Music videos are increasingly pushing boundaries as artists search for new ways to show their creative talent to a massive online audience. 2015 was an interesting year as musicians were careful to create original works of art and not stray from their own personal brands. This forced a lot of artists to think outside of the box. The result: everything from new technology, interactive viewing experiences, and baby dress-up.
Here are the coolest, weirdest and most creative videos of 2015:
David Bowie – Blackstar
David Bowie’s “Blackstar” is a really interesting rendition of his earlier works. Bowie has always been a fascinating performance artist and is renowned for pushing boundaries in his music videos. “Blackstar” removes the rainbows from Bowie’s classic space theme to create something dark that dips into the post-apocalyptic mars —the humans have all left, an astronaut’s skeleton is all that remains. The classic beauty of his performance is still intact; although it seems like Bowie is questioning the inevitable effects of death. The question becomes, is this Bowie’s ode to himself?
FKA twigs – M3LL155X
FKA Twigs is the princess of strange for the year of 2015 and her music video does not disappoint. “M3LL155X” is a compilation of three songs and follows the process of giving birth. The beginning features FKA Twigs as an inflatable doll that a man is sweating over. It is disturbing, mostly because the real head of the artist is inserted into the doll’s body. FK Twigs goes into labour later in the song, and colour runs down her legs when her water breaks. She gives birth in the third track and pulls coloured scarves out of herself. The entire birth sequence then disappears from the storyline and she is left dancing on a runway in the woods. The conclusion of the video takes away from the concept. Points on creativity though.
Ghost – From The Pinnacle To The Pit
Ghost combines several video formats into one piece, ranging from embedding video clips of classic films to animation sequences. The story of the video, which was directed by Zev Deans, follows a man who obtains great powers from a sorceress. He then proceeds to give the power to the people he encounters. It is filmed in a chrome colour pallet that adds to the contrast between the futuristic animation and old-school black and white movie clips. The “Pinnacle to the Pit” reflects a theme often scene in metal: the destruction of God in favour of a different form of worship. The Occult is classily presented and leaves the audience wanting to headbang and watch a flick from the forties at the same time.
Weird Al Yankovic- Word Crimes
Weird Al Yankovic is a go-to for entertaining and truthful musical parodies. “Word Crimes” takes Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” and makes fun of musicians who lack authenticity and intelligence in their song lyrics. This is a very relevant parody piece because earlier in 2015, Thicke was successfully sued by Marvin Gaye for ripping off his original, “Got to Give It Up”. 2015 was an interesting year for musicians who were kept on their toes to avoid copyright infringement.
Bjork- Mouth Mantra
Bjork could have an entire list of creative and strange music videos to herself. “Mouth Mantra” takes the cake. The entirety of the music video consists of the inside of Bjork’s mouth while she sings. The mouth twists and turns in odd directions too, which increases the gross factor but provides an intriguing look into the internal chamber of the human mouth. “Mouth Mantra” reminds the audience of Samuel Beckett’s “Not I”, a theatre performance consisting entirely of a mouth. The use of a single body part in performance art is a timeless exploration of how certain body parts are almost uncomfortable to see up close. Bjork’s use of the inside of the mouth creates a new rendition of this act of theatre and pushes the envelope even farther.
Between the Buried and Me – The Coma Machine
The Coma Machine’s music video weirdly complements the harsh song lyrics. The video begins with a man lying comatose on a bed in what appears to be an abandoned warehouse. The scene changes to a man on the other side of the room who wakes up in a bed. He then wanders around the warehouse, unable to reach his comatose body. The man goes into several rooms and finds his childhood room, a kitchen and a room with photographs floating in the air. He eventually hangs a version of himself and is then able to access his comatose body. The storyline explores the afterlife in a concentrated space, emphasizing that simplicity can create a complex message if done thoughtfully.
Sia – Alive
Sia is a master at creating thought-provoking videos involving children. She continues the trend with her new video, “Alive”, which features a small child doing karate. The video is not as shocking as Chandelier, her ground-breaking video that featured child dancer Maddie Ziegler. “Alive” still provokes an odd disjunction with the lyrical content of the video strongly conflicting with the child. It brings up important questions of the increasingly blurred boundaries between childhood and adulthood, especially as technology becomes more centralized in western society.
Silversun Pickups- Nightlight
“Nightlight” is a great music video directed by Mark Pellington because of the variety of sequences that the band used to create a complex storyline that includes a man with a dog head and a woman with blood on her face. A young woman is featured in several different sexualized settings and becomes entrenched in a nightmare of BDSM-like fantasy. The use of blurred video transitions and regular speech mixed into the song creates a hauntingly beautiful piece that questions the parameters of sexuality — a relevant issue in 2015 and 2016.
Avicii- Waiting for Love
“Waiting for Love” by Avicci is a pretty simple video at first glance, but the band scores massive creative points for employing a new technology that came out in 2015. The Google Jump Series creates an interactive video setting using 16 GoPro cameras situated around the venue. Viewers have the option of moving around the set, obtaining a 360 degree view of a video. Avicci used this new technology in their music video, which created an interesting insider experience.
Miley Cyrus- BB Talk
Miley Cyrus has arguably stolen the show on creative and weird. Waching Cyrus dance in a giant baby costume is not only hilarious, it is downright disturbing. Interestingly, the video alternates between Cyrus speaking and singing about her boyfriend problems, which creates an intimate and relatable setting for viewers. Cyrus sings,“I’ll be honest, it is the super cutey shit”…BB talk is creepin me out”. It is a funny and thoughtful way of directly exposing Cyrus’ child star identity in a satirical and funny way.