A great music video is something that stays with you for many years. It could be one you watched on your parents’ TV as a kid, or one you saw as a teenager that shaped your music taste for years to come. In its form, genre and style, a music video encapsulates a meaningful period of time for everyone: where you were and what you were into, all in one short nostalgic video clip.
After the It’s Nice That Podcast discussed the making and meaning of music videos in its most recent episode, we reached out to animators, photographers, illustrators and bands to tell us their all-time favourite music video and what it means to them…
Metronomy’s Joe Mount on Weezer’s Buddy Holly
I think this video is probably the one that bridged the gap between music and music videos for me. It referenced a TV programme that I knew and I was able to ‘get’ it. It got me in to Weezer too, which is what good videos should do for good music.
Now it feels very much of its time, but it arguably started the whole self-referential/retro thing that is everywhere in music videos now. Still a solid 10/10 for both song and video.
Photographer Hollie Fernando on Radiohead’s Street Spirit
Pretty much all of Radiohead’s videos would be classed as my favourites, but Street Spirit sticks out for me the most. The song, being extremely dark and haunting on its own, is somehow pushed to another level when you have Jonathan Glazer’s imagery to watch alongside it. For me, the song and the imagery are on exactly the same wavelength and I have yet to see another music video that has this connection better.
I first watched the video after seeing Radiohead live at Reading Festival when I was about 15/16 and absolutely fell in love with them. I came home to learn everything about them and watching this video years after brought back the euphoria of being young, drunk and in a huge crowd watching a band you knew was going to be your new favourite.
However, not long after I read an interview with Thom Yorke where he explained the meaning behind the song and it completely changed my view on things saying: “Street Spirit has no resolve. It is the dark tunnel without light at the end. It represents all tragic emotion that is so hurtful that the sound of that melody is its only definition. We all have a way of dealing with that song. It’s called detachment. Especially me; I detach my emotional radar from that song, or I couldn’t play it…I can’t believe we have fans that can deal emotionally with that song. That’s why I’m convinced that they don’t know what it’s about. It’s why we play it towards the end of our sets. It drains me, and it shakes me, and hurts like hell every time I play it, looking out at thousands of people cheering and smiling, oblivious to the tragedy of its meaning, like when you’re going to have your dog put down and it’s wagging its tail on the way there. That’s what they all look like, and it breaks my heart.”
When I first heard the song/saw the video, I was definitely one of those cheering smiling, tail wagging people Thom Yorke mentions but now when I watch it, it actually terrifies me a bit. It makes me feel nervous and alone. So if one music video can move me this much, it has to be down as my favourite!
Le Gun member Robert Rubbish on All I Want Is You, by U2
It’s a hard one to choose my favourite music video, but I have given it a lot of thought and it’s All I Want Is You by U2.
I think I first saw this video on a show called Club X in 1989 on Channel 4 on a Sunday lunchtime when I was 15 years old. I wasn’t a fan of U2 but this video blew my mind. It was a mini black and white film nothing I had ever seen before. I was transfixed, it told the story of a dwarf who falls in love with a trapeze artist.
It’s so cinematic, the images and the music work with each other and the way the camera is used adds a dream like feel. To me it seems like the band has let the director make what he sees in the song. I love it as well because it’s a story video and it has a narrative, and like Fellini films that it pays homage to it uses black and white in such a great way, light and dark, day and night.
I still feel now that it’s a great video as on a personal level it opened my eyes to Fellini films that I would fall in love with later in my life. I also like the fact that U2 only have a cameo in it.
Django Django’s Dave Maclean on Peter Gabriel’s Sledge Hammer
Probably picked by a few people I’d imagine but this is my earliest memory of seeing a great music video and I was obsessed with it. I was already really into stop frame animation because I watched a lot of Ray Harryhausen films and I had it in my head that I wanted to be an animator. This video had so many fun little ideas in it and the track is killer so it’s a winning combo and really set the bar at the time for what a music video could be.
Animator Sophie Koko Gate on Down To Earth by Curiosity Killed The Cat
When I was in my early 20s and deadly single, I had an unhealthy obsession for the lead singer of this band. Because of my bias, I have no idea whether or not this is a good video, in fact I don’t even know what happens in it. What I do know, is that someone has captured the essence of a man who is blessed with being physically beautiful, but for whatever reason is just not that comfortable in his own skin. He hasn’t worked out how far his arms stretch when perfectly perpendicular, he can’t control his mouth muscles in the way he’d like to, his eyes are lazy and careless but the veins popping from his neck tell a different story, he dances exactly like my best friend Rachel, and these happen to be the kind of traits that appeal directly to my inner soul.
I watch it a lot more when I am single, I remember it being a sort of comfort for me, you know like.. don’t worry Soph your dream man is right here inside this computer screen! Actually I tracked the man down and added him on Facebook so we are internet friends now. I’m in a cool happy relationship now, but you know it’s still nice to watch, I’m sure everyone’s got their equivalent right?
You can listen to the It’s Nice That Podcast on Music Videos via the link below.
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- Bradley Pinkerton’s projects combine handmade gestures with scanned-in textures
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- The prodigal return of “iconoclastic” artist Danny Fox
- Jump into the world of Ben Jones’ post-internet, psychedelic paintings
- Polaroid’s creative director Danny Pemberton introduces new brand Polaroid Originals
- Artist Dominique Pétrin on creating her very own domestic product
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- Herburg Weiland’s meticulous editorial designs are typographically-driven
- The Visual History of Type author Paul McNeil selects and dissects his six favourite faces
- Breakdown Press’ Joe Kessler picks out his most-treasured books