All the best from 2017
2016 gave us several audio/visual combinations that changed the game for ever. Beyoncé’s ‘Lemonade‘ was an epic affair and Frank Ocean‘s big comeback album, ‘Endless‘, was best enjoyed while watching the man himself build a staircase. This year, it’s not been so intense, but the short-form is alive and kicking with these 13 seriously ace music videos.
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Charli XCX – ‘Boys’
Director: Charli XCX and Sarah McColgan
Why it’s great: In Charli’s latest vid for Nintendo jam ‘Boys’, she lets the lads take centre stage as video vixens. Opting to take a place behind the camera, XCX directed a bevy of a-list boys to lick guitars (Mac DeMarco), cuddle puppies (Diplo) and channel their inner ‘American Beauty’ (Brendon Urie). And why did Charli do this? To turn the male gaze on its head and poke a bit of fun at the way women are objectified in music videos. Absolute hero.
What they say: “They’re doing all the sexy things that girls usually do in music videos…I just wanted to flip the male gaze on its head” – Charli XCX
Gorillaz – ‘Saturnz Barz’
Director: Jamie Hewlett
Why it’s great: Optionally available as an immersive, 360º VR experience, ‘Saturnz Barz’ found Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett’s animated band taking shelter in a ‘spirit house’, haunted by a freaky, multi-headed monster that delivers all Popcaan’s lines. It ensnares the quartet and takes them on a trippy adventure, sending you hurtling through an asteroid field with them.
What they say: “That six-minute video cost $800k, I don’t know where the money would come from for another” – Damon Albarn
Lorde – ‘Green Light’
Director: Grant Singer
Why it’s great: The accompanying video to Lorde’s absolute banger ‘Green Light’ shows a more playful side to the meteoric songstress, as she dances alone through the streets and in a club bathroom. It’s all terribly clichéd music video stuff, but it’s Lorde doing it, and she makes it look effortlessly cool. Also she lives out literally everybody in the world’s dream of having a dance on top of a car.
What they say: “The video for ‘Green Light’ and the song are quite symbiotic. I knew that I wanted it to be set at night, like my real life – I’m wearing the shoes that I wear every night when I go out partying at home” – Lorde
Jay-Z – ‘The Story Of O.J.’
Directors: Mark Romanek and Jay-Z
Why it’s great: Taken from his incredibly candid comeback album ‘4:44’, ‘The Story of O.J.’ sees Jay-Z reflect on black racial identity, concluding that little has changed in terms of racial equality since the burgeoning of the civil rights movement in the 1950s. The video satirises racist cartoons from the 1940s and ‘50s, forcing American pop culture to confronts its past in a bid to make way for a better future.
He says: “”O.J. [Simpson, former NFL ace] would get to a space where he’s like, ‘I’m not black, I’m O.J.’ Like Tiger Woods would get to a space and think, ‘I’m above the culture.’ And that same person when he’s playing golf and playing great, you’re protected. When you’re not, they’re gonna put pictures of you drunk driving and, like, embarrass you. That world will eat you up and spit you out.” – Jay Z