Thursday, 10 September 2015

Timeline of the music video

The invention of film and cinema brought about the possibility of combining music and moving images together to create the music video. Presently, we are so used to a variety of music videos from abstract, lyric-only or even live performance music videos but this trend had to start somewhere. Notably, the commencement of music videos started around 1920's, during the "roaring twenties" entertainment in America was at its epitome, creation and innovation - especially in the art of moving images - was at its peak. Musicians like the Jazz star, Bessie Smith, used the idea of short films for her music as that genre was most popular in the twenties. My interpretation of Smith's usage of a short movie for her music video is the idea of being idyllic for her audience, since in the twenties the cinema was a place of escaping reality, she chose this as the catalyst for her audience to see a new lease of life.

Fast Forward ahead to the "swinging sixties", artists like the immensely iconic Bob Dylan was among one of the first musicians to use a "modern" music video. His song, "Subterranean Homesick Blues" includes a performance from a young boy  flicking through the lyrics from the song written on some card. This was seen as "modern" in that era, looking at it now I can see the major influence this music video has had on musicians in the present time. For example, indie band Swim Deep has a very similar performance in their music video to Dylan's.

Bob Dylan - Subterranean Homesick Blues 

In comparison to Swim Deep's, "One Great Song And I Can Change The World"

As you can see from watching both these music videos, Swim Deep imitate the lyric sheets, the black and white editing and a similar costuming.

The idea of a music video is to be seen as promotional, influential, memorable, iconic, creative and disruptive. The celebration of music videos is credited majorly in the present era, awards shows such as the Video Music Awards (VMAs) hosted by MTV award musicians based on their music videos.

In the 1970's and the rise of the game shows, record label seized this a perfect opportunity for their artists to get the best promo. This then acts a temporary music video for the song, then intelligently replacing the live music video with a fully produced one - in other words it's almost like releasing the song twice, maximising the potential buzz. I can see that it still happens presently as artists like Adele's iconic live performance at the Brit awards was the short-term music video for her single, "Someone like you" which then got a new music video.

Moving on five years, Queen's majorly iconic and influential music video for their song "Bohemian Rhapsody" is considered one of the best music videos. They perform in this video, playing their instruments as well as doing a unique and creative routine. There's a lot of clear editing such as fades and kaleidoscope effects which set the language for music videos from then on.

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