Top 3 Music Videos - Art Direction-wise

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by earllogjam, Feb 3, 2008.

  1. earllogjam

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    List your top 3 music videos in terms of art direction and give a link.

    This is NOT a thread to list mediocre videos of your favorite songs but rather a thread to share exceptionally creative and visually memorable videos.

    What about the video makes it rise above the rest?

    Here are 3 I can think of off the bat:

    YouTube - Janet Jackson "Love Will Never Do Without You"
    Janet Jackson - Love will never do

    Herb Ritts the famous fashion photographer directed this video and it shows. I don't remember Janet Jackson ever looking so good. I love how he uses the human form simple and abstractly in black and white to create the mood and tone of the piece.

    YouTube - Third Eye Blind- Jumper
    Third Eye Blind - Jumper

    The reverse footage as forward play is cleverly used to give this video an unearthly quality. The tone of the video also fits perfectly with the music.

    YouTube - R.E.M***Everybody Hurts (no Amalia,you were not alone)
    R.E.M. - Everybody Hurts

    Excellent example of how a director found a way to make the ordinary extraordinary through art direction.
     
  2. IntoxicatingToxin

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  3. PornForPatric

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    Here are my 3 picks:

    Slave to the Rhythm - Grace Jones For me, this is one of the most visualy interesting videos ever. The total randomness and insanity of it all is fantastic and for Grace Jones, quite appropriate.

    Express Yourself - Madonna We all know this was "inspired" by Metropolis and the symbolism is super obvious, but visually an amazing video. Okay, it is also nice to see all the muscle boys in it.

    Lucas with the lid off - Lucas This video was taken in a single tracking shot.

    Sweet Lullaby - Deep Forrest

    UGH! Time to photograph the nekkid folk...sorry Earllogjam
     
  4. earllogjam

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  5. earllogjam

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  6. drumstyck

    drumstyck New Member

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    i dunno about a specific top3, but here's ones i like


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VNrhmbc0y_8
    Prodigy "Smack My Bitch Up"...cool first-person video, "twist" ending.


    YouTube - A-Ha - Take On Me (Video)
    A-ha "Take On Me" ...classic. still one of the top videos ever.


    YouTube - Weezer - Keep Fishin' (HD Music Video feat. The Muppets!!)
    Weezer "Keep Fishin" ...i cant believe it took a band this long to use the Muppet Show concept...Weezer always does good videos (Buddy Holly, both versions of Island in the Sun, Perfect Situation), but this is my fave.


    YouTube - fatboy slim - weapon of choice
    Fatboy Slim "Weapon of Choice"...the beauty comes from the absolute left-fieldedness of it...it comes completely out of nowhere, but buys into the concept fully and sells it perfectly.


    YouTube - The Hardest Button To Button
    The White Stripes "The Hardest Button to Button"...they have a ton of awesome videos..."Fell in Love With A Girl" has the lego video, "Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground" tells this awesome story as its projected on the actual setting of its aftermath...but "Hardest Button" is just one of the most interesting videos i've ever seen...if nothing else, just the effort put into the video warrants the respect...but beyond that, i just think its phenomenal.
     
  7. D_Tintagel_Demondong

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    Just 3... that's difficult.

    Radiohead's Street Spirit
    YouTube - radiohead - street spirit (fade out)

    I guess this would be my first choice. Jonathan Glazer can capture a mood that I've only seen Jonathan Demme accomplish. It's haunting, mysterious, inspiring.

    Bjork's All is Full of Love
    YouTube - All is full of love

    I guess because it's just cool and visually stunning. The analogy with the lyric is striking. It's much like Dr. Coppelia's doll. The lezbo robot scene is original.

    George Michael's Fast Love
    YouTube - George Michael - Fast Love
    Say what you will about the man, he's a great crooner and this is possibly the most stylish video every made -- in every fine detail. It might not be the most original video, but I still love it's sexy coolness.
     
  8. mind7

    mind7 New Member

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    Can only come up with one off the top of my head.

    Tool - Prison Sex

    YouTube - Tool - Prison Sex [hq - fullscreen]

    I still cannot say why I love this video so damn much but it is part of my memory now. Something about that doll fascinates me.
     
