These days, the music video is an essential part of promoting a single. And sure, you could just have your band shuffle around in front of a green screen, but there’s also a ton of creative potential in a band’s willingness to take a chance and couple their song with some original animation. Here are ten of the best of those pairings.
1. Radiohead: “Paranoid Android”
I watched this video so many times on MTV in the early 2000s, and it still doesn’t make any more sense now than it did then. And somehow, that’s entirely apropos of Radiohead.
2. Kanye West: “Heartless”
Rotoscoping isn’t the most groundbreaking animation technique, but the video of Kanye’s second single from 808s & Heartbreak is slick. Plus, there’s just something fascinating about watching Yeezy’s cartoon double mope through the late-night city streets.
3. Red Hot Chili Peppers: “Love Rollercoaster”
You see, the rollercoaster is a metaphor for the ups-and-downs and twists-and-turns involved in giving your heart to someone. And RHCP would naturally ride it naked. The clips from Beavis and Butthead Do America are just the icing on that cake.
4. The Beatles: “Eleanor Rigby”
This animated sequence from the movie Yellow Submarine somehow perfectly captured the tone of The Beatles’ legendary song through that thick acid-haze.
5. Pearl Jam: “Do the Evolution”
The tone of “Do the Evolution” was pretty clear as-is, and this grim (but nonetheless excellent) music video makes the song’s tenor that much clearer. Keep your eyes peeled for the Megadeath shout-out!
6. Dire Straits: “Money for Nothing”
Better known as the “I want my MTV” video. It looks primitive by today’s standards, but the computer animation revolutionized music videos at the time.
7. The White Stripes: “Fell in Love with a Girl”
This Michel Gondry-directed video is stop-motion animated, not hand-drawn, but it was too cool not to include. The song ain’t bad either.
8. Peter Gabriel: “Sledgehammer”
And as long as I’m cheating by including stop-motion videos, I’d be remiss not to include one of the most-broadcast music videos of all time.
9. a-ha: “Take On Me”
I too often stare at comic books at diners late at night, wishing I could be sucked in and swept away by a dreamy Norweigan frontman.
10. Daft Punk: Interstella 5555:The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem
Not just one music video, but an entire animated movie set to Daft Punk’s staggeringly awesome album Discovery. And I usually can’t stand Japanese animation.