On our radio show Electrio, my co-hosts and I often discuss various topics regarding electronic music each week, among other things. We have frequently mentioned a number of music videos that we enjoy, so I thought it would be fun to create a list of what we believe to be some of the most interesting and unique music videos that have been made by electronic artists. The list here is obviously somewhat opinionated, but I tried to rank these videos with certain criteria in mind. I chose videos that I felt best demonstrated creativity in their storytelling and visuals, as well as those that become almost inseparable from the song itself when listened to. Let the countdown begin!
10). Nero – “Promises”
Keeping with their dystopian, futuristic theme, Nero’s “Promises” music video is almost like a strange mash-up of the book 1984 by George Orwell and the movie Equilibrium. After refusing to consume some type of sense-numbing pill, a young woman is able to briefly escape her monotonous life and experience the freedom of “feeling.” It’s a straightforward story, but its soft, glowing visuals add a certain charm that makes it stand out.
This somewhat goofy music video shows several synchronized dancers as they march through Paris, moving along to the music and twirling two metal bars around. Sounds pretty weird, right? Well it is; there’s no denying that. However, the Chemical Brothers’ bubbly tune is all about motivation and teamwork, which this video establishes quite well. It is undeniably engaging to watch despite its oddness, especially since the stuff the dancers do is apparently a lot harder to pull off than it looks.
These guys are no strangers when it comes to storytelling, as their whole band is a based in a fictitious world with virtual members. This entry in their interwoven universe finds 2D, Murdoc, and Noodle under attack and adrift at sea. It showcases a wonderful blend of both two-dimensional and CGI animation that lends itself immensely to Gorillaz’s creative style. The song is relaxing and upbeat, and this combined with the band drifting though the ocean in a submarine is a soothing sight to behold.
This music video is fairly simple and untraditional, which is one of the reasons I like it so much. The whole video is shot from a train car as it travels across the countryside, with trippy, colorful visuals superimposed on top. According to Robinson, this song is about finding meaning and direction for yourself, which I think this video captures nicely as it encourages blissful imagination. Sometimes you have to take in what’s around you and look at the world for what it could be rather than what it is.
Data’s wonderfully weird music video delves into the lives of several people living in a quaint little suburb who all spend way too much time dwelling on their fantasies. It’s a pretty interesting story with a clever twist at the end, conveying a message about remembering and paying attention to what’s actually important in your life.
This tearjerking video follows a secluded old hunter as he’s haunted by memories of his lost daughter. It’s left ambiguous as to what happened to her, but it is clear that her father desperately wants her back in his life. I think the ambiguity here works well as it allows any viewer to connect the story in the video with a situation from their own life that they can relate to. This video is a perfect match for the song, as it exudes the same reminiscent, melancholy tone that the song is built upon.
4). M83 – “Wait”
The final part in M83’s video trilogy for Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming finds a young girl with strange psychic powers in the midst of a ruined city, where she witnesses several dead bodies and people fighting violently. She generates a massive explosion to wipe all evil off the face of the Earth, seemingly to restart the planet so she and her friends have a new world to live in. It’s a sad concept that is executed well, depicting how far some are willing to go for the ones they care about.
Adapted from a short film called Paths of Hate, GUNSHIP’s piece strives to show how war affects individuals as two opposing WWII pilots dogfight unceasingly in the sky. With stunning cell-shaded animation, this powerful music video demonstrates how giving in to blind hate can turn men into monsters. This is definitely a video that sticks with you; it’s impossible to listen to the song afterwards without recalling the vivid imagery presented.
In 2003, Daft Punk partnered with Toei Animation and animator Leiji Matsumoto to create the film Interstella 5555: the 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem, an animated epic based on their record Discovery. The film follows an alien band as they are kidnapped and taken to Earth by an evil man called Earl de Darkwood, who has exploited countless musical artists to create Gold Records with which he can rule the world. The whole film is essentially a music video for Daft Punk’s second album, and though I recommend watching the whole thing, I chose the video for “Aerodynamic” because it’s my favorite song on the album and this video sets up the rest of the story quite nicely. Interstella 5555 truly is a masterpiece and it’s unlikely that we’ll ever seen anything like it again.
The French duo are known for delivering eye-catching spectacles when it comes to their music videos and this one is no exception. Featuring an elaborate fictional sport that combines everything from football to motocross, this video embodies the over-the-top cheese factor of movies such as Rollerball and The Running Man. The whole video is beautifully shot and full of high-octane action as we witness Snake Plissken’s doppelgänger struggle to take down his robot rival’s team. It’s without a doubt one of the most creative and fun-to-watch music videos I’ve ever seen, and one I find myself revisiting over and over again.
Hope you enjoyed this list, and be sure to tune in to Electrio every Monday morning from 10a.m. to 12p.m!