I remember in my teens waking up, turning my TV on, and watching MTV while getting ready for school. My millennial nostalgia bursts in happiness just by remembering those magical days when we had the proper amount of internet not to be living like primitives and still enjoying the lovely days of the early millennium. But going back to the videos and the cliché of longing for MTV before it was, well, whatever it is today, do you remember how important music videos were back then? It’s not that they’re not important anymore. Actually, I think that they now put much more effort (and by effort I mean money and production) to making them, and I will go back to this in a moment, but there’s something about those old videos, some of them with their grainy aesthetics, that makes them quite appealing.
The relationship between music and film goes back a long time. Actually, it can be traced back to the first movies ever made. But yes, I know, it was not the same. We could say that music videos as we know them were first seen in the fifties, and since then, they’ve become one essential part of the music industry. As it happens with everything, we have some videos that, well, to put it nicely, they’re different, and others that deserve some real and prestigious award for the great visual work they have had. In that way, just like with films we could say there are many kinds and genres, but more importantly, one of the best qualities they can have to be memorable and more enjoyable is their narrative. Bearing all these in mind, we got on with the job of presenting you with a selection of those videos that make us feel as if we were actually watching a movie.
“Thriller” – Michael Jackson, 1982
Well, you can’t talk about any kind of music videos without mentioning the King of Pop and his iconic rendition of classic horror films. I still remember how, the first few times I saw it as a kid, I was both terrified at the beginning and fascinated by the music and the movements of the story.
“Knights of Cydonia” – Muse, 2006
In a weird amalgamation of western iconography and a kind of futuristic science fiction plot, this video will definitely give you the vibe and essence of movies. Plus, the song is actually quite great, so you can enjoy for a matter of six minutes of a strange cyber-western story.
“Wake Me Up When September Ends” – Green Day, 2004
Let your inner teenager out, put some eyeliner, and cry with the cheesiest and most dramatic story in the history of music videos. Well, actually that prize might go to Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” because of Jack Dawson. But still, I remember how much I loved this video and now that I watched it for you guys, well, it’s not as punkish as I remembered. Still, if you want to shed a tear for the tragic love story, it does the job.
“A Little Less Sixteen Candles, A Little More “Touch Me”” – Fall Out Boy, 2006
More or less in the same line of our teen days, let’s move on with Fall Out Boy and their adolescent vampire plot. Here, a gang of vampires ravishes the city. Our protagonist, being infected, tries his best to revert the effects while working hand in hand with a group of vampire hunters. To be honest, I wouldn’t be that shocked if I found this at cinemas, in case it hasn’t been already made, of course.
“(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party!)” – Beastie Boys, 1986
Besides being the ultimate party anthem, in this video the Beastie Boys show a comical plot where three guys crash into a nerd gathering and make a huge mess. Naturally, these kids, I mean the well-behaved ones, soon learn that they had been denied the right to party. If you want to see more of this story, in 2011, the band released a revisited version in which important celebrities and actors reenact the story and expand it.
“The Kill (Bury Me)” – 30 Seconds To Mars, 2005
Sold as an unmentioned homage of The Shining, the band lead by Jared Leto presents us with the story of a band that ends up staying at an abandoned hotel where strange things happen to each of them. Spooky right? Well, not so much, since we already know what the drill is, but still it’s always nice seeing homages to classic films.
“Hold Up” – Beyoncé, 2016
Finally, I doubted whether to put this one because, literally, this particular music video doesn’t include a whole narrative. Still, as a whole, Beyoncé’s latest project, Lemonade, intends to create a new concept in the music industry, where music merges with the audiovisual craft as a whole. Let me expand a bit more. We know that musicians create videos to promote their singles. Here the whole album is a film telling a story as a whole, abstract, but a story after all.
These videos put some effort into telling a story beyond the song and just displaying the musician dancing and singer, and for that reason, they deserve a special recognition. They range from different styles and genres in the same way as movies. If you don’t have too much time to watch a full movie, just try these. They’re like short films with your favorite music.