Creatives' favourite music videos: the inspirational, forbidden and political

27 July 2017
Reading Time
4 minute read

Following on from the most recent episode of the It’s Nice That Podcast we’ve been reaching out to creatives to tell us their ultimate favourite music video, a short film that combines both audio and visual in a way to make it unforgettable.

Below, we speak to filmmaking sisters Emily and Alice Stein on two music videos from their childhood, animator Igor Bastidas on a video that inspired his career path, and photographer and regular Pitchfork contributor Matt Lief Anderson on a recent video that encapsulates the turbulent times we live in, showcasing the true power of a music video.

Pitchfork photography contributor, Matt Anderson on Alright by Kendrick Lamar

I thought about this a lot over the last few days and combed over old Bjork, Smashing Pumpkins and Avalanches videos, but decided to go with Alright by Kendrick Lamar.

I’m not sure that I have a favourite music video of all time, but Alright speaks to what I’m feeling now. I grew up in a middle class family and I’m a white straight male. It’s not lost on me that I come from privilege and that things have been a lot easier for me that most of America. But, it’s a dark time for all of us. Despite our differences, we are all brothers and sisters.

ICE agents are kicking in doors and deporting Latin American immigrants, there is an overwhelming amount of police shootings in the black community, the American government has tried illegally ban muslims from entering our country, and of course we still deal with rampant homophobia, transphobia and sexism. It’s all based on fear. The same fear that led to Britain seceding from the EU, and France getting far too close to electing a fascist. It’s really important to keep fighting and to remind ourselves that this is not normal. We can’t let these events become so commonplace that we became desensitised.

This song has been an anthem in the resistance against hate. It’s chanted in Trump rallies where protestors were extremely outnumbered by gun toting conservatives, clad in “Make America Great Again” hats and on marches for racial equality all over the world. The song and video are about moving through adversity and not giving in. If we can keep resisting then we’ll be alright.

On top of all the racial and political implications, it’s filmed beautifully. Colin Tilley’s direction feels more like watching a short film where Kendrick composed the soundtrack. For a video that’s only seven minutes long, it tells a really important story with some laughs and tears along the way. I love the wide angle filming, I love the dancing, I love the effects, and love that this song is the soundtrack to something bigger than music and filmmaking. In dark times, we need more art like this.

Emily Stein on Let’s Talk About Sex by Salt ’N’ Pepper

I remember when this song came out, it was banned off of our school bus – but when it came on it would play for a bit before the driver would switch it off (he was a nice guy), and we would all go nuts singing along at the top of our voices. I love this video, the pure 90s RnB styling, the Salt ’N’ Pepper girls coming together talking about something that wasn’t really shouted about, the Oliver Toscini Benetton style kids references and the general colour and energy of the video. It’s just cool and still makes me want to dance like a school kid on the bus when I see the video.

Alice Stein on Flowered Up’s Weekender

This video is more like a short film, but it completely manages to capture the era of 90s rave culture. It follows the journey of a classic “working class” hero who lives through the dull 9-5 week, only to reach the weekend of pure hedonism. The narrative is great and is also beautifully shot. I can’t remember where I first watched it, but it’s definitely still one of my favourites to this day. Aside from the amazing filmmaking by the very talented Wiz — even though the film was shot nearly 20 years ago, it still feels very relevant today!

Animator Igor Bastidas on Paranoid Android by Radiohead

I remember me and my friends as schoolboys in 1997 watching this video over and over again, trying to understand the absurd ending. It was unexpected to the point of being so interesting and funny. An amazing video, perfect for a song with different mindsets and moods written in it. This animated short had a strong bearing on my life, watching it like something I would love to do when I grew up.

Little Dragon’s Yukimi Nagano on Window Licker by Aphex Twin

i first saw it on MTV and still revisit it on YouTube sometimes these days. It’s epic and disgusting beautiful and funny all at the same time.

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About the Author

Lucy Bourton

Lucy joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in July 2016 after graduating from Chelsea College of Art. In October 2016 she became a staff writer on the editorial team and in January 2019 was made It’s Nice That’s deputy editor. Feel free to get in contact with Lucy about new and upcoming creative projects or editorial ideas for the site.

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