  9. drumstyck

    drumstyck New Member

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    all of Tool's videos have this mesmerizing quality...they dont follow the norms of being timed with the music for the most part, they just sort of exist on their own, almost as short films...Prison Sex is on the top of the list for me too :)
     
  10. dannymawg

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    First to spring to mind (as it was recent):

    "The Sun's Gone Dim and the Sky's Gone Black" - Johann Johannssen

    IMO the message being told through the screenplay being "the more things change, the more they stay the same".

    On the other hand, who knows what the story's about - it just looks good.

    Second and third picks to follow...
     
  11. prince_will

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    YouTube - Midnight Poison by Dior

    It's not technically a music video, it's a commercial, but the direction of Wong Kar Wai and the presence of Eva Green is outstanding.

    it can be seen as a short vid for MUSE's Space Dementia if you like...
     
  12. dannymawg

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    Ye gods how could I have forgotten this one?...

    "Bastards Of Young" - The Replacements

    speaks for itself.
     
  13. earllogjam

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  14. earllogjam

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    The video is haunting. I agree that it captures the essence of the song very well.
     
  15. BigLittleMan

    BigLittleMan New Member

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    being someone who rates music by the quality of the song and musical talent of the artist, music videos don't do a lot for me. but here we go... (since i had a few drinks tonite i don't think i can figure out how to provide links):

    ALIVE, pearl jam--one of my favorite, all time bands and stone gossard is so fucking hot in it (especially the version where he's wearing the "sissy" tshirt)

    PRAYER, disturbed--great band and the lead singer is hot

    I AM THE HIGHWAY--another great band and the vid is good too
     
  16. Kevbo

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    "Art direction", to me, is a fairly broad term -- surely any effective music video can be said to have good "art direction", almost by definition? (Perhaps not live videos.) Anyway, some good videos with interesting visuals...

    Shock the Monkey - Peter Gabriel -- Catchy-ass song, and watching Peter morph back-and-forth into tribesman make-up is pretty neat. Racist, by implication? Not sure. YouTube - Peter Gabriel - Shock The Monkey (Yes, I know Sledgehammer is a more obvious choice, and maybe a better one -- but it's been played to death...)

    Typical - Mute Math -- Many bands have tried the "film it backwards, play it forwards" video (Coldplay - The Scientist; Jack Johnson - Sitting Waiting Wishing) but Mute Math do the best job with it. And there's paint, lots of it, so there's your art direction :rolleyes:. YouTube - Mute Math - Typical (Honorable Mention for video with lots of paint: J Geils Band, Freeze-Frame)

    No Way Out - Jefferson Starship -- It is possible they completely improvised this video, but it has a dream logic to it that almost makes sense... some cool make-up and general wackiness make it almost mesmerizing. And Grace Slick makes angry turkey noises. Joe Bob says check it out. YouTube - Jefferson Starship - No Way Out

    You Might Think - the Cars -- Do I need to explain the greatness of this one? Clearly a great achievement in art direction. Though a friend once made a good point: it wouldn't work if the song wasn't good. YouTube - The Cars-You Might think

    Twilight Zone - Golden Earring -- My pick for the best music video ever. A spy on the run, with wall-to-wall money shots (jagged playing cards! slow-motion bullets! dancers with syringes!). A classic ending that would probably not work today on litigation-fearful MTV. YouTube - Twilight Zone - Golden Earring

    Other early '80s videos with great visuals: ABC - Poison Arrow and almost any Duran Duran (Hungry Like The Wolf and Girls On Film jump to mind).

    Cheers,
    Kevbo
     
  17. dannymawg

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    Speaking of Demme - he directed "Perfect Kiss" for New Order. A good look at something that wasn't popular - watching a electronic-oriented band in the middle of a studio performance.

    Chris Cunningham's work - indeed stunning, for its time and now. Check more of his stuff on Aphex Twin's "Come To Daddy", "Rubber Johnny", and my favorite, "Windowlicker". Caution: viewing Cunningham's stuff over the internet doesn't do it justice. Go look for his DVD to see incredible production values/detail.

    Very funny... :biggrin1:


    Nother goodie: "Live With Me" - Massive Attack. For its visuals, and connection to the lyrics. "Wrote you a letter" + her cell phone ringing, going unanswered...
     
  18. jason_els

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    So many good videos out there.

    I have to tip my hat to MJ because his videos are ground-breaking, Black or White, Leave Me Alone, and certainly Thriller.

    Beyond their money-is-no-object production quality, they're very well-made.

