the fall of the music video

What’s with music videos nowadays? Back in the old days, a music video was, more or less, a carefully crafted aesthetic experience. Opinions may differ on the merits of particular videos– I think Anton Corbijn’s video for ‘Heart-Shaped Box’ is basically dumb and incoherent, while I always quite liked Nine Inch Nails’ videos– but there was clearly a lot of thought, effort, and, yes, money behind many of the videos from the 90’s. A fantastic video even heightens the qualities of a great song: Smashing Pumpkins’ ‘1979’ is an amazing song, but the video really captures something of the stupidity and exhilaration of being a teenager.

Nowadays, even great musicians make pretty weak music videos: for example, Crystal Castles make some lovely music, but phone in their videos. What’s up with that? Are videos just an afterthought, that only a few people will watch, for musicians that rely more heavily on touring? Even mainstream videos are largely pretty weak– Taylor Swift’s ‘We Are Never…’ excepted.

That said, I’m pulling together a list of the videos I like, here.


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