Welcome back to the Visually Obsessed series, focusing on the music video and directors’ side of things. To end the series, I wanted to list a few of my favorite music videos ( I also wanted to hit a few different genres while I’m at it).
Alors on Danse – Stromae (Directed by Paul Van Haver & Jérome Guiot.) – 2009
I watched the music video for this song when I was in high school, and have probably had the music video on repeat in my head ever since. The song is about people struggling with their everyday worries and seeking escapism in the form of… dance! The music video directed by Paul Van Haver and Jerome Guiot splits the footage in two showing multiple people’s perspectives simultaneously during the video. It depicts a working man having a rough day and ends with him singing karaoke and dancing at a pub. The interesting parts of the video are the events that happen in the middle. The video has a sympathetic telling.It tells an exciting story looking through the lens of multiple people.
Two Weeks – FKA Twigs (Directed by Nabil Elderkin) – 2014
Okay, so FKA Twigs has a peculiar sense of..well, everything. Her look, music, vision, and just about everything else about her is bizarre, but bizarre isn’t bad, and in her case, it is pretty beautiful. The music video for Two Weeks has FKA Twigs as a giant goddess-like figure with her disciples surrounding her dancing. Each disciple is another FKA dancing in miniature form. The entire video is one shot being pulled back until you finally see the whole shot. FKA is famously known for saying “weird things can be sexy,” and I am inclined to agree after seeing this video.
*Another personal favorite of mine are her videos for Video Girl and Hide, which are both quite strange, yet breathtakingly beautiful.
Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana (Directed by Samuel Bayer) – 1991
Smells like Teen Spirit (directorial debut for Samuel Bayer) depicts Nirvana playing their revolutionary teen anthem at a pep rally filled with tatted cheerleaders and angsty teenagers in a smoky gym. The video went through reshoots as Kurt Cobain wasn’t the biggest fan of the first cut. The video also depicts a real-life mosh pit urged by the band to reward the extras for sitting through hours of shooting. The video ends with a sinister close-up of Kurt’s face with a Joker-esque smile on his face, perhaps foreshadowing their future.
*My personal favorite Nirvana song is Heart-Shaped Box, with another exciting and visually appealing video directed by Anton Corbijn
Sugar We’re Going Down – Fall Out Boy (Directed by Matt Lenski) – 2005
Directed by Matt Lenski the video portrays the forbidden love trope. Outcast boy with antlers falls in love with the local neighborhood girl, the father is enraged, a fight ensues, and then bam! A turn of events. The music video feels like a mini film with a great song as it’s soundtrack. It is fun, quirky, and a video that just makes you feel warm inside.
National Anthem – Lana Del Rey (Directed by Anthony Mandler) – 2012
Okay, so this music video is a fresh take on history directed by Anthony Mandler. Lana plays both Marilyn Monroe and Jackie Onassis, while ASAP Rocky plays her beloved JFK. The video is a flashy event of American nationalism boosted by millennial superstars as 60’s political royalty. It is a fun take on the lives of the Kennedy’s. It stars two very contradictory people (Del Rey & Rocky) as its leads, yet it is beautifully executed.
Tierra Whack – Whack WorldTierra Whack, “Whack World” (Directed by Thibaut Duverneix and Mathieu Leger) – 2018
Whack World is more so a full-length visual than a music video, but nonetheless it’s a fresh take on artistry. While Tierra Whack isn’t the first, nor will she be the last to release a full visual album, this one definitely is one to be marked. Thibaut Duvereix and Mathieu Leger directed the visual for a 15 song album, with each minute being a new song. It is striking, it is bold, and it is entirely jarring. I cannot even explain the premise as it is unexplainable.