Music videos are fairly new when you think about it, despite how many have bombarded our screens as the amount of technology available to us grows. The first one was released in 1981 on MTV, and the song to proudly claim that first video was "Video Killed the Radio Star," which I believe to be quite fitting. Pretty much all musical artists today have released a music video at least once in their career, but the majority of them turn out to be duds or obvious pleas for attention (yeah, I'm talking about "Wrecking Ball"). Some, however, are very artistic, represent the artist well, and even spark emotion in their viewers. These are only a few of such videos, in no particular order:
1. BØRNS - “Faded Heart”
Despite the weird Ø in the artist's name, BØRNS is in fact American. And his name is Garrett. So yeah, pretty basic. But in regards to the music video, its artistry blows me away. The color scheme matches his latest album, Blue Madonna, with its bright blues and random pops of color mixed in with faded tones, which are altogether very pleasing to the eye. Plus, the style fits in with the neon/vintage trend pop culture has going on right now. Also, the sort of unfinished studio look present throughout the video is a very interesting direction on the director's part. The skeleton puppets are obviously, well, puppets, as the puppet master is visible multiple times. And the retro green screen filming techniques add humor and irony to this very... humorous and ironic video. I mean, what up with those fish in the sink? And BØRNS's odd lip-sinking and dancing remind me of Maddie Ziegler's artistry in Sia's "Chandelier" music video. Speaking of which…
2. Sia - “The Greatest”
I don't even know where to begin with this one. I just don't. I'm lost for words, but I guess I'll try and power through it. We all know of Maddie Ziegler's mad dance skills from the show "Dance Moms" as well as from Sia's other music videos ("Chandelier"). But here she is, yet again, blowing us away with gut-wrenching emotion, stellar facial expressions, and artistic dance moves I can't help but fall in love with. Whoever choreographed this thing knew what they were doing. And it tells the story of the Orlando, Florida massacre in Pulse Night Club. The set and costume design are both so human and so raw, I feel a tightness in my chest every time I watch this masterpiece. The bullet holes in the walls are what really get to me, as well as the message of who and what we lost that day. We lost our children. We lost part of the future.
3. Lady Gaga - “Bad Romance”
Love her or hate her, you have to agree on one thing: Lady Gaga is the owner of one of the most creative minds out there, and this music video proves it. Those costumes! The overall story! That dancing! All of her videos are jam-packed with these elements, so it was really difficult to pick just one video of her's to share ("Judas" was a runner-up, but so was "G.U.Y." and of course I couldn't forget about "Born this Way." See my dilemma?). In the end, I went with a classic banger. I do recommend watching her others as well, when you have the chance.
As I've mentioned before, I love a good color scheme. Gaga keeps it simple with black, red, gold, and white for pretty much the entire music video. And I really love the creativity she uses while implementing her "monsters" in a beautiful, if not slightly disturbing way. And that HAND TWITCHING. Just a little gem she throws in there that makes the video all the more Gaga. She's a free b*tch, baby, and we love it.
4. Melanie Martinez - “Pity Party”
Before I begin, I just want to make it clear that I understand that this artist is controversial in regards to recent rape allegations. This does not, however, take away from the fact that this is one stellar music video, and I will only be talking about that.
Right. Now that the uncomfortable bits are squared away, I'm gonna mention color scheme again. It's just so pretty. Faded pastels are definitely part of Melanie's branding for her album "Cry Baby," and it's truly an effective choice. Her songs sound happy and light for the most part, though, until you listen to the lyrics. Then you are blasted with dark undertones and wordplay. The same is true for "Pity Party." The set of this video also spreads this message with creepy, yet cute vintage toys scattered about. Very Melanie, very crazy, very creative.
