Now if this were BuzzFeed, I’d be titling this piece “TOP TEN MUSIC VIDZ TO GIVE U DA FEELZ.” Essentially, that’s what we’re going for here. The emotional power of film is something I have always considered to be congruent with music. They both can be extremely effective cathartic outlets for when we can’t or are unable to express how we feel in the moment to someone. We instead look inward, using what’s projected in front of our eyes or into our ears and then draw our conclusions as to how they relate to how we feel. We interpret, and reinterpret. The beauty of music videos, when well crafted, is that they take the magic of film and use that to elevate songs we already love to a new level. When you watch a piece of great film, you can’t help but be moved on some level. This was a fun list for me to make, but I wanted to showcase some of my favorite music video/song combinations and explain why I think they’re elevated above the majority. These are music videos that hopefully will hit you on a gut level like they did with me.
Bedshaped – Keane
This video, directed by Corin Hardy, is certainly one of the most eye catching videos on the list. It’s presented in this Tim Burton-esque style claymation, and at first, certain aspects of it seem almost creepy and unnatural. But that’s the beauty of the whole thing. The song itself deals with feeling lonely, isolated, and yearning to return to times of happiness. The video presents the main character in a way that’s so visceral that you can’t help but get a little choked up. The expressions used in his animation, especially in the darkest moments of sadness, really resonate and activate your sense of empathy. As the character hides from the world and cries all alone, it speaks to struggles with depression and anxiety; something very much in our modern consciousness. The small moments of joy, like the friendship with the cat, adds sympathy and will perhaps draw out a smile among the sadness. To cap it all off, the gorgeous hand drawn animations of the band just add to the energy encased in the video.
Fireflies – Owl City
Directed by Steve Hoover, this video captures the same magic that Disney movies do through it’s whimsy and wonder. It makes you feel like a kid again. The lyrics in the song prove Adam Young’s skill with wordplay AND nostalgia. It’s exudes this sense of innocence, and harkens back to a time when nothing mattered but exploring our own imaginations and having fun. In this world of stresses and bad news, it’s nice to know that sometimes we can still find time to dream again. Young’s performance is earnest and unassuming. He clings to that innocence that so many of us let go of too early. Knowing how the real world works is obviously important, but is it so necessary to surrender some of our wonder and innocence so early? It’s not for the cynical, but it reminds us it’s nice to forget about our own hardships for awhile.
Voices – Saosin
Saosin may fall into that category of bands that emerged from that golden age of emo and alt-punk music, and from that alone you’re probably drawing the conclusion that their videos deal with some “Oh woe is me that girl I like doesn’t like me” stuff, and that the videos themselves could fit any generic emo category. Well, I’d have to disagree. Saosin has consistently made videos that impress me with their tone and feel. Though I couldn’t find who directed the video, one thing is clear: this video gets its message across loud and clear. The shots of each person staring at the camera, silently dealing with the domestic problems they face is perfectly juxtaposed with the frenetic energy of the band performing. It’s heartbreaking when analyzed with the lyrics. “We speak in different voices when fighting with the ones we love…why can’t we say what we’re thinking of?” It’s a cry for help for those who feel unable to speak, and for those who choose to carry on because out of them only comes love, in spite of the hurt. The last shot of the video is haunting, and one you won’t forget anytime soon.
What A Day (2013 remake) – Greg Laswell
This one is a little unique in the sense that it’s not a traditional music video, but a unique take on a lyric video. The power of the words and what little you see of Laswell’s hands make this video powerful. The lyrics are raw and vulnerable, and the manic speed with which Laswell writes makes it seem like he absolutely has to get these feelings off his chest, or else he might break down. When the chorus hits, it’s even more effective, as it’s man looking back at his life and wondering if it was wasted. A powerful motivator. By the gentle and optimistic end, the lingering last words speak to all of us to make the most of every day.
New Morning – Alpha Rev
What’s in a life? Alpha Rev captures that perfectly in this song, which you can read my earlier review of here. This video sweeps you up and doesn’t let go. Images straight out of a Terence Mallick movie fill up this video, but to amazing effect. Everything is symbolic and up to you to interpret according to your own experience. Is it everything sweet, or everything that hurts? Is it beautiful or tragic? It all depends on how you choose to see it, but it captures a lot of the abstract feelings of joy and sadness we’ll experience as we go on the journey. But the journey is right there for you to see here.
That’s all for part one! I had a blast choosing these videos and writing this post, and there’s two more to go. If you liked these, let me know in the comments. What are your most emotional music videos? Be sure to post those as well!