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10 of the most innovative music videos (ever)

If you follow film news, you will probably have heard the hype for what promises to be one of the most fun filled offerings at the cinema this summer, Baby Driver. The trailer and premiere for Edgar Wright’s exciting new project was released at SXSW, and depending on how well versed you are with the cult-hits-mainstream director’s back catalogue, the concept may seem a touch familiar. The plot revolves around getaway driver Baby (Ansel Elgort) who plays music near-constantly to drown out the hum in his head caused by a childhood accident. When he meets the love of his life (Lily James) he has to extricate himself from a life of crime with as little damage as possible. Also starring Kevin Spacey, Jon Hamm and Jamie Foxx, Baby Driver hits cinemas 16th August, but you can get a taste now by watching the fantastic music video for Blue Song by Mint Royale, directed by Edgar Wright and starring Noel Fielding and a host of comedic talent, that inspired the idea.

Here are ten other music videos, in no particular order, that blew our minds with their innovation, sense of fun or just downright bonkers creativity. What are your favourites that didn’t make the list?

1. A-Ha – Take On Me Possibly
THE most iconic music video out there, this revolutionary video based around a drawing come to life distills the essence of the 80s, and remains memorable even today. Not every music video can say they inspired an entire comic…

2. Taylor Swift ft Kendrick Lamar- Bad Blood
Even in today’s media-frenzied world, it’s not every music video that trends for days on social media. The combination of Taylor Swift, some super-cool women armed to the teeth and a dystopian leather-tech aesthetic is pretty much catnip to the internet. It helps that the song is pretty catchy too.

3. Fun ft Janelle Monáe – We Are Young
There’s a definite epic-ness to this song and video of slow-mo party/fight chaos. It’s very satisfying to watch a drink being slapped out of someone’s mouth in slow motion, not to mention the bad-ass sight of a suited-up Janelle Monáe just walking through the mayhem, cool as a cucumber. I feel sorry for the clean up team though.

4. Janelle Monáe Ft Big Boi – Tightrope
It should be no surprise to anyone that Janelle Monáe made this list twice. Every single video of hers is stellar and bursting with energy and creativity. One of my favourites is Tightrope; based in a narrative world where dancing is outlawed due to ‘its tendency to lead to illegal magical practices’, we see inmates in a One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest-type asylum known as the Palace of the Dogs. In the flyest tux imaginable, Janelle Monáe breaks all the rules and brings the sweetest moves to incite the inmates into dance. NEED I SAY MORE?!

5. Beyonce – Hold Up
That iconic moment with the baseball bat and THAT yellow dress from the phenomenal Lemonade album; I could have chosen a myriad of Beyoncé videos, but this is the stand out. Every frame is pure art, from the serene water scenes to the complete self-assuredness of Beyoncé walking down the street smashing it in every possible way. It’s a joy to watch.

6. Michael Jackson – Thriller
The other masterclass in how to do a video people will never forget; for what mere mortal could resist the evil of the Thriller? Directed by John Landis, who made the fantastic 80s horror An American Werewolf In London (who would have guessed…), this music video manages to be a solid self-contained narrative film, a group dance masterclass and a showcase for an immensely catchy song. This classic will be played on every Halloween until eternity, and I for one am fine with that.

7. Of Monsters and Men – Little Talks
The fantasy imagery in this music video grabs you from the moment the air-pirateship sails on to screen, and keeps your attention once the meteorite turns out to be an ethereal goddess figure with really rad make-up. I first saw this music video whilst hanging out in the uni bar and I was transfixed. Before you ask, I’ve no idea how the fantastical quest relates to the lyrics.

8. Gotye – Easy Way Out
I’m sure most of you are more familiar with the surreal painted vision that is Somebody That I Used To Know, but Gotye’s nightmarish mixed media stop-motion offering in Easy Way Out captures the creepy feel of a disturbing short film whilst avoiding any of the cheap horror tricks other music videos rely on. Also, it has a cool animated cat.

9. Caravan Palace – Lone Digger
CW: Cartoon Violence/Suggestive Content
This is a very very weird animated video, set in a world of anthropomorphic animals. Some cool cats enter a strip club (yeah), drink milk, and start a fight with some dogs in suits. Things soon get very bloody indeed. You have to admire the tenacity of the antelope dancer who continues professionally throughout, though with a song this catchy, dancing is practically compulsory. Points for sheer weirdness alone.

10. FKA twigs – Glass and Patron
CW: Disturbing Imagery
More performance artist than anything else, FKA twigs music and style isn’t for everyone, but she has undoubtedly some of the most evocative and provocative music videos out there. This award winning example transforms from bleak and disturbing to a sea of colourful silks, before culminating into a Vogue catwalk showdown. Like nothing else.

Honourable Mention: David Bowie and Mick Jagger – Dancing In The Street
Those outfits, that dancing, the homoerotic undertone…this deserves a mention for the sheer enthusiasm and superhuman level of confidence whilst boogie-ing in a green blouse. Somehow, it’s so deeply uncool, it’s eye-wateringly awesome.

Words by Heidi Teague
Tweet @TeagueHeidi


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The UK's first Career & Lifestyle Magazine for women in the Creative and Media industries.

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