Happy New Year lovelies! I hope the new year is treating you grandly indeed, and that however you rang it in, you did so with a smile.
So I’m back at work this week (blergh), but that’s OK, as I’m still on a bit of a buzz from my magnificent, albeit short-lived holidays, which I spent doing lots of smiley, happy things, and a whole lotta well-deserved relaxing also. During my time off, in between lounging and overindulging in chocolate, cheese and cocktails, I planned lots of new projects, dwelled on desire, basked in the glow of goal creation, and looked ahead at the glorious blank canvas that is 2015. And of course, reflected on the year that had been.
Creatively, there were many amazing things that inspired me over the past year and helped those little Sunshyne cogs tick; igniting the spark and making my creative wheels spin.
On the music video front, we saw some next level creativity, with some absolutely mind-boggling work shooting out from every corner of the cosmos! There were so many stimulating, creatively engaging music videos that surfaced during the year that was 2014. In no particular order and without prejudice for genre, to follow are some of the videos that made my heart swell for this amazing art form, combining my two huge loves – music and art. These videos inspire me to dream BIG that one day I may be involved in work of this calibre. Here’s wishing!
Die Antwoord- ‘Pitbull Terrier’
Everyone’s favourite zef rap crew released two memorable vids from their ‘Donker Mag’ release last year- this, and the equally insane and infectious ‘Ugly Boy’. No round up of crazy-assed clips would ever be complete without the inclusion of Die Antwoord, who have dominated the art form. Its pleasing to see that with each release they step it up a notch and ‘Pitbull Terrier’ certainly doesn’t disappoint; it’s a gruesome and vicious romp that captures the attention and leaves an indelible mark on the consciousness.
Directed by Ninja, it features the frontman decked in a terrifying prosthetic canine mask, and follows the man-dog as he escapes from his owner and runs around town mauling and humping unsuspecting victims. After scaling a wall he faces off with Yolandi as a cat-woman, before jumping out of a window, dying, and being brought back to life by her spit. Yep. It’s THAT nuts. If you have yet to see this gory, scary ride along the edge of insanity, check it out below.
FKA Twigs- ‘Two Weeks’
FKA Twigs has become known for her stunning, outlandish, and ultra artistic music videos. Such is her stranglehold on imagery as an artist she would have had many contenders for this list, including the completely arresting ‘Video Girl’. In her pairing with Nabil for the ‘Two Weeks’ clip, we sweep through a golden, pillared room featuring the goddess-like FKA Twigs singing seductively to the camera.
In the background we see mini Twigs dance, and at one point Twigs extends her finger and waters one of them, a play on the line, “I’ll quench your thirst.” The slowly-revealing zoom is a work of art in itself. Engulfed in gold, its ambitious, decadent and extravagant.
Lorde’s darkly enchanting music video for ‘Team’ is a strong contender on the list, not only for its strength musically but for the epic hairstyle and makeup Lorde sports throughout! For makeup fiends, Lorde’s look in this clip cements her status as our Lady of Lipstick; our Princess of the Pronounced Pout.
M.A.C. Senior Artist Amber Dreadon was responsible for the dark lip, playing on Lorde’s signature pout and amping it up with a mixture of M.A.C Pro Lipmixes to create a custom shade. “We knew it was going to look dark and steamy, so we wanted to juxtapose the textures in the makeup—metallic and a little shiny against super matte.” Dreadon’s aim was to strengthen the star’s look by adding a little depth, ensuring that the makeup was powerful but not heavy. The makeup is matched with an equally bold and strong hair style; Lorde sporting a handful of cornrows in a departure from her signature undone curls.
Peking Duk ft. Nicole Millar – ‘High’
Hailing from our nation’s capital, electronic duo Peking Duk have been creating a high level of interest on the EDM scene. Their 2014 single ‘High’ achieved double platinum status in Australia, and is a lush production that hints of the redemption found in nature.
