Friday, February 23, 2024

Great Music Videos: What Is a Great Music Video?

 What is a great music video?  Well I'm pretty sure that is something that differs for everyone.  But I would say there are different types.  

1. There are the videos that tell a little story to go with the song.  I tend to really like these.  Some songs really lend themselves to these videos and some artists do a good job of coming up with little stories to go along with their song.  I always think back to ABC and their first album and the film Mantrap they made to go with the entire album.  Such a great idea.  But one example that I think of when I think of this is "Brass In Pocket" by The Pretenders.  They created a little story to go with a song that really doesn't have a story as part of the song.  

2. There are videos that are really made to be a visual that goes along with the music.  These can be abstract, animated, whatever.  A good example of this I would say is Adele's "Rolling In the Deep" one of my daughters favorite videos.  I asked her once why she liked it so much and she talked about how it rhythmically went so well with the music.  If you think of that when you watch it you'll get what she means.  

3. There are the videos that are about the band, following them on tour, seeing them traveling and doing sound checks.  Those can be fun and there are some that I think really work.  One of my favorites in this category would be "Hang With Me" by Robyn.

4. Then you have some that are essentially a snapshot of a time or place that work with the song.  An example of this would be "Small Town" by John Mellencamp. 

I'm sure there are other types, but I would say these are the four primary types of videos.  I wouldn't count live videos in this.  There are the ones where a band are just setup in a room playing their music, but I don't know that I've ever seen one of those I find interesting, unless they bring in other elements.  For instance Sade did back to back videos of "Sweetest Taboo" and "Is It a Crime" where she and the band are playing, but they are interspersed with a story video.  


So of the types of video that I believe can be great, I would say there are only 4.  So what makes a great video?

Well again I believe that is personal preference, but I do believe there are some elements that you will find consistent.  

First it has to be a song you actually don't mind listening to.  It doesn't have to be your favorite song, but I believe for the video to really connect with you it can't be a song you actively dislike.  That makes sense right.  If you're like my wife and you can't stand Sade, then chances are you aren't going to like any Sade videos.  

Second I believe the video has to be structured around the song.  In the case of the visuals this is a given, but you can really mess up a story video or a time and place video if you don't connect them well to the song.  Sometimes I think artists get so lost in the visual they want to create that the visual overwhelms the song itself.  Now I understand this is an artistic choice, and it can lead to interesting looking videos, but I believe you will find fewer people who really connect with it in a meaningful way.  

Lastly it has to set the right tone.  Look if you are going to have a serious song about poverty you kind of need to respect that in the video.  You might say well isn't this just part of structuring it around the song.  I would say that tone is it's own thing.  You can have a great video that structurally works with the song in rhythm and with lyrics, but just misses the mark in tone.  Problem with this and why I see this as a separate thought is that tone is something that is very personal.  The artist may see the song in a completely different way than the listener.  They will attach it to something in their life that prompted them to write it maybe and for the listener it may attach to a moment in time that has a very different tone.  

So all this is to introduce a new topic here on the Heath Post called Great Music Videos.  Where we can post about music videos we think are great and explain why.


  1. So "Take On Me" and "AEIOU Sometimes Y" would both be story videos, right?

  2. I would say yes, both story videos.

  3. I had no idea that your wife doesn't care for Sade.