Creative Music Videos and the Stories Behind Them

By Lauren Lopez

The aesthetic of an artist’s music video is an incredibly important decision. Should it be simple, emotional, or funny? Should it have complicated choreography or none at all? Should it be in black and white or color? These simple alterations can dramatically affect the success of an artist’s video.

Alternative rock band OK Go is famous for their innovative music videos with mind-blowing stunts and filming techniques. But there are many other artists who make their videos fun for audiences.

“In Your Arms” – Kina Grannis

YouTuber Kina Grannis wanted to make a particularly memorable music video for her song “In Your Arms.” The result: a video that took 22 months, 30 people, and 288,000 jelly beans to make. Director, Greg Jardin, pitched her the idea of using jelly beans in a stop motion fashion to film elaborate backgrounds for the video. Together, they created the backgrounds underneath a glass table. Then, Grannis was positioned on top of the table for each frame. The behind-the-scenes footage of this process is documented in a video posted to Grannis’ channel.

“Where Are Ü Now” – Jack Ü featuring Justin Bieber

This music video begins inside an empty shop with the same picture of Justin Bieber pinned all over the walls. Then, Bieber starts singing and it seems as if the pictures are forgotten, until the chorus when they are used in a stop motion style to create the chorus. Additionally, artists or fans drew on each picture, so that the backgrounds look different as they flash onto the screen. There are also parts of the video in which the empty shop is shown filled with people as they create the art used in the video. According to a statement made by Skrillex and Diplo and released on MTV, their inspiration for the video came from the fact that “‘Justin wrote this record during a tough time in his life and it comes to us that sometimes, as artists, we are also just objects and we have to take that as much as we have to use that to create.’”

“Need You Right Now” – Bethany Mota featuring Mike Tompkins

This entire video uses elaborate domino art created by YouTuber Hevesh5. As her channel gained more popularity, she began collaborating with other domino experts on YouTube, and was eventually contacted via Twitter by Kevin Jonas, who produced and directed the video with Brian Gosner. The arrangements in the video include dominoes that spell out lyrics to the song and pictures that correspond to the lyrics. It also features arrangements of Popsicle sticks and playing cards that fall over or fly into the air when hit into by the dominoes. The video slows down, speeds up, and rewinds, so the falling of the dominoes lines up with certain parts of the song. The artists Bethany Mota and Mike Tompkins are also YouTubers—Tompkins is known for making a cappella music and Mota is a full-time beauty YouTuber and vlogger.

“Quack Fat” – Opiuo

The majority of this music video features cassette tapes moving across the screen and creating large designs that represent things like Tetris and other brick destroying games. The end of the video circles back to the cassette player that represents a duck surrounded by other cassettes that represent its babies. The cassette inside the player with its reel unwound represents the duck feeding its babies. This video is very nostalgic, because all of the equipment used is practically obsolete today. The world traded in their cassette players for digital music and games like Tetris have been turned into overdone apps. The video was created by Dropbear, a film and animation studio based in Australia. According to their Facebook page, Opiuo is a band consisting of “me + my friends” that falls under the following genre: “broken-frog-stomping-funkadelic-hippo-hop-monkey-crunk-chunky-bouncy-stomach-morphing-bassdolloping-scrumptious-bowl-of-glitch.”

“Her Morning Elegance” – Oren Lavie

Oren Lavie’s music video caters to the overwhelming desire many people have to not get out of bed in the morning, wishing to stay there all day and somehow be productive. The stop motion music video, which was directed by Lavie, and Yuval and Merav Nathan, uses a white bed as its canvas. Pillows, blankets, and even Lavie himself go in and out of the frame as Israeli actress and model Shir Shomron goes through a daily routine, all while sleeping.

Today, since a lot of popular artists tend to make music videos solely for the purpose of racking up views, it’s refreshing to see artists and their collaborators with creative takes on this time-honored tradition.

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