Aspiring artists and established legends alike know the importance of producing entertaining and engaging videos to go along with their music releases. Whether it is a recently released single or a demo meant to attract attention from the public, there are a few interesting ways to create a great music video. Throughout the history of the medium, many different types of musicians have used animation as a way to put a unique and clever twist on the typical video. Whether through the use of motion graphics or traditional ink and paper, there are countless ways to express the theme of a song with animation. The following examples might serve as inspiration for fledgling performers, or they might just provide a fun way to enjoy a few cartoon scenes put to music. Either way, here are some of the all-time greatest animated music videos.
“Take On Me” by A-Ha
When MTV was just getting started and actually played music videos around the clock, this catchy tune was one of the most popular in the rotation. Not only is the song quite memorable, but the combination of a sketchy animation along with live-action performers created a visually stunning and compelling video for audiences of all ages.
“I Miss You” by Bjork
Icelandic singer Bjork is known for taking plenty of risks with her fashion choices, compositions, and even music videos. She has used animation to create a visual element that complements many songs throughout her career, but the most memorable is probably the video for “I Miss You.” Fans of the irreverent cartoon “Ren and Stimpy” will probably recognize the style since both were created and illustrated by John Kricfalusi.
“Dawned On Me” by Wilco
Wilco might not be the most recognizable name on the list, but this band has a loyal following and is known for producing an intriguing animated music video for the song “Dawned On Me.” The band members are shown in illustrated black and white versions of themselves before characters of the classic cartoon “Popeye” begin to emerge and dance along to the tune.
“Sober” by Tool
Animation can often be a playful and nostalgic way to enjoy an upbeat tune, but it can also be used to set a dark and menacing tone. That was the result when Tool released its animated video to accompany the song “Sober.” The rather heavy subject matter and melody of this song were embodied perfectly through the frenetic movements and dark tones created by Fred Stuhr’s stop motion animation.
“Heartless” by Kanye West
Here’s another artist with a long reputation for making some unusual choices that certainly stand out from the rest of the pack. When he released a video for “Heartless,” it was easy to see the influence of veteran music video producer Hype Williams. The rotoscope type of animation was visually stunning and created a bold look to go along with the catchy beat and lyrics. Fans of the early 1980s animation “American Pop” are sure to see some similarities in the look and style of this memorable video.
“The Rip” by Portishead
The next example on our list is another video that perfectly reflects the mood and tone of the music it accompanies. With an unpolished and sometimes jerky illustration from Nick Uff, the wide-ranging vocals and experimental tune mesh perfectly well to create a memorable and entertaining composition.
“Opposites Attract” by Paula Abdul
While the animation and tune of this track might be stuck in the 1980s, there was a lot to love about this music video. Paula Abdul performed in person alongside a hip cartoon cat, creating a playful and fun experience for everyone who watched it.
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