Music Video

Culture Warrior

The music video is in terminal condition, if not certainly dead. MTV hasn’t been associated with music for a long time, and nobody invests real money in the format that formerly revolutionized the relationship between audiences and musicians. The music video had a great run, introducing us to visionary directors and creating profound visual iconography whose power was unmatched by album covers and promotional materials, but beyond the occasional breakout video that circulates on YouTube, it’s time to say goodbye to the format that brought us everything from “Billy Jean” to “Frontier Psychiatrist.” In the past few years a new music/video hybrid has become increasingly prevalent. The “visual album” (as coined by Animal Collective) continues to emerge as a means of creative visual expression and (often) as a form of cross-promotion for an album. Unlike music videos, visual albums stage, sometimes with interruptions, the majority of a musician or band’s LP. Even though this format seems designed to exist exclusively through web distribution (visual albums can occasionally be too long, interconnected, and narratively or stylistically cohesive to be parsed out as standalone shorts or individuated music videos, but aren’t long enough to be feature films), the visual album is also a risky declaration in the age of iTunes, proclaiming albums to be cohesive works of musical artistry rather than conveniently divisible bits of audio information.

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? Godzilla terrorizes New York City, a clever raptor drives a police car and The Death Set clamors its way through a chaotic music video for “They Come to Get Us” complete with an introduction inspired by Back to the Future. It’s a frenetic mash-up of 70s film grain, science fiction icons, Beastie Boy shout-outs and a million other recognizable faces creating a crowd of cartoons and pop culture to an unrelenting base beat. It might give you a heart attack, but it’ll leave you with a smile on your face. What will it cost? Only 2 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films.

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? This animation work from Brendan Cook is directly pulled from the dreams your nightmares have. The US is on the cusp of discovering internationally-loved musician Gotye (specifically the infectious, xylophone-heavy “Somebody That I Used To Know“), and this video for “Hearts A Mess” is a cinematic display of animated work that would cause Tim Burton to lose bodily function. It’s a darkly dreamlike voyage with a group of monsters marching through a digital wasteland, and Gotye’s haunting, pierced vocals help the short subdue the eyes, ears and the brain. Get ready to avoid work all day re-watching this and looking for more of Cook’s and Gotye’s work. What will it cost? Only 5 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films.

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published: 04.17.2014
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published: 04.17.2014
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published: 04.17.2014
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published: 04.16.2014
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