Full of sweeping melodies, ‘High’ combines all the elements of a big room anthem with the nuances of a radio friendly hit. The styling of the ‘High’ clip reflects nature with smudges of camo-inspired colour and textured elements all hinting at stylistic harmony with the surrounding elements. Paired with wild animal costumes and shot in a mystical blue-and green-tinged forest, the clip is a lush-looking production. There’s even some sfx in the form of some faux blood when anger gets the better of some of the characters. Which makes any clip great in my book.
Dum Dum Girls – ‘Rimbaud Eyes’
One of my faves, the dreamy Dum Dum girls pay tribute to the late 19th-century poet Arthur Rimbaud on this driving goth-pop number. There’s a certain darkness apparent that marks a shift away from their regular ‘60s girl group influences and a step closer to the likes of Siouxie, and it’s a good thing indeed.
The shiny set of visuals that accompany the vixenish ‘Rimbaud Eyes’ were supplied courtesy of director, musician and visual artist Tamaryn, and the clip features lead singer Dee Dee Penny waltzing through a sex shop-lined alleyway looking like a neon siren. She’s joined by the rest of her pastel-clad bandmates in a pink-hued cartoon-like, kaleidoscopic performance on a floating heart. Bleached out, gauzy, saturated and dreamy, the clip is ultra surreal with a 90s dream-pop-shoegaze aesthetic. Divine.
Gotye- ‘Easy Way Out’
Another fellow Australian Gotye, best known for his 2012 track ‘Someone I Used to Know’ (itself a visual masterpiece), again shows off his creative merit with this superbly edited video for ‘Easy Way Out’ by Melbourne design agency Oh Yeah Wow.
Reminiscent of a Tim Burton movie, the revolving camera documents a day that begins mundane, deteriorating into morbid. I chose this video not because of the makeup, as its pretty minimal, but because I just love the creativity of the shoot and the overall tone of the clip. Its grandly creative and quirkily styled, a darkly superb example of stop motion graphics with an cartoon-like feel.
Tricky- ‘Hey Love’
The stunning visuals for Tricky‘s ‘Hey Love’ will definitely capture your attention- and possibly make your skin crawl. The clip intricately fixates on model Nella Ngingo‘s gorgeous attributes- and some slithery aquatic creatures as well. It’s all very molluscy; sensual, intimate, a little creepy, a little slimy.
Dutch director Hugo Goudswaard submitted the video through a competition hosted by filmmaker website Genero, and says that the song stimulated his mind and inspired him to create a surreal trip into the darkness. “I visualised a woman on a bench in a park undergoing different stages within a relationship. A snail being her counterpart.” he says. The dark, minimal track is lifted from the English trip-hop pioneer’s tenth studio album False Idols, and features elements from “Ghosts” by Japan. It’s unique and fascinating viewing.
Katy Perry- ‘Dark Horse’
The music video for Perry’s smash ‘Dark Horse’ was directed by Mathew Cullen, who previously worked with her on her amazing hyper-pop “California Gurls” clip. Perry’s idea for the ‘Dark Horse’ clip was to combine Ancient Egyptian culture with Memphis, Tennessee hip hop, with Perry channelling her inner Egyptian queen with fantasy hair and makeup, making for a jaw dropping and much-imitated look.
Jake Bailey, Perry’s makeup artist, created striking and colorful Egyptian-inspired makeup, lining her eyes with thick eyeliner, adding a pop of bold berry color to her lips, an OTT jeweled grill in her mouth, and a dramatic braided-front wig with beads and bangs. “The central element to this look is definitely the intricate liner, based on the Egyptian ‘Eye of Horus’, an ancient Egyptian symbol of protection, royal power and good health.” An appropriate look for Katy’s regal character in this video.
The Ramona Flowers – ‘Tokyo’
A mysterious masked stranger and a boy form the centrepiece of a gathering of elderly society women who yearn for their youth and the exquisite command of their lure.
