A music video director who frequently appears with new material that I really like is Jonas Akerlund, a Swedish director who has worked with the likes of Lady Gaga, Madonna, Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera.
Akerlund works with main stream pop stars and is highly sort after, which is most likely why he directs for popular music. All his videos have elements of (Joe Gow) staged performances; in Telephone, even though there is a huge narrative on which the entire video is riding, Gaga and Beyoncé perform the song with lip syncing and dancing.
In Wake Up Call the story scenes are intercut with scenes of the band playing with instruments and singing, therefore it's partly staged performance. His music videos are often colourful, vibrant and take the form of almost a mini movie. A great example of this is the Lady Gaga videos 'Paparazzi' and 'Telephone' which follow a fictional story with 'Telephone' as a sequel video.
This extensive detail shows that the videos become so much more than just showcasing a song, it becomes a piece of art in it's own right. With the arrival and popularity of award shows, and the added incentive of YouTube, artists are hiring directors, production teams, make-up artists and the videos can cost up to a million pounds to create.
The Cardigans – My Favourite Game
This 90's video had 3 different endings and the humorous one was chosen for the final cut. I like this music video because it's funny, matches the pace of the song featured and keeps you interested in the story line it presents.
The singer gets out of the car after crashing it, and is without a scratch, however as soon as she stands up the rock, which was holding down the accelerator, hits her on the head, knocking her out.
Maroon 5 – Wake Up Call This video is almost a movie, featuring a story line worthy of the big screen. The video mimics exactly what the song is about, and manages to portray it’s mournful lyrics and regret. There is a lot of action, and portrays the lead singer Adam Levine in a dangerous, imperfect way, something that is not usually seen in pop music.
Words are placed over the video throughout it's entirety. This helps the narrative and point out the importance of the lyrics.
Another shot of the words on the screen, here is a good example of it exactly illustrating what is happening in the video.
This shows a dramatic action scene from the video at it's climatic end.
Pink - Sober Pink always comes up with music videos that show herself as imperfect while expressing her admiration for people she aspires to be like or offering less fortunate people the limelight. In 'Sober' she shows a more visually creative side and she is the only person featured in the video. There is slight Surrealism inspiration in the video such as being trapped in the white room scene with the very sharp haircut and abnormal make-up. Pink appears here as two separate people and her she looks at herself in disappointment. Here Pink is in a big empty white room in a near all white outfit with light make-up and hair. This shot is during the lyric 'I don't wanna be the girl that has to fill the silence' this is followed by a recorded silence especially for the video where she looks around the room with expectation. This is an example of the video directly expressing the lyrics.
Lady Gaga - Paparazzi This video employs lots of colour and patterns to express the lifestyle of a 'star'. The video features an unpleasant storyline but manages, through Gaga's humour and visual aspects such as costumes, to be intriguing and captivating. There is also a lot of provoking going on and uses, what could be in someone else's hands, shocking imagery. Suicide, murder, violence and sexuality are displayed in the video. There is clear inspiration from comic-book/animation style and heavy fashion influence. The video opens with a long introduction of Gaga and her boyfriend talking and then fighting, which gives the video background narrative before the music starts. Diegetic sounds such as birds, camera noises, and voices are featured, a non-diegetic sound featured is the dizzying sound effects in the shot shown above. Here shows Gaga's use of animation/blue screen effects. One of the maids lays dead on the floor. The camera shot and costume/make-up make this a humorous/artistic image not a mournful horrific death. The death is made to look 'fashionable' and visually 'unique'. Some shots are seen from the Paparazzi's point of view. Which is linked to the lyrical meaning of the song. A newspaper is starting to fly onto the front of the camera with a full 'article' and picture of Gaga, which uses animation. Lady Gaga mocks the mug shot process 'in character', but as a performer, she makes it one of her iconic images.
Telephone is a follow up video to Paparazzi continuing the story-line through. You can see the two videos are meant to be together through the use of colour, intricate costume design, media attacks from Gaga and the humorous take on murder and violence. In this video Beyoncé appears and joins in with Akerlund visual feast, this is the kind of video she would not usually make so to see her blend into the madness was quite interesting.
Beyoncé is given an alter ego in the form of 'Honey B' which helps to give the video narrative.
Here is one of many shots showing the 'victims' of Lady Gaga and 'Honey B'.
One of the many costumes in the video. The car behind Lady Gaga is Quentin Tarentino's car from the films Kill Bill. This is a reference to the character of the Bride, and eludes that the role is similar to Gaga's in her video.
Rihanna/David Guetta - Who’s That Chick?
Two versions of this video were made; 'day' and 'night'. The night version was a shot for shot remake of the day version only using 'night' imagery, colours and concepts, i.e. being a lot darker in tone than 'day'. For that alone it is remarkable but I enjoy the sheer detail of each video as a stand alone. In 'day' the colours are vibrant and fun, in 'night' the colours are dark and the make-up and costumes play a big part in creating a different atmosphere.
Each version is shot for shot the same but with a different tone. Here, for example, the stereo is shown at exactly the same time but it's a different stereo in different colours.
Rihanna's hair and make-up changes for each version. The day version displays bright colours and curled hair. The night version shows dark gothic make-up and straight hair which also appears to be darker. Also in the 'day' version, Rihanna is looking up, yet 'night' Rihanna is looking down and her right eye is completely concealed. Night Rihanna comes across a lot more dangerous and intimidating than 'day'.
In the day version the hand is displaying a peace sign whereas the night version is showing a thumbs down. This is a small detail which keeps with the theme.
The dancing in each version is relatively similar, it's the costumes and mis en scene that changes.
Maroon 5/Christina Aguilera – Moves Like Jagger
The video literally interprets the song title. There isn't really a plot line, just a lot of Jagger impersonators dancing alone on a stage inter-cut with scenes of the band. Archive footage of Jagger is used alone with scenes of featuring artist Christina Aguilera. I like this video because it's fun, conveys the song’s meaning well and is interesting to watch. The video is shot in a way that reflects the archive footage: it makes the new footage old by adding blips to the film, roughening the edges and changing colour and contrast.
A lot of footage of Jagger is mixedinto the video.
A shot of one of the many dancers 'impersonating' Jagger. The video is stylised to match the archive footage of Jagger above.
This is a shot of Christina Aguilera. She is being introduced in the video here, and her name appears in neon writing across the screen, this was done earlier with the song title. The scene here is also stylised to look older and like the archive footage of Jagger.