The music industry seems to be a growing family with the introduction of new artists each year. Creativity overflows in multiple genres that is incorporated in outlets such as social media, fashion, or performances. One highly underrated form of creative juice for musicians is music videos. As the age of illegal downloads and audio posts, it’s easy for new singles to be accessed without having to watch a video or rip the audio from that. There used to be a time where television shows revolved around video countdowns as opposed to them being played at early hours when nobody is actually awake. Lately though, it seems as though there are artists who take an intelligent route and introduce new music with a video, and then buy Spotify plays, as opposed to releasing the single first and having the video overlooked. There are some artists who tease about videos enough so that when it actually is released, their fan bases try to break records with views. More often than not, the new music/artists is what’s being pushed in order to expand an audience, whereas this “art” seems to get overlooked, but there’s still a little glimmer of hope from some performers that the music video world isn’t quite dead and gone.
I speak for many music fans when I say that having a passionate, diverse taste in music is the furthest thing from cheap. Not only are you funding multiple genres of music, but also that includes multiple artists. With the multiple artists come albums, merchandise, and concerts of all sorts. I also am aware that it’s easy to access songs and albums without having to actually buy them, as well as concerts that aren’t too horribly expensive. For many, it’s the route of illegal downloads that makes it easy, but for dedicated fans they also countdown days until certain albums are released. For fans of Beyonce, there was no time to prepare for the incredible approach to her latest album. Out of nowhere, Queen B dropped an entirely visual album. This was unheard of, and impressive to say the least. Beyonce is one of the best known celebrities and artists in the world, so filming a music video for each song as well as not having it leaked to the world takes not only willpower but trust. The best part about this approach was that each song could be watched and connected to, as opposed to listening to a song and feeling strongly about it. She connected her songs together through these videos, and it made the new album so much more enjoyable. Another example of connected an album to music videos comes from Fall Out Boy and their Youngblood Chronicles which is a 11-part music video series which they began with their first single on the comeback album “Save Rock n Roll.” FOB has spaced out the videos just perfectly so that fans anticipate what is going to happen next in the storyline they have introduced. It’s like anticipating the next episode of your favorite television show. The fact that they not only came out of hiding for four years with an album, but this idea as well, proves the true talent and passion they have about what they do.
While artists my love what they do, there is also a side to them that might resent how they have to do it. Luckily, with the right management, an artist can have a say in the path that their career goes. Sometimes that opinion is expressed in a video, that way said artist can tell their story. One Direction took a comical jab at management in their “Best Song Ever” video. They not only shoot down the stereotypical “boy band” image and routine but they also cause an insane amount of havoc in the process of making a video. In addition to this storyline, 1D was able to exercise their acting chops as they all played a certain role in boy band management such as choreographer and marketing executive. The 1975 also took a jab at a “typical image” in their “Girls” video. For those who know the band know that they are a more black and white kind of band, whereas this video is elaborately shot in color with all of the over the top video girls right by their side as the band is playing. As different as it was for the band (whom I am an avid fan of), it was a video that stood out to me, which is the impact that videos should have.
Sometimes an artist wants to send another type of message to the audience, such as a change in their image or the power behind a song, which is perfectly fine and just as effective. For example, as much grief as people give her, Miley Cyrus has made quite the splash with her music videos from “Bangerz.” Hollywood’s latest wild child is portraying a unique vision to say the least, and is constantly causing a stir amongst different audiences. Her “Wrecking Ball” video not only broke Vevo records, but it also sent a message of vulnerability towards her relationship with Liam Hemsworth. It was a breakup that affected her more than people are realizing, and her nudity in the video seemed to be the best way to open up to her audience. Critics and fans from all corners were talking about this video, which is exactly what Miley’s goal was. Panic! At The Disco’s “This Is Gospel” videos was the inspiration for this article, because it also expressed a passion that I have never seen in a music video before. When Brendon Urie sings “If you love me let me go”, he looks like he is screaming it each and every time, and the way that the video is set up, there’s a small build up before that line. The dramatics are the furthest from over the top, and I remember when I watched this video, there were moments where my breath was taken away by how connected I felt to the song through that specific moment being visualized in front of me.
Last, and certainly not least, music videos are used as a platform to introduce the world to new artists or friendships we might not be aware of. Katy Perry had many famous faces in her “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F)” video, such as Rebecca Black and Glee stars Darren Criss and Kevin McHale. As a major Gleek, seeing two of my favorite people incorporated with such a fun song made me more excited about listening to it, and it’s something I always remember when I listen to the song to this day. Seeing them outside of their well-known element is refreshing and entertaining at the same time. A more obscure version of this tactic would be The Summer Set’s “Boomerang.” Any major fan of the band would know that scattered throughout the quirky video set in a pool side speed dating event, there are friends of the band. TSS never had a purpose of promoting anyone, but it also shows that they have fun giving their friends a chance to be incorporated into their work.
There’s so much to discuss when it comes to music videos and it’s a shame that not many people take the time to do so. Musicians are taking the time to create a visual of a song they have put effort into making possible for their fans. Not only is it another way to promote themselves as artists, but to express themselves as individuals. This art has so many facets, all of which I highly encourage music lovers to take a deeper look into because it definitely deepens the love and appreciation for not only the artists but also music in general. Below is a YouTube playlist that includes both the songs mentioned and a few other honorable mentions for jobs well done on videos.
Photo credit to Literally Darling.