Escaping or Engaging? The best modern pop videos probably do both


Resting our eyes on Channel 4's music channel on a Saturday night, we were transfixed by the sheer digital and bodily exuberance of the music videos we were watching.

Although it's undoubtedly a commercial industry, musical artists are almost always not just selling "product". There is a utopian search for intensity, purity, authenticity, excess in even the most seemingly formulaic pop songs, which always sets them way above marketing or messaging (that's why the recent debacle of various artists shilling for Shell's environmental greenwash was so disastrous, for all concerned). 

Here's a few that have caught our eye recently (we highlighted Bjork's amazing video a few months ago). Above, Major Lazer's Light It Up - where the motion of dancers is captured and rendered in wildly different materials and surfaces. And below, MGMT's When You Die - mixing Scorsese-like nightclub scenes with surrealistic digital images of an operating-room death-bed. 

"When You Die" - MGMT Directors: Mike Burakoff & Hallie Cooper-Novack VFX Companies: King Drippa + Daughter & Sons

We also remember this one from Saturday night - Charli XCX's "Boys". Which turns the spectating gaze back on to the boys, for once - but allows them goofiness and cuteness (the female gaze allowing more into the frame than just sexual willingness). 

If you want to sample more of music-vid-topia, Pitchfork has a great list of top music videos of 2017, as does Cosmopolitan.