Inspiration can come from anywhere, and our Head of Operations, Ross, proves that this includes unexpected avenues.
Visual content marketing really can be influenced by musicians, and in turn, can seriously benefit your business. Ross talks us through what we can learn from the best music videos of the past year, and how to translate their success to your strategy.
Hello VidOps blog readers,
With 2020 firmly in our rearview mirror, today I’m taking the opportunity to look back at the 10 best music videos released last year.
You’re probably wondering why a video marketing agency that offers video production services has a blog post about the best music videos of last year. Right?
Shouldn’t I be writing a long, ‘lead converting’ article about SEO? Wrong.
Aside from being fun for me, and spreading the great content other digital content creators have made, we’ve also seen a trend emerge that we are keen to embrace.
Our clients often refer to the latest smash music videos when we are discussing their business storytelling and content marketing.
They send us music videos they like as inspiration for their own brand videos. Whether it’s the design style, the editing or the movement, these short movies are a brilliant way of articulating ourselves by showing rather than telling.
As a content creation company, we have a massive appreciation for any type of content creation - particularly visual.
For us, visual storytelling is the most direct, powerful and emotive way to communicate your brand narrative.
If you strip back the layers of complexity and artistic direction in modern music videos, we’re left with commanding, high quality, short stories that successfully build a brand for the company (the artist) and market their product (the song).
This clearly illustrates the brand storytelling ethos that is the core of VidOps digital content creation for our customers.
These cutting edge videos are an opportunity for us to share the storytelling of elite level digital content creators.
We’re seeing the top creative talent, the hottest trends, and the swankiest technology on the market combined to create these epic music videos that are consumed daily.
Without further ado, here’s the top 10 list:
10. Run The Jewels: "Ooh LA LA"
Run the Jewels are truly dancing on capitalism’s grave in their politically charged video for Ooh La La. Shot a few weeks before the pandemic hit the US, their slick video combines hard-hitting visuals with a gleeful party scene as our two frontmen, El-P and Killer Mike, bust some moves in a world where the meaning of money has vanished.
9. Kelly Lee Owens: “Corner of My Sky”
This wacky, unnerving, and humorous video is injected with Michael Sheen’s award winning acting chops. Showing mankind’s battle with machines, or in this case man vs toaster the video uses fantastic editing coupled with a mysterious concept, in a beautiful location. Matching perfectly with the eerie track, the mood darkens from curiosity to frustration as the smart camera work continues to flourish throughout.
8. Duval Timothy: ‘Slave’
Unique and masterful claymation work is the foundation for Duval Timothy's video that covers the topic of what it means to lose control of your work.
The use of animation services helps to give this video a distinct look and singular feel. The visuals tell the story of Timothy pouring all of his creative energy into recording music that is eventually taken away from him by music industry professionals.
Stopmotion is an underused facet in corporate animation services. But at VidOps we will continue to recommend this as a serious alternative to 2D animation to tell your brand story with a custom animation. You can really stand out from the crowd, as this video does expertly.
7. Bad Bunny: ‘Yo Perreo Sola’
This inspiring and truly creative music video shows Bad Bunny as THE pop and reggaeton innovator. Instead of using the typical music video trope of hiring a bunch of hot people to star in your video, Bad Bunny simply becomes all of them with some camera and animation trickery, playing not only the leading man but also his very own video vixens.
Fantastic set design, wardrobe selection, choreography and use of lighting make this video truly iconic and boundary pushing. The production company behind this one clearly had a lot of fun making the most of their large budget, introducing elements of seamless animation and some exquisite design.
6. HAIM: ‘I Know Alone’
From one extreme to the other! This genius slice of lockdown creativity shows what can be achieved on a shoestring budget, while working with your on-set constraints during COVID, such as social distancing.
The HAIM band members perform their cool, yet ironic, dance routine to a static camera while 6 feet apart, as the tune covers topics such as isolation and depression. This one goes to show that the top level of commercial video production doesn’t need to break the bank if you’ve got a unique idea that captures people's imagination - and demands their attention.
5. Machine Gun Kelly: ‘Bloody Valentine’
A strong concept and some serious star power make this lockdown music video pop.
Real life couple Megan Fox and Machine Gun Kelly fool around in their house, lip syncing and dancing. Beautifully shot in their amazing mansion with terrific lighting and graphic design to top it all off (that text is to die for). This video shows that a magnificent level of video production is still capable with a small crew in the current circumstances.
4. SiR: ‘John Redcorn’
The use of video animation services was a seriously hot trend last year as the video production world came to terms with the new normal of COVID safe shoots.
Thankfully the increase in the use of custom animation services has brought widespread acceptance of animation. The corporate world has embraced the use of animation too, not just for explainer videos but in all areas of their content marketing strategy.
Here, SiR takes heavy inspiration from the 90s animated TV show King of the Hill, re-casting himself, and his Top Dawg record-label cohorts, as the characters and stars of his music video. A great example of how to tell a story and generate a lasting emotional impact in 3 minutes whilst using fun, quirky animation.
3. Jayda G: 'Both Of Us'
A beautiful video that uses a whole suite of creative video production techniques to create the desired effect. Jayda G’s track will be a definite floor filler once again when clubs reopen.
This isolated, lo-fi video coupled with the euphoric, joyful piano creates a massive bang. With slick editing, perfect timing and strong shot selection showing snapshots of life at home, nature and an isolated walk. It all pulls together with an amazing live crowd portion at the crescendo for the most cathartic release.
2. SZA: ‘Hit Different’
SZA took the director's chair for this one and her strong creative vision really shines through. This big-budget video has luxe written all over it. From the outfits to the choreography, everything is perfectly sharp and masterfully on point to fit the image she wanted to create.
Beautiful locations (that junkyard) and lighting combine to give this one a surreal glow. The director of photography, cinematographer and videographers knock it out of the park with their slow outward zooms and interactions with the subjects and props of this video.
1. The Weeknd: ‘Blinding Lights’
The Weeknd started off as a mysterious, camera shy auteur, but as he has since grown with the rest of the world to understand the power of visuals to promote himself. He has embraced these opportunities to grow his brand as an artist and still reminding us that despite making pop music, he’s got an edge.
With Blinding Lights he creates and stars in what can only be described as a cinematic experience in place of a music video. References to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas are peppered throughout, but he uses his surroundings, the concept, the wardrobe and the makeup to take us on a memorable journey.
It’s a gleeful, glossy yet hectic adventure that we just can’t look away from, with Abel putting in his most committed performance on screen.
This had to be our number one as it shows the pure power of visual storytelling and how this can transform our thoughts and feelings towards what we are being sold - in this case the Weeknd’s brand and his music.
When you look outside the box for creative solutions to inform your content marketing, you open up a world of possibilities. We can all learn something from the innovation and brand storytelling in high-end music video production.
These videos are clear reminders of the importance of branding and how combining a strong narrative with creative video content will truly capture and hook your customer’s imagination.
Businesses can and should use this concept when considering a visual content strategy. In the same way, we always use brand narrative to inform the video production services we offer to create commercial videos for our clients at VidOps.