5 Examples of Awesome Animation in Music Videos
Amy from Animazoo motion capture systems shares her 5 favourite animated music videos…
If you’ve ever spent a couple of hours watching music channels on TV then you will know that music videos these days often run the risk of falling into something of a rut – sweeping moving camera work with an attractive singer making eyes at the lens, strobe filled club scenes, or a band playing in some or other location (the roof of a tall building, a giant stage, in front of a sunset etc etc) have all been done and then done again. Clever acts whose careers achieve longevity – or who want to stand out from the crowd – tend to use animation in their videos at some point, whether it’s to defy the laws of gravity or inject a great big dose of fantasy entertainment. Here are 5 examples of the most loved animated music videos:
The White Stripes – Fell In Love With A Girl
Ok, so its not drawn animation but the stop motion Lego animation in this clever White Stripes video puts a great big capital ‘A’ in awesome. From a remarkably lifelike drummer Lego Meg – complete with giant drum kit – to close ups of Jack White’s singing lips (including tongue and teeth!) it’s incredible what you can do with a few plastic blocks and a lot of patience. Swimming pool scenes, street scenes, even a big red bus make this video of primary colours and remarkably fluid movements a great example of how animation can still have a very lifelike appeal.
A – ha – Take On Me
This 1985 slice of romantic fantasy was composed by way of ‘rotoscoping’ – a combination of pencil sketch and live animation – and was responsible for many a teenage girl spending hours staring wistfully at comic books wishing a handsome hero with a motorbike would come alive and whisk them off on an adventure as happened to Bunty Bailey in the video. ‘Take On Me’ had all the key components for a classic pop video, from the handsome hero to the whiff of danger and the happy ending when Morten Harket breaks out of the comic book to be with the girl he loves. The believability of the animation has made it somewhat legendary and the video won six MTV Music Awards in 1986.
Peter Gabriel – Sledge Hammer
It’s another stop motion video and if you haven’t seen this genius piece of animation in a while (or ever) then your life is really lacking something. This has to be one of the most inventive, entertaining and clever pieces of music video animation ever made – from the chalkboard roller coaster to the giant fruit face. If you need any further proof that this really is one of the greatest music video animations since the dawn of TV then Sledge Hammer holds the title for the most played music video in the history of MTV and has won nine MTV Awards, as well as a BRIT.
Justice – D.A.N.C.E
All the animated action in this super cool hipster video takes place on the T-shirts of the dance duo Gaspard Augé and Xavier de Rosnay and friends as they stroll around the Rex nightclub in Paris. Chests that unzip to reveal animated pumping organs beneath, cartoon keyboards that become real as they drop to the floor, the dancing names of fellow Ed Banger artists and a clever tie in with the action on the T shirts and what the human beings are doing at the time makes this one of the smartest animation videos in recent times. D.A.N.C.E was nominated for Video of the Year at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards and whilst it didn’t win, it spawned a series of copycat videos, which is always a sign of greatness – imitation is the greatest form of flattery after all.
Daft Punk – Discovery
If there’s an act that totally milked the animated music video it was without a doubt Daft Punk. This duo of motorcycle helmet wearing electronic music pioneers created not just a single animated music video but an entire movie, which was set to their album ‘Discovery.’ They used mostly Japanese animation to depict their futuristic adventures, and whilst this might not be everyone’s cup of tea, you can’t dispute that they were one of the most energetic users of music video animation out there. It was also, of course, another great way to preserve the anonymity of the two Frenchmen – something which they pretty much maintained throughout their stellar years – and ramp up the mystery surrounding them and their music. An enormously effective marketing tool…
These are just five examples of excellent music video animation – it’s certainly not an exclusive list and if it was longer would have to also include the trippy Beatles graphics, the clever Gorillaz characters, Pearl Jam’s ‘Do the Evolution’ and Bjork’s ‘I Miss You,’ where the songstress appears as a cartoon character by Ren and Stimpy creator John Kricfalusi. Awesome.