Thursday, October 8, 2009

Animated music

2009 has been a prolific year for music videos featuring animation. I've been watching a lot of them as I've been thinking a lot lately about telling stories through images. Here are some of my favorites so far this year.


Sing Sang Sung

The latest of the bunch is Air’s airy little ditty, a silly song about singing. The video is equally abstract, but beautifully so. It provides a sensorial experience through a cornucopia of shapes, colors, concepts and psychedelic non-sequiturs using 2D and 3D animation. It’s directed and illustrated by French artists Mrzyk & Moriceau. Very cool.


Pale Horses

Moby is no stranger to animation. This is actually the second animated video released from his new album, the first being directed (and presumably illustrated) by David Lynch. This one here is simple and minimalist, based on Moby’s own concept drawings -- it features Moby’s animated alter ego, Little Idiot. The song is classic Moby at his melancholic best.


I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight

Love them or not, when U2 decides to do something, they do it big. So, for the video for this oxymoronic titled song, they got attention for breaking some animation ground -- and Bono doesn’t even appear in it. The piece was directed by avant-garde vector animator David O'Reilly and features lovely designs and concept art from Jon Klassen. There are no lines, only moving shapes and colors to convey depth and perspective. The song is a bit cheesy, and so is the story of lost dogs and lost souls searching for themselves, but the results are beautiful.


Kill The Lights

Even trashy Miss Britney Spears got animated this year, in the video inspired by fan-fiction. In the digitally animated cartoon she's channeling her superhero alter-ego last seen in the manga-influenced video for “Break The Ice. This time around, Britney flees the Earth escaping the paparazzi just to go to outer space and find an alien race that looks just like… paparazzi!!

Pet Shop Boys

Love, Etc

Of course the PSB raised the animation bar this year with their collaboration with Han Hoogerbrugge. Says Neil Tennant: “The track is very bouncy and he took that and put into a very retro computer game.” The result is a fun video, with winged bald guys in sunglasses coming out of nowhere and great use of Clipart. Just like the song, the video brings a fresh take on the sights and sounds of the Pet Shop Boys. The art is hand-drawn and then computer-animated.



Finally, this is not a music video but it features some smart, low-budget animation. It’s an ad for a comic book convention in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. It’s very creative in the use of an old animation technique to great results.

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