic visual album that’s and the very first to be released alone out Tidal, HBO and other walls that I compensated to climb. “Sorry” specifically gained quite a lot of focus for “Becky with all the good hair,” but I discovered it disgusting for its introduction to this “Apathy” part of Lemonade and its own spoken-word introduction: “Ashes to ashes, dust to unwanted girls.” The visual part of this song immediately made it my favorite from the album. It may be because Serena Williams shows up or possibly because Beyoncé is actually in her ideal element within it.
“Boys” by Charli XCX
Directed by Charli XCX
As the name of this song would lead one to think, this audio movie boasts a huge cast of all boys. At first blush, it might seem that this movie is present merely as a pretty background to a song, however, it goes far beyond that. In school, my friend and I was able to conjure music videos for some thing we called “incredibly subtle hotness,” and almost no one does it better than the very first boy from “Boys”: ” Joe Jonas. The movie feels like an upgraded variant of George Michael’s “Freedom! ‘ 90.” This song showed up in my Spotify Discover Weekly, but it wasn’t until I saw the video that I actually knew it (and loved it).
“Sober” by Childish Gambino
Directed by Hiro Murai
This audio video sold me not just on Childish Gambino however on what Donald Glover has ever done. I loved the whole Kauai EP, but this audio movie lifts a good song into another dimension. Additionally, I am weak for a fantastic dance fracture, and this audio movie has maybe among the greatest of time. If not for this music video, I may have never become obsessed with his own series Atlanta.
“Humble” by Kendrick Lamar
Directed by Dave Meyers and The Little Homies
It’s no secret that this is among the best music videos of 2017 (it took home the MTV Video Music Award for Video of the Year). This music video was released along with the song, making them hard to separate in my mind, however I don’t have any desire to anyhow. While the two bits function beautifully alone, together they are unstoppable. I didn’t need reminding that Kendrick is among the best of all time, but that I certainly would not turn proof like this away.
“IDGAF” by Dua Lipa
Directed by Henry Scholfield
I hadn’t heard of Dua Lipa before I saw the movie for “New Rules,” an instant classic. (The rainbow robes nearly became the following audio movie Halloween costume for me) Once I did, I downloaded the rest of the album right away. When I listened all the way through and chosen my favorites, “IDGAF” was not among them. It’s a nice song, but it wasn’t until I was mesmerized by the dueling Duas in January of this year that I realized it was actually my favorite song in the whole world. Perhaps for Halloween you can be the orange one and I’ll be the blue one?
Before I fade to YouTube again looking for a few new-to-me clips to obsess over, please include yours in the comments and let me know in case you’d love to dive into some extreme analysis.
Characteristic photo by Zachary Mazur/WireImage through Getty Images.