Monday, February 28, 2011

Iconic Music Videos

For this post on Genre Buzzword, I want to take a look at music videos. I realize the title of my last post was a little misleading, as it was not about music videos, so I wanted to fix that by talking a little bit about music videos and ones that I think are pretty iconic.

I just want to start out by saying that I know music videos are still around. There have been some pretty impressive ones as of late (both the short and film versions of Kanye West's "Runaway" come to mind), but it seems like music videos have sort of lost the power they once held as a medium. For example, I personally don't think we will ever see a music video that had the sort of significance and impact that Michael Jackson's "Thriller" had. There was also a period of time from the 90's into the new millennium where some famous directors such as Michel Gondry, Spike Jonze and Hype Williams churned out some of the most memorable music videos. I remember when these directors but out a new music video, it was like an event. There would be big premieres for it on MTV and then you would see it all the time. Now that cable music channels have started cutting back on airing music videos except earlier in the morning, that sort of event phenomena seems to have gone away, or at least shifted over to the Internet.

I always loved music videos and when I used to catch them on MTV, VH1 or The Box, I would sometimes end up liking a song because it had a creative music video that caught my attention. I think that a good music video is one that enhances the song and makes it even more memorable for listeners, and occasionally the music video becomes even more popular than the song itself (The main reason I like the song "Sabotage" is the music video).

Here are some of my favorite music videos. Feel free to list your favorites in the replies!

Sabotage was directed by Spike Jonze and the video is the opening credits for a fictional 70's police drama show. This is probably my all time favorite music video due to the creative idea behind the video and the humor behind it. It's got everything car chases, foot chases and a few fights sprinkled in.

One of my favorite songs and I love this video by Michel Gondry. Great cinematography as most of the music video takes place in dream sequences and an interesting plot that has some Inception qualities to it.

Another Spike Jonze music video. The main reason why I love this video, and why I think many people love this video, is that it takes place entirely in the "Happy Days" universe. Awesome video that fits the feel of the song perfectly.

I was never a huge Michael Jackson fan, but I have to admit this is the best and most popular music video. It had a huge impact on music.


  1. I def agree, I wish that the "music" channels would actually air their music videos at decent times instead of at 6am. I think it depends on the artist though with how big their videos get for example Lady Gaga has a huge influence over the music video world virally. She has over 300 million hits on youtube for her Bad Romance song, and that in itself is pretty spectacular. As for Britney Spear's new video for Hold It Against Me had over 8 million hits within 5 days of it being aired. So they're still pretty big but shifting over to the internet is indeed a big change for us TRL generations.

  2. The thing with the music video is, in my opinion, that it is the perfect form for expressing something on the internet. It's the perfect amount of time to keep attention. Case in point the viral effect of OK Go! and their vids. Also, love the "Runaway" video, even though I'm not a huge rap fan that thing transcends genre

  3. I miss being able to turn on MTV and just see music videos, I used to do it all the time right when I got home from school: the TRL countdown. It's pretty contradictory to call a station "Music Television" when all you see on it is stuck up, spoiled prisses, and the Jersey Shore (although I'll totally admit, I'm a huuuuge fan of the Real World and the RW/RR challenges...:-X)

    By the way: Michael Jackson. Epic. I get to perform all his music all summer for our drum corps show, it's going to be awesome.

  4. I like videos that tell a story, or even if they can't do that, if they're visually appealing, they can be just as good. Most recently, all that really comes to mind is Eminem's "Love The Way You Lie" video with Rhianna, or 'Not Affraid." I guess it always means a little more when the artist has something powerful to say, whether it's good or bad.