    However, I'm going to take a different path. Sometimes, as an art historian, I know what's good without really liking something and sometimes I like something I know isn't good. These three are videos which I like because I find they somehow add something extra to the music that needed to be there.

    My first love, Laurie, made my spring formal one year (prep schools don't have proms) by promising me one dance. I was beyond thrilled to have her attention alone for a few minutes, being nice to a silly sophomore who thought the world of her. The song was Tainted Love. Since then it's held a very special place in my heart as it wasn't long after that Laurie committed suicide. One of my most horrific fears of old age is forgetting how wonderful those few minutes were and what they meant to me. So when I heard this version of Tainted Love I was curious, then I was startled, and then I was terrified. It's Tainted Love as a dirge for the AIDs era and even features Marc Almond in a cameo.

    The sets and lighting are dark, spare, and empty. The theme is of a young man dying of AIDs being dumped in an AIDs hospice to die. It's intense, poignant, and very cold. Tainted Love interpreted in this manner gives it new life even as it speaks volumes about AIDs, dying young, and how most of society views AIDs patients.

    ------------

    From D'arcy languidly plucking her bass in the most exactingly lit cut I've seen in a video (despite her porcelain pallor you can just make out her features, the light stopping just at the far side of her face), to the exquisite costuming and choreographic matching of sound to action, few videos are so lush and alluring as Tonight Tonight, by Smashing Pumpkins; a veritable copy of a 105 year old film, Le Voyage dans Le Lune, by the French genius Georges Melies. Watch it and compare it to Tonight Tonight and you'll appreciate the exceptional level of detail that went in to copying Melies' original. Tonight Tonight is a masterpiece in note and frame; every single frame. I have never seen a video so perfectly executed, even the acting is good. The lighting mimics Melies, the shutter flutter mimics Melies, the movements of the actors mimic Melies. To say that Tonight Tonight is a lovingly crafted tribute to one of cinema's earliest geniuses is an understatement (note the name of the ship at the end of Tonight Tonight -- it's the S.S. Melies).

    What is perhaps most striking is how the color palette of the video match the music and how the lighting brightens in the more intense passages of the song. Nothing was left to chance and the entire effect isn't so much of a music video but of a film. There's suspension of disbelief in this velvet-lined music box of jewel toned visions and sweetly soaring strings juxtaposed by rich basslines and Jimmy Chamberlain's military snare.

    The first frame, where the dowager smashes the Champagne against the ship, she turns to the camera, smiles, and then nods her head slightly to the side. That's a move lifted straight from period film images. It took an actress and a director to know just how to capture it perfectly. They could have skipped it, not bothered, who the hell who listened to Smashing Pumpkins in 1996 would even have noticed?? But they did it anyway to bring a sense of complete immersion into a marvelous period in cinema history that gets treated like the orphan of a bastard son of a red-headed step-child.

    ----------------

    It's now 22 years old :)scared:) but when it came out it was like nothing anyone had ever seen. The Museum of Modern Art put it on permanent display.

    Michael Jackson copied it for Black or White, which arguably had better special effects, but this has something Black or White doesn't quite have and that's humanity. Whereas Black or White made a point to display people of all complexions, this just makes the point of showing people.

    Black and white photography isn't used much any more and ever so rarely for videos, yet when done in low-contrast tones, it lends character and atmosphere to the images it captures.

    Godley & Creme's Cry still stands the test of time because it is all about the song that we all sing now and then. You've got to watch it up close and full screen to truly get the effect and what an effect it is. Somehow each of these faces reach out to us and we feel something in them. A few are famous but most aren't. What most don't notice is that the faces aren't all shot for the same period. Some dissolves are held longer than others in mid fade, others are nearly immediate but watch the progression and you'll see it's done with great care and skill.

    Cry is a sad song yet I find the video remarkably warm and reassuring because it feels like one big group hug, just two guys singing and everyone relating to an emotion thats always easier to bear when shared. That's the triumph of this simple if striking piece. It brings us closer to each other, celebrates our humanity and reminds us how important that humanity is when we're most alone.
     
  19. Mem

    Mem
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  20. jason_els

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    I almost chose that. Excellent choice mem. I think it was $32 million (that's $70 million in today's money), an outrageous sum that was only topped later by the $50 million Thriller. It is beautiful though.

     
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