When Grandiose Music Videos Obscure Their Songs
  • WEDNESDAY, MARCH 19, 2014

  • Posted by: David Moffly

In a world of short attention spans some videos break the rules to defy the YouTube written playbook of engaging the watcher in the first 15 seconds or risk a click away. In fact, these videos go so far in the other direction that they are mini-films that can and sometimes submerge the amazing song. Over the top effect laden videos used to rule the day (back when we all bought too expensive CDs) but for the most part the song/artist was the center of the video.

Michael Jackson "Thriller"

The grand-daddy of them all was this over the top 13-minute video that set the bar for theatrical visual storytelling. This was the third video from his epic album and since the label wouldn't fund its production, MTV put up the money to shoot the video. Wonder if they would do the same today...



Foals "Late Night"

An amazing song that keeps building, takes us home and then lets us go is interrupted by three intertwined stories of sex, love and birth. Dialogue from these stories intrudes into the song gripping and sucking you into the visual intensity of the video. You just can't sit back and enjoy the masterful construction of this song — you are left emotionally drained. Leave out the sadness and the blood, just play me the damned song.



Whitney Houston "I Will Always Love You"

Back when Kevin Costner thought he was a movie star instead of a character actor and Whitney Houston was at the top of her beauty and vocal powers they made The Bodyguard. The music video is part of the promotional support for the movie. Whitney's most iconic song is consumed by movie images and Kevin Costner's sad mug. We would look sad too if Whitney at the height of her hotness was leaving us.



Drake "Hold On, We're Going Home"

WTF — The most amazing baby making song of this generation is consumed by some lame kidnapping mobster plot that we are forced to sit through. Drake with his hair-gelled, gun toting posse is preposterous. Like this baby-face would even know what end of a gun works. We do love the ingenue in her lacy get up though (No cliches here).



Aerosmith "Crazy"

Back in the day when Alicia Silverstone and Liv Tyler were at their post-teen (we hope) appeal, Aerosmith inserted some performance video into a Thelma and Louise story starring these two. Liv Tyler and a stripper pole that's all we remember.



Soundgarden "Black Hole Sun"

A classic example of a period of time intercutting over-the-top visual effects into slightly less trippy performance footage of the band. What creative thought riffing on the Joker and the Wizard of Oz was a good idea? Soundgarden has to still be paying the label back for the production cost of this video 20 years later.



Seal "Kiss from a Rose"

Seal's iconic song set to men in tights from Batman Forever? All we can think of now is Heidi Klum talking to Oprah about why she married him. Apparently it had something to do with his own heroic showing in a pair of spandex bike shorts.

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