A music video has grown so much from ‘Video Killed The Radio Star’ to the art form that it is today – although not all of them are unless you think Paris Hilton is a work of art in your books.Â A well directed music video can rise to the level of art, using symbolic imagery or elaborate stories that go beyond the song’s lyrics. Here we present to you our final part of JUICE‘s list of best music videos!
Text Ben Liew, Kevin Yeoh, Miranda Yeoh, Muna Noor + Raphael Westwood
The White Stripes – ‘The Hardest Button To Button’
You know how you can never have enough of The White Stripes? Michel Gondry make sit possible to have as much of Meg and Jack as is digitally possible. Utilising pixilation animation, drum kits and guitar amplifiers multiply to Meg’s rhythmic drumming. Gondry pioneered a similar technique for 1999 release of The Chem’s ‘Let Forever Be’.
Fiest – ‘Honey Honey’
From the album The Reminder and directed by Anthony Seck, charming puppetry, sea monsters and story telling won this the 2009 Juno Award winner for Best Video. If you love this, you’ll also dig The Knife’s 2006 single ‘Marble House’ video directed by Chris Hopewell. A dark sense of foreboding looms over a mouse family trying to scratch out a living in the living room walls and floor boards. Eeks!
Coldplay – ‘Trouble’
UK got a video that involved Chris Martin being tied to a chair. Excitement! Thankfully, music TV is Malaysia firmly fell on the side of the US and we got the dreamy, picture book style that Tim Hope had created for the band’s ‘Don’t Panic’ single. The animated flat-3D style video treatment earned him a bunch of gongs including an MTV Video Music Award for Best Art Direction in 2002 and a nomination for Breakthrough Video. Check Tim’s animated short The Wolfman for a look at his early work.
Justin Timberlake featuring TI – ‘My Love’
Want a hip hop video with a difference, get your people to call Cali native, Paul Hunter’s people. The man has laid down some slick high-budget vids for heads like NERD, Snoop, Kelis and Eminem. MTV recognized JT’s ‘My Love’ tight choreography with a Moonman, but it was Paul’s beautiful orchestration of gravity-defying objects that made this look like a poetic take on Stanley Kubrick’s Space Odyssey 2001. Shame then that Paul went onto making movies like Bulletproof Monk. Why Paul, why?!
Red Hot Chili Peppers – Otherside
It was while on tour watching off-beat films late into the night that Flea came up with the idea for this video. Teaming up with frequent collaborators, directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, they hatched up a moving art piece that took its design cues from German expressionist art, cubism and Escher. We wish you could hang it on a wall.
Justice – D.A.N.C.E
It was a Justice (and Simian’s) video for ‘We Are Your Friends’ that provoked one of Kanye’s very first public epileptic fits (he’s been n a roll since then). Being American he had never heard of these French mofos, probably ’cause his ego is so gargantuan it got in the way of his seeing the world map. A year later Justice were back again, nominated this time for D.A.N.C.E. Shot by French directorial duo Jonas and FranÃ§ois with animation by So Me, Justice’s Gaspard AugÃ© and Xavier de Rosnay sashay down corridors backstage as their neon coloured, club kid tees morphed into different patterns, prints and logos therefore rendering the wardrobe crises obsolete. Oh, if only….
The Dead Weather – ‘I Cut Like A Buffalo’
Like Coldplay, Bjork and Radiohead, Jack White is a dude that cares about the medium, and whether as The White Stripes or The Raconteurs, has aligned himself with the most progressive visual artists in the biz. The education must have rubbed off; Jack directs the ‘I Cut Like A Buffalo’ promo with cinematographer Vern Moen behind the lens. Split screen videos, menacingly trippy 60s styling and dramatic colour make this hypnotic viewing. It’s all in the eyes….
Modest Mouse – ‘King Rat’
What happens when the tables are turned and human beings find themselves at the sharp end of a harpoon? Directed by the late Heath Ledger (who befriended the band through their tour manager), the video employs crude, stylised-2D animation to show the painful cost of commercial whale hunts. Though the video was unfinished when Heath past away in January 2008, MM frontman Isaac Brock had The Masses see Heath’s vision through. For simple animated videos that hit hard at the heart, checkout MM’s ‘Float On’ and Death Cab For Cutie’s ‘Grapevine Fires’.
The Horrors – ‘She Is The New Thing’
Horrific graphic novel comes alive in this dark and somewhat grim live action/animation. Coffin Joe’s eyes get plucked out by crows and frontman Faris has his heart eaten by a dead girl — bloody good stuff, if you ask us. The track is the 5th single from the British band and was released in 2007. The vid was directed by ex-special FX monster maker and horror flick fan Corin Hardy who directed Prodigy’s 2009 release ‘Warriors Dance’. Match made in heaven. Or should that be hell?
Oren Lavie – ‘Her Morning Elegance’
We’ve always wondered what life would be like if we never had to get up. Oren Lavi’s vid for ‘Her Morning Elegance’ holds the answer. Using a stop motion technique to film some precise horizontal choreography, the work earned him a Grammy nom, and is presently original still frame by frame at www.hmegallery.com. It’s not unlike Adele’s ‘Chasing Pavements’ directed by Mathew Cullen. For more nifty footwork Fatboy Slim’s ‘Weapon Of choice’ video directed by Spike Jonze and featuring Christopher Walken in an aerial dance remains a benchmark.
RJD2 – ‘Work it Out’
Videos that are recorded in a single take are a rare thing indeed. ‘Work It Out feature one single shot and some truly amazing choreography involving upside-down crutches, a skateboard and what appear to be feet designed by Heelys. Balletic and ballsy, and shot in broad daylight on busy NYC streets by director Joey Garfield, dancer Bill Shannon is the real deal; those crutches aren’t just for show, he was born with a degenerative hip condition. Meanwhile post-hip hopper RJD2 plays Where’s Wally and intermittently turns up in the video in various guides.
Bjork – ‘Pagan Poetry’
No article celebrating the music video is complete without some heavy namechecking of one Bjork GuÃ°mundsdÃ³ttir. Her video works are as visceral as her music is experimental: robots getting it on in ‘All Is Full Of Love’, a marauding teddybear in ‘Human Behaviour’, 50s inspired musical choreography in ‘Its Oh So Quiet’…. Ever fearless, Bjork embraces risk and over time her videos have increasingly shirked glamour, instead portraying a raw sensuality, with her awkward and ugly yet never lacking in beauty: morphing cyber creature in ‘Hunter’, the snottery child in ‘Hidden Place’ and shooting string from her nipples in ‘Cocoon’. Weird if it were anyone else but just another day at the office for Bjork. Yet nothing can match the controversial nature of ‘Pagan Poetry’. Directed by Nick Knight, it features simulated fellatio and penetration rendered as a computer animation effect, graphic piercings, and BjÃ¶rk half nekkid except for an Alexader McQueen (RIP) dress and some strangely placed pearls. Banned on MTV you’ll be hard pressed to find a complete version on YouTube either, but it’ll be worth the search.
This feature could not have been completed without the help of the British Council and Onedotzero. Please check their websites at
www.britishcouncil.org/malaysia and www.onedotzero.com, and support their activities. Click here if you missed Part 1 and Part 2.