Last year, we provided you with a non-exhaustive list of scary music videos to help you enjoy your Halloween. This year, we have a few more additions to the canon, so your music video marathon goes on just a little bit longer.
First up, we have the video for Wolf Alice’s “You’re A Germ”, which finds the band in a slasher movie/Groundhog’s Day mashup, as the group constantly relives a terrifying night and attempts to figure out a way to evade the various killers that are out to get them.
Next, we have a selection that we unfortunately neglected to include with our previous list, Franz Ferdinand’s “Evil Eye”. The video is equal parts gory, disturbing, and campy, which means it more than lives up to its title.
And finally, we have a video that we shared with you before: “Virgins” by Death From Above 1979. Unfortunately, the band has yet to make a holiday-appropriate video for “Right On, Frankenstein!”, but this psychedelic freakout of Amish kids that evokes memories of Children of the Corn more than makes up for it.
There may be only three additions to our previous list, but it’s fair to say that the quality outweighs the quantity.
I have long been a fan of music videos, and I believe that one of the unfortunate consequences of the decline of MTV and other cable music networks is that we are unable to see the progress of a legitimate art form. With this in mind, know that Rust Is Just Right will often try to highlight our favorite videos and techniques. Today we will look at a specific form which saw a mini-renaissance of sorts, the 360° music video.
This specific technique is a variation of an old stand-by, the one-shot video. It takes a remarkable amount of skill and planning to pull off a memorable one-shot video, because it has to balance between being simple enough to accomplish with one take while also portraying some event that will make the video memorable to some degree. The 360° video is a particularly ingenious variation of the one-shot video, because its very nature creates the illusion of movement and allows the director to mess with the predictions of the viewer. There is a sense of progress, even if the action does not necessarily move forward, and because the viewer is constantly anticipating what is happening off-screen, the director has time to prepare and come up with a surprise as to what happens next.
Last year saw two different takes on the 360° concept from wildly different artists. The first was the video for “Inside Out” from clipping., which followed a CGI representation of the MC navigating around a street corner, with each line represented by a specific image that takes the place of his head. It is quite entertaining, and also helps the viewer connect with the specific lyrics of the song.
The other video from last year which utilized this concept was Philip Selway’s “Around Again”. The song title provides an obvious clue as to why the director went with this conceit, but rest assured the result rises above being a mere gimmick. Here, the director plays with repetition of certain movements and actions as well as incorporating slow-motion, colors, and freeze-frames, which provide a stark contrast to the illusory movement around the track.
Now contrast these recent videos with two alternative rock videos from back in the day when rock videos actually got played on TV. First, there’s Everclear’s bouncy and irreverent “Everything to Everyone”.
Now compare that to Saves the Day’s “At Your Funeral”.
The most interesting comparison between the two pairs is how the recent videos focus on a protagonist traveling around in a set track, while the camera in the Everclear video rotates without any clear target and instead allowing specific scenes to take the spotlight with each rotation. The “At Your Funeral” video splits the difference by focusing both on a static shot of singer Chris Conley, keeping him squarely in the center of the frame as the camera rotates, as well as covering the major moments of a family’s life (in super-fast motion) with the camera’s unyielding revolutions.
Though all four videos use a similar approach, each is able to stand out in distinct ways with each yielding a memorable result. The mere usage of this clever technique is not enough to guarantee a notable result, but it can help, and the director in each video utilized the concept to their advantage. If anyone else can think of any other examples of this type of music video, we’d love to hear it, and if possible compare them to these instances above.
News, videos, and other end-of-the-year paraphernalia as you transition from one holiday weekend to another…
We gave the Rust Is Just Right staff an extra day off last week, so we’re going to combine our linkdump days this week and get to a couple of stories we neglected to share; we hope you didn’t miss us too much, and hopefully this makes up for our absence.
We’ll kick things off with a music video, as TV on the Radio just released one for the upbeat and frenetic “Lazerray” from their album Seeds, and footage of skateboard tricks somehow seems to be an appropriate take on the song.
Stereogum has the video for a compilation that asked artists over the years a simple question: “Lennon or McCartney?” I believe that the choice of one over the other says a lot about the person, but I shouldn’t have to tip my hand one way or the other. I will say that Bo Diddley offers the best answer of all, however.
Elsewhere on the Stereogum site, they have a list of the 101 Most Anticipated Albums of 2015, and you’re correct we’re using it as a cheat sheet to remind us what’s coming out next year.
And finally, we recommend that you read this remembrance of Joe Cocker from Jason Heller of the AV Club, which does an excellent job of explaining the power of his voice and his unexpected influence on younger generations.
Some videos and lists and other fun stuff as you continue to put off Christmas shopping…
Last week we said farewell to one of our favorite late night comedy shows with the end of The Colbert Report, but that wasn’t the only great program that finished its run last week. The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson was underrated for the entirety of its run, as few could match the creativity and anarchic spirit of its host. Craig ended things with a bang on his last show, and it was nice to see this tribute at the top of his show. Here’s the official video, though it’s missing an excellent second half as seen in this link.
The “Bang Your Drum” performance was an excellent followup to the latest rendition of the annual holiday tradition of Darlene Love performing “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home”) on The Late Show with David Letterman. Of course, what really takes the performance to another level is the bari sax solo, but all the musicians are worthy of praise.
Daniel Kessler from Interpol’s side project Big Noble just released their first music video, providing a visual accompaniment to the soundscape “Stay Gold”.
And a melancholy farewell to Joe Cocker, who possessed one of the great voices in rock history. His cover of “With A Little Help From My Friends” was a huge part of my childhood, and I’m sure millions of others could say the same thing.
We here at Rust Is Just Right enjoy the Halloween season, especially since it gives us the perfect reason to indulge in our love of all things horror. So, of course we’re going to use the holiday as an opportunity to show some of our favorite scary music videos. We don’t think we have the authority to say that these are the scariest, or that these selections form any definitive list, but we hope you enjoy them in all their terrifying glory.
Before the revival of the zombie craze truly took hold, Phantom Planet made a great video depicting the making of a low-budget zombie horror story for their single “Big Brat”.
I remember jumping for the remote to try and change the channel as quickly as possible once the faces started melting and the shit truly hit the fan when I saw Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun” for the first time.
Before Daft Punk won the hearts of the people with Random Access Memories, they had the worst record sales of their career with Human After All. This may have been partially due to their horrifying video for “Primetime of Your Life”. Though they more than capably proved their point about the perils of eating disorders, the skeleton motif may have been too effective.
[So that we don’t stress your browser, we’ve got plenty more videos (including a few legitimately terrifying ones) on the next page.]