Shorts That Don't Suck, Vol IV: Music Video Edition
For our fourth installment of "shorts that don't suck," we turn to an art form which many have declared dead or dying: the music video. It seems that the age of the internet has done something drastic not only to the business of music, whose coffers have been drained by file-sharing and music-pirating, but to the business of the music video, which goes through every crisis that its parent business goes through. The main result of this has been that music video budgets have shrunk -- from the millions to the hundreds of thousands, to in many case the just-thousands -- and the way most people see them has changed. As you're probably aware, there aren't a whole lot of music videos on MTV anymore; YouTube is now one of the industry's main distribution platforms, and she is a fickle beast, indeed. It's not the million-dollar Paris Hilton music videos that get the most views these days; it's those silly OK Go people jumping around on their treadmills (34 million views) -- a video that probably cost a few hundred dollars to shoot.
Weezer: "Pork and Beans"
Capitalizing brilliantly on this new model of success, ever-popular Weezer made their new video not only for the internet, but starring the internet. (Didn't I just blog about internet memes?) Keep an eye out for the Numa Numa guy, Chris Crocker, some Mentos-'n'-Coke experiements, and countless more nerdy net in-jokes:
Emily Haines: "Dr. Blind"
This simple but haunting video for Emily Haines (of the band Metric) uses a bit of special effects, but not in a way that seems overtly music video-ish. There are no black hole suns expanding over cartoonish skies, no crazy lights, no guitar-wielding rock stars floating through digital universes. Just a girl who goes to pick up her prescription at a Wal-Mart pharmacy, and has a little bit of a freak-out.
The Arcade Fire: "Black Mirror"
If F. W. Murnau had ever directed music videos, they would've looked like this. It uses more digital tricks than you can shake a keyboard at, but makes every one of them look like an old-school silent era technique. Unlike the other videos in this post, it certainly wasn't cheap to make -- but when you're a band at the top of the (indie rock) pops, you can spend a little coin on your videos. Strange and beautiful, not to mention one of my favorite songs by one of my favorite bands, I couldn't help but include it.
Eric Avery: "All Remote and No Control"
I don't know much about Eric Avery (formerly of Jane's Addiction) but the director, Andy Huang, is a friend of mine, and I think the visuals he created for this video are stunning. Not to mention he basically made this in his bedroom, on a computer less powerful than the one I blog with. Hats off, Andy -- those people growing roots out of their faces are going to give me nightmares for years to come.