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Why Are Music Videos So Weird?

ME2007VigilFeb 21, 2019, 5:19:08 PM

Lately, I've been indulging myself in a music video binge. There's something I've noticed about all of them. They've got really weird visuals that go with the music. Some videos tell a coherent story, yet have little relevance to the actual lyrics. Most are just random visuals and I'm left scratching my head at what it all means.

I've come to a conclusion. These videos have no deeper meaning. They're not meant to complement the lyrics to convey a story or a message. The weirdness grabs your attention and holds it for the duration of the music video because you try to figure out what it all means. If you're listening to the music on its own, it might not hold you're attention, but because you're trying to decipher the weirdness in search of a deeper meaning, you end up watching the entire video from start to finish. Very clever. I'm sure it's an industry secret, and they do this deliberately.

Also, I suppose the weirdness is the result of the artist trying to convey a feeling more so than a cerebral message about the meaning of life. Philosophical exploration is more in the realm of literature, whereas music speaks more to the limbic system. My desire to find cerebral meaning in weird music videos could simply be the result of my bias as an author.

Personally, I don't like weird music videos that I can't figure out. While the weirdness captures my attention initially, if by the end I fail to find a deeper meaning or a connection to the lyrics, I will feel mildly annoyed. Then again, the trick worked. I watched the whole thing from start to finish, and the actual music wasn't too bad. So good job, musical people. You played me.

If you're a musician, and you've grown big enough to produce high quality music videos, I have a simple request. If you're gunning for a weird music video, please make it complement the lyrics so that it adds a deeper layer of meaning to your music. Please don't make it a random series of visuals that convey no real meaning.

Or maybe I'm just too stupid to figure out what the weirdness means. I don't know. What do you guys think? 

I fail to see what stuffed toys fighting to the death has anything to do with being radioactive. Great song, though, by Imagine Dragons.

Run Boy Run by Woodkid is an interesting one. An English schoolboy is running, pushed along by these muddy forest monsters. With weapons in hand, they run towards a pristine, highly ordered city that looks like something out of the 1950's vision of the future. Is the message to rebel against ordered society? While I appreciate messy creativity, being a writer myself, I see value in having a clean, orderly society. Though I'm ambivalent about the message, I think it's a catchy song! 

Bittersweet Symphony by The Verve is a weird one. A man walks in a straight line and bulldozes his way through other people on the sidewalk. The lyrics are kinda weird as well and don't really build a coherent message. Still, it's a nice sounding song.

Somebody That I Used to Know by Gotye. The song is good, and the lyrics convey a clear message. The man's arguing with his ex-love. But the visuals, man. What the hell is up with the weird-weird visuals? What does it mean? Absolutely nothing!

Counting Stars by One Republic. I love the song. It's really playful! But what the heck is up with the visuals? An alligator inside a building? A Christian exorcism at the top floor as the band jams in the basement below? WTF is this supposed to mean? The lyrics don't offer much in the way of meaning either, but it certainly evokes emotion. 

If you're like me and you're looking for art that tells a coherent story, consider checking out my novel, Red Eden: Homeworld Bound



Michael E. Vigil