Creating videos to accompany releases has long been the norm in the music business and our particular field of interest, although not generally burdened with the cliche of mainstream releases is still prone to taking the easy route and there are some frankly dull examples. However some have aspired to create a work of art in their own right whether it be social commentary, an amusing narrative or a comment on the human condition as highlighted by the lyric in that particular song. The videos featured are all ‘official’ releases, although there are some great fan videos wherein footage has been added to tracks (Phil Bebbington’s channel holds many jewels from our genre); however for the purposes of this exercise we will stick to the artist’s ‘vision’.
After much research and sleepless nights here is the definitive list starting with number 10 and building to that all-important number 1. Please feel free to suggest future entries below but for now this is definitive… for today anyway. Enjoy watching/ listening.
Conor Oberst – ‘Barbary Coast ( Later)’ – a wistful look at youth and adolescence part Stand by Me part Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom.
The Jayhawks – ‘Comeback Kids’ – part road movie part arthouse collection of Hopperesque scenes intercut with arresting images.
Neil Young – ‘This Note’s For You’ – banned by MTV for its image of Micheal Jackson on fire (and its message) Young’s disgust with the corporate world still looks and sounds as fresh as ever.
The Sheepdogs – ‘Nobody’ – always self-effacing and imaginative the ‘Dogs really deliver with this very funny and pithy film.
Lambchop ‘Up With The People’ – wonderful distillation of reportage and animation creates an amusing yet disturbing illumination of Kurt Wagner’s masterpiece.
Jason Isbell – ‘If We Were Vampires’– beautiful mixed media animation laced with the melancholy of the track yet full of tenderness and even joy.
The Low Anthem ‘Charlie Darwin’ – Another bucolic animation that is sparse and measured in tone allowing the song and the images to breathe. Full of humanity!
Chuck Prophet – ‘Get Off The Stage’ – Straight into the top 3 with this brilliant video from January this year wherein Chuck pillories Donald Trump and his disastrous tenure. Hilarious animation and scything wit married perfectly.
Bob Dylan – ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues’ – Was this where it all started? Bob as ever leading the way in revolutionary style.
Counting Crows – ‘Palisades Park’ – a full-blown film that is both gorgeous and deeply moving. Shot beautifully and complimenting the music perfectly it is shot through with nostalgia and a sense of regret. It is about friendship and ageing and all the things that make us who we are.