There is no denying the influence of music videos on the music and film industries and popular culture more generally. It has been music videos, more so than the music in many instances, that have propelled bands and musical artists into the stratosphere of success. Many music videos remain iconic to this day through their capacity to capture a particular time and place or to serve as visualisation of the ideas and attitudes of the artists and their music. The music video can visually capture the mood of a piece of music, provide insight into the ideologies of a song or artist or simply provide viewers and fans with a permanent record of the development of an artist and their music over time. Since the humble beginnings of MTV, the proliferation of cable television and the subsequent arrival of You Tube and other online and digital methods of distribution, music videos remain as relevant as ever – if not more so – in the marketing of musical artists and their music.
Furthermore, the music video has provided innumerable opportunities for actors and filmmakers to showcase their abilities, serving as a launching pad to success in films and on television. Music videos have had a significant influence on music and film culture and consumption and some of the most interesting contemporary feature film directors honed their skills in music video production. The likes of David Fincher, Spkie Jonze, Mark Romanek, Michel Gondry and Anton Corbijn are amongst the large number of filmmakers who have made a very successful transition from music video to feature film.
The music videos included on this page have been selected for reasons many and varied. Yes, quality is a factor and many of the videos that will be appear on this page are bona fide classics (such as the likes of The Beastie Boys’ Sabotage or Fatboy Slim’s Praise You, both by Spike Jonze, or maybe Mark Romanek’s incredibly powerful Hurt video for Johnny Cash). However, many videos will be included here for myriad other reasons as well. Whilst they are not all classics in ways we might traditionally allocate such status, they are all interesting or simply downright entertaining in some way. They may have been chosen because they are controversial, or catchy, or they may be thought provoking, provocative or even gimmicky. They might be intelligent or they might dumb. They might just be a good idea well executed. The very best of them might be all of these things and more. Some of them are here purely and simply because I like them.
Make of this collection what you will, but I hope that you will be able to understand why a particular video has been included, regardless of whether you love or hate the video, the artist or the song. I will continue to add to the list in the days, weeks, months and years ahead and I welcome suggestions for inclusion.
The following three videos were directed by a former student of mine and it is always good to showcase the work of emerging filmmakers.