Music videos are super interesting. Silently surviving the odds along with the larger music industry in a constant marketplace of growing pains, they don’t seem to go away. In fact, they’ve been declared dead by so many at this point, it almost seems like taking the time to make one is less of a need to and more of a totally want to. But I suppose breaking Google’s view count algorithm on YouTube when you’re showing ads all over is another motivation as well.
I have so many dream jobs that I really can’t keep track. Along with the seminal astronaut and rock star day dreams, directing music videos is and has been near the top of my list since I was a ball of energy in high school. (I’ve dabbled but we can leave that cringe worthy video out of this post.)
There’s been a handful of things that have made me want to finally kick this off to the ether blog idea about design and creative direction but the needle was finally moved far enough by a lesser(ish) known Canadian pop/R&B duo called Majid Jordan and their music video for Her.
You can do your own research on their history, but they’re the ones behind Drake’s (arguably) best song Hold on We’re Going Home – they produced and provided the vocals to the song. Her is a fantastic modern R&B song but the music video directed by Jamie Webster at Common Good is really where it all comes together. Have you finished watching the video above? In fullscreen? In HD?
The duo’s sophomore music video knocks it out of the park from a design point of view. Simple design, clean lines, interesting angles, tons of symmetry, and of course a final color that’s processed in a high-contrasted black crushing monotone treatment come together for a short, visual treat for anyone who loves design, fashion, or shiny things in general.
Besides some evergreen Robert Palmer inspired dancing, Her feels more like a great student art thesis video than an average music video. While one or many can argue I’m being a bit presumptuous, I looked at another “artsy” music video of 2014, Black Out Days from Phantogram and while I love that video for many reasons, Common Good is doing so much here with so very little – a goal shared by many modern artists whatever the medium.
One of the things I love is how they created a great balance of symmetry and asymmetry in some of the shots. Without ever doing it, they end up creating these memorable shots that really struck a good chord with my inner neat freak.
If you take this stuff – the monochromatic treatment, symmetry, cleanliness and throw in the addition of esoteric architecture, a non-narrative that still tells a story and all of the other clear obsessive to detail, and you really come out with the formula for what makes a music video great.
Also, it doesn’t hurt that the song is fantastic.