Since the dawn of MTV in 1981, music videos have played an increasingly important role in the industry.
Artists and record companies are, of course, always looking for new ways to market their work. For years, musicians have visually enriched their live shows with elaborate costumes, sets and designer lighting. Video support seemed perfectly suited to this philosophy, but how to fill the screen?
The answer to this question is still being worked out today. There’s no denying, however, that a catchy video will go a long way in propelling a song to the top. In the 40 years since MTV started broadcasting (and even a few years before that), visionary creators have conjured up some truly memorable elements.
Here are ten such works that, for various reasons, remain important landmarks of the art form.
Extremely likable American indie rockers OK Go (named after a high school art teacher’s usual saying) formed in Chicago in 1998 and released their self-titled debut full-length in 2002.
Perhaps more than any other contemporary group, OK Go has invested energy, time and quite a bit of imagination in creating music videos that are always original and often captivating. Their superbly choreographed mini-ballets, often filmed in one take, incorporate precise direction, optical illusions and routines painstakingly learned by band members.
Notable examples include Here It Goes Again, in which the band performs a smile-inducing display on a series of motorized treadmills (this video won the band a well-deserved Grammy Award) and the stunning White Knuckles, where the band is completely outdated. shone by some four-legged friends.
The video above, for Upside Down & Inside Out, is particularly noteworthy. Shot entirely in (almost) zero gravity, facilitated by guiding an aircraft into a steep dive for thirty seconds at a time, it’s a colorful explosion of exuberant magic.
OK Go said their goal in making these videos was to bring a sense of wonder back to the small screen, and they certainly achieved that.