Its a dark, luscious production with a little nod to Kubrick’s “Eyes Wide Shut”. The costuming and makeup are amazing, detailed and graceful. I’m entranced by its dark and mystical beauty!
Beyonce is always one to step up a level with each and every video release. In this clip Bey’s upgraded to a mansion, arriving dressed to kill with flawless, bold 20s- inspired makeup and hair. Hairstylist Kim Kimble played with an androgynous look for the hair, playing up the masculine elements of Bey’s short crop, and adding finger waves for a feminine touch. Looking to Coco Chanel and Josephine Baker for inspiration, the 20s inspired ‘do perfectly matches the sultry dark makeup.
Director Jonas Åkerlund explains that this video is a little unique, because it was less choreography and performance than Beyonce usually goes for. “It’s like a different tone than what she usually does,” he says. “Part of my challenge with her is to take her to places that maybe she hasn’t been. And, maybe take a step out her comfort zone.”
Demi Lovato- ‘Neon Lights’
While I’m not a regular member of her listening demographic, there’s no disputing the visual appeal of the ‘Neon Lights’ clip which dropped last year to the delight of Lovato fans.
Her wild, fluorescent makeup is simply stunning and was created by Jill Powell, who combined a strong winged liner with the perfect strong shade of pink neon lip. “I wanted her lips to be the focal point”. Powell mixed different pink lipstick colors until she’d created the perfect colour, and used Make Up For Ever Fluo Nite Pigments and Wolfe Brothers UV makeup to create the striking, black light-friendly look. “I kept the sling glowing and contoured to balance out the rest of the makeup, and added subtle neon on the bottom lash line.”
Nicki Minaj- ‘Pills N Potions’
Nicki Minaj usually likes to thrill and shock in her hyper-colour clips, and viewers are conditioned to expect the quirky, the extravagant, and the just downright weird from this rap queen. She definitely lives up to that with her clip for ‘Pills N Potions’. Director Diane Martel led the creative charge in this new video featuring bright background colors, floating animations of pill bottles and PEZ dispensers, a twisted airplane, a melting house, and bunnies, bunnies, and more bunnies.
The clip offers a slightly softer side of Minaj while still maintaining her quirk throughout the psyched-out cartoon trip. Gone are the wacky wigs and crazy personas of past vids, in their place is Minaj in simple makeup, crying silver tears, shining a grill and wearing Playboy bunny ears.
Seinabo Sey – ‘Pistols At Dawn’
Seinabo Sey (pronounced Say-na-bo Sea) is a 24-year old artist who grew up in Gambia and sings with a brassy timbre and world-weary swagger; defying both her age and easy artist comparisons.
‘Pistols at Dawn’ is the spellbinding the battle cry-like third track from her debut EP, ‘For Madeline’. It seems the sort of song where love is on par with life and death. Adding to the ambience are director Christian Larson and producer Hampus Gunnarsson, who create a stirring winter wilderness scene for Sey and her blood red gown.
In the stark yet alluring video, two red-garbed accomplices trek through a vast forest as a masked gunman chases after them, effectively bringing Sey’s statement into thrilling, and ultimately shocking, life. Cinematic and haunting are certainly words that spring to mind.
The Acid – ‘Basic Instinct’
The Acid’s synaesthetic music video for ‘Basic Instinct’ is a stunning and hypnotically creative visual delight, captured against the dramatic backdrop of the Santa Monica Mountains at the end of 2013. The video, a collab between filmmaker Dugan O’ Neal and the band’s Ry X, was birthed in the first days of being in the studio together. “I have always felt very connected to aesthetics in line with music—they are part of each other and the whole,” says Ry X of the vision for the musical collaboration.
The otherworldly movements of Los Angeles dance outfit WIFE was a defining central concept, and in the clip the outfit star as the choreographers, performers and costume designers. “When we came up with the idea for the video, we brought WIFE into the fold before all else.”
What are your favourites from this list? Do you have any amazing videos from 2014 that you’d like to share that I’ve forgotten? Please share in the comments below!