Beyoncé/YouTube

There is something incredibly special about a music video being released for a song that you love. Whilst some artists churn out unthoughtful lip-syncs, occasionally real visions of music will be brought to life through video. With a particular moment in a film being soundtracked, the song is added to complement what already exists; with music videos, the music is the stimulus. My favourite music videos are those that showcase the artist’s original ambitions for the song, in many ways what it means to them. The music video, rather than a mere fad, remains a further manifestation of artistic output. As in the examples below, visuals are a consistently valuable addition worth savouring.

‘APESHIT’ – The Carters

"APESHIT represents a new level of artistic sensibility"Beyoncé/YouTube

There is only one major thing I believe I have in common with Beyoncé, and that is us both being art lovers. Beyoncé and Jay-Z were credited with the Louvre’s recent record breaking visitor numbers, which is unsurprising from the ‘APESHIT’ video. They demonstrate a clear appreciation of the art around them, the costume and movement all reflective of the pieces they stand before. It is not only the monumentality of the building itself they champion as a marker of grandeur, but the individual aspects of the collection too. They utilise their location perfectly, with a beautifully crafted sequence taking place on the steps leading up to The Winged Victory of Samothrace, the Carters at the apex. Beyoncé has imitated a range of iconography in her videos, but ‘APESHIT’ represents a new level of artistic sensibility.

‘Robbers’ – The 1975

"An episodic exploration of the way film sits alongside music"The 1975/YouTube

Every band has a song that their listeners propel into genuine significance. In January, I saw The 1975 at the O2 and Matty Healy spoke out to the audience, “This song is for you…it’s always going to be for you.” They launched into ‘Robbers’, the video playing behind them. Steady and slow building, the song showcases the best of The 1975, the lyrics evoking a narrative played out in the music video. It remains the most cinematic output of the band, beautifully shot, an episodic exploration of the way film fits alongside music. Every scene is purposeful, playing out the narrative, detailed and designed to be concentrated into a collection of artistic stills. A stand out moment is a kiss, one lover masked, imitating Surrealist artist Magritte’s Lovers. A song like ‘Robbers’ deserves such a video that captures its essence.

‘Blush’ – The Rose Affair

"What is so stunning is its natural feeling; these are real people, living a real life"The Rose Affair/YouTube

A recent release, the music video for Blush demonstrates the creative minds of The Rose Affair. Whilst independent, the video is packed with content, with a multitude of locations utilised. It complements the electrifying dynamism of the song itself. The performative emphasis of the video, mirroring the seriousness of dance discipline with the seemingly idle musician, demonstrates the tensions of individuals’ passions in a relationship. The video finishes with their two separate performances, layered over each other. What is so stunning is its natural feeling; these are real people, living a real life. When listening to the discography of The Rose Affair, the music conjures such clear images, cinematic and narrative driven, which are largely replicated in this video. It is the demonstration of their ability to make the listener feel a specific way, showcasing the potential of the band and their artistic approach to their output.

‘Shot at the Night’ – The Killers

"It is uplifting, and comforting in its decidedly untragic narrative"TheKillersMusic/YouTube

‘Shot at the Night’ shows off Las Vegas more than any other Killers video. Whilst the majority of their videos strand the band in the desert, ‘Shot at the Night’ takes place in the centre of the nightlife. Brandon Flowers sings from an incredible vantage point that overlooks the city at night. Alongside this, a typical Cinderella-style narrative plays out between a hotel staff member and a tourist, as she escapes her work for an evening, venturing into the city. It celebrates the excitement and potential of Las Vegas, emphasising the city’s quirks against any idea of ‘tacky’. It is uplifting, and comforting in its decidedly untragic narrative. The song itself has the perfect variation to build anticipation alongside the story.

‘Another Love’ – Tom Odell

"It is the perfect visual representation of indifference in a relationship"Tom Odell/YouTube

Tom Odell is not usually recognised for his videos, often simplistic and seemingly ritualistic. However, ‘Another Love’ is a perfect representation of the song itself. Tom sits, rigidly, in a central arm chair within a minimalistic domestic setting, singing the song motionlessly. Around him, a girl tries to interact with him, yet he remains static. Between the verses time passes, the setting develops as he remains seated, seemingly in one take. New girls come in, they try to get his attention, fail, they destroy the room, he does nothing. It is the perfect visual representation of indifference in a relationship, lamenting the ease in which someone can be replaced. As the dynamic of the song increases, the setting around Tom follows, yet still he remains motionless. It is a powerful re-enactment of the feelings expressed within the song.

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