When it comes to music videos that have true staying power and also translate sound into pictorial form, three standout videos definitely live up to that difficult tradition: Coldplay’s “Strawberry Swing”, Bjork’s “All is Full of Love” and A-ha’s “Take on Me.” The criteria for these three superb mini movies is creativity that goes beyond just pointing a camera at the musicians while they lip sync, and using different art forms and storytelling techniques that would usually be seen on the silver screen.
Coldplay “Strawberry Swing”
For this 2009 Coldplay favorite, usage of stop motion animation, chalk-drawn predators and city skylines, and a bright colored superhero using umbrellas and flash lights to maneuver through it all is clearly a brilliant idea – especially with Coldplay’s awesome anthem playing along with it. Everything from outer space trips to using a paddle to sail on puffy white clouds are all possible and very cinematic inside the scope of this 4 minute and 14 second mellow daydream produced for “Strawberry Swing.”
Bjork “All is Full of Love”
Leave it to Bjork, the queen otherworld eccentricity, to bring her 1999 sensual song “All is Full of Love” to life utilizing man-made creations that have the least capability to love – futuristic robots – to dramatize the most popular human emotion. These sleek pearl white robo-people kiss, hug and caress their way into intimacy. Bjork’s hypnotic soothing singing takes you into this miniature science fiction movie and makes you hope that she has planned a sequel.
A-ha “Take on Me”
Even back in 1985 music videos were already making the necessary inroads to utilize cinema techniques to up the visual ante, especially after pop music master Michael Jackson and big screen director John Landis (Trading Places, Coming to America) changed the world with the short film music video “Thriller.” This classic synthpop hit “Take on Me” from the Norwegian New Wave musicians A-ha gets turned into a comic book that literally comes alive to increasing levels of interaction as the video evolves. Real life and fantasy coexist with beautiful results.