5. Harry Styles - “Kiwi”
Ah, Harry. Harry, Harry, Harry. If not your musical ability, it is your sense of humor (and smashing good looks) that steal the hearts of millions of girls all over the world. Really. Take your pick of the lot. I'm right here when you're ready. Ha, but seriously, this is an amazing video. Firstly, A+ for diversity. Secondly, A++++ for cuteness overload. Children and sweets having a dramatic food fight is one thing, but then bring puppies into the picture, and suddenly I can't even. And everyone acts so serious, like they're having a real war! It just adds humor to the whole idea. In the end, it is made clear that it was picture day at school, and all the kids are covered in icing and whatnot. Their parents are going to be furious, but I, as the viewer, have miraculously been cured of my depression.
6. Kesha - “Praying”
So much emotion in this video. Like, wow. And it's so colorful, almost in a dirty way, that you can't help but think that this is some fantasy world. However, I cannot tell if it is a dream or a nightmare. Maybe it's both. That seems to be the case with fame, but this video is about so much more than that. It is about the physical and emotional abuse she endured from her pig of a producer, and how she tries to overcome it. This is a video that I am going to let speak for itself due to how raw and personal it is, but know this: it is very human and demands respect.
7. Ghosted - “Get Some”
Not gonna lie, I found this video by accident and had no prior knowledge of what I was about to see or hear, but boy am I glad I happened to see it. People who've met me know I have a really odd sense of humor, but apparently so do 309k other people, based on how many likes this video got. It starts off with this really dorky (but cute) girl ogling a really, REALLY hot guy who goes to her school. I mean, seriously! Why did none of the guys who went to MY high school look like that? Anyway, he does what all douchy teenage boys do and asks for a hookup, and surprisingly, she's really happy about it! I guess she just wants to get some. But the night they are about to "do the deed," his jealous (rightfully so) girlfriend shows up and... I don't want to spoil it. Sorry! It's too good. The beginning kind of gives you a hint. Kind of.
8. Coldplay - “Magic”
This one is just so beautiful and romantic, I couldn't not have it on this list. The black-and-white, old time vibe makes it even more magical. The special effects and makeup also seem to be from another lifetime. Chris plays two very different parts: the drunk husband as well as the sweet lover. I also really like how the man is the assistant while the woman is the actual magician. You don't see that very often. Even in the movie "Now You See Me," there is only one female role. The overall video really captures the essence of the song and its hauntingly gorgeous lyrics. The director definitely did it justice.
9. Lights - “We Were Here”
Lights took her music to a whole other level this time around with her latest album "Skin and Earth." Not only did she write an album, plan a tour, and get everyone hyped for whatever she was about to release by dying her hair cherry red (which she has kept up with for two years), she wrote an entire graphic novel named after the album, with the songs matching up with different chapters. Oh, and this music video goes along with a chapter of the comic page by page, with herself playing the lead and her husband playing the ex-boyfriend. She has so much talent, it's a wonder she hasn't burst yet. I got so much inspiration from this latest project, I just HAD to include one of her music videos, and this one made the cut because of the lighting and post-apocalyptic vibe radiating from the scenery and costumes (which she also designed). She is a beast. A Canadian she-beast.
10. The Weeknd - “False Alarm”
Okay, really big warning here: this is VIOLENT. If you don't like blood and death and guns and literally anything that has to do with bank robberies (including hostage situations) just call it quits for today. I really had to include this video, though, because it has one of the best stories of any music video I've seen and it is shot in first-person (with no visible takes!). And it is packed with action and stunts not many can pull off in a music video. This literally looks like it belongs in a movie. Oh, and there's a plot twist ending, and you're not gonna like it.
Art comes in many forms, and creativity comes from many different people. When those people work together, amazing things can happen, as seen above. These videos are perfect examples of what can happen when music, design, dance, writing, and videography all come together in a perfect mixture to create what I can only describe as masterpieces. Yes, all of these videos are very different from each other and highlight different types of artistry, but they are all phenomenal in unique ways, which I also think celebrates humanity's uniqueness as a whole. Have you ever seen that bumper sticker that says "eARTh"? Yeah. It's like that.