Columns, Opinion

People with Projects: The art of music videos: dying or changing?

Last week, two music videos featuring celebrities were released back-to-back on YouTube. In addition to having star power, the videos, “Beautiful Trauma,” by P!nk, and “Santa’s Coming for Us,” by Sia, are both nontraditional in nature, almost carrying the feel of short films. Are music videos beginning to change stylistically or is the use of recognizable actors just a way to salvage the art form?

P!nk released the video to her single “Beautiful Trauma” last Tuesday, in which she danced alongside the lovable Channing Tatum. Tatum, who is well versed in the art of choreographed dance, can be seen shaking it in “Step-Up,” “Step-Up 2,” “Magic Mike” AND “Magic Mike XXL.” Needless to say, Tatum’s got some experience. In the music video, Tatum and P!nk play an eccentric husband and wife, leaping around the colorful rooms in their home. It’s a fun, retro video that is reminiscent of “La La Land.”

Then, Sia’s “Santa’s Coming for Us,” that went live last Wednesday brought holiday spirit to town with Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard, who played mother and father to three familiar children: Sophia Lillis (Beverly from “IT”), Caleb McLaughlin (Lucas in “Stranger Things”) and Wyatt Oleff (the young Peter Quill in Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy”). Lillis, who plays one of the children, looks bright and merry, adorned in a half-green, half-red wig, an ode to Sia’s signature black and white one. Sia’s video (and this is coming from someone who despises Christmas music) is a cutesy work of art to be enjoyed by everyone. By the end, the entire family, Santa and dog included, dance to the music. Kristen and Dax then close out the video by kissing under the mistletoe — which is arguably more adorable than the dog.

Personally, I don’t know many people who watch music videos anymore — and that’s a shame. Music streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music and SoundCloud allow us to access songs more easily than through YouTube. Occasionally in a bout of procrastination, I might look up a song on YouTube if I’m already on the website for something else. But that’s only if I’m on my computer, because let’s be honest — no one has really taken the time to upgrade to YouTube Red, which means we can’t continue listening to a song if we exit the application. And sadly, everyone is too busy Snapchatting and liking things on Instagram to take three minutes out of their day to enjoy the craft of a music video.

Nonetheless, a music video is an art form to be appreciated, and the two videos I mentioned earlier are both wonderfully shot, choreographed and directed. The better technology gets, the more opportunity music videos (like films) have to grow in style and quality.

It’s not that we don’t have apps on our smartphones to access these music videos. It’s more so the fact that they are no longer a huge part of today’s culture. MTV, formerly known as Music Television, doesn’t even air music videos anymore. Back in the day, people would play MTV or VH1 in the background while getting ready in the morning or having friends over. It would be the perfect way to catch glimpses of a video and pique enough interest to watch the full version.

Even if music videos are becoming outdated, I love the way they’re evolving. I watched both P!nk and Sia’s videos without sound, and the storyline of each still was conveyed.

And that is when you know a music video is well-done. I hope that music videos start to make a comeback before they become completely obsolete, as artists are beginning to take more and more risks in our progressively artistic culture.

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