Since the 90s, music videos have waned in their iron-grip importance. So, musicians should only bother making a video once they’ve come up with a majorly original idea. Right? Otherwise, what’s the point of making one at all? Right?
Wrong! For reasons completely inexplicable, artists who likely don’t have a ton of cash are dropping their life savings to film the exact same tropes and visuals as the artists before them. Even worse, musicians who do have the money to burn can’t seem to afford an original thought. We already know that half-naked women with blank stares and fancy cars are cliches, but there is a new guard of cliche out there — the one that purports to be indie and thoughtful, but if you do a modicum of internet research, you’ll see that most of these devices existed since at least 2006.
While musicians have clearly been skipping out on their homework, we have been watching you all very carefully. We’ve been feigning support for some time, and now, we finally get to call you out as bluntly as possible, and put some of these cliches to rest. Here are 9 of them. Be sure to scroll down for the winner.
People jumping into bodies of water in slow motion
Thank the xx for driving this one home in their new video for “Chained.” There’s nothing quite like someone jumping into a body of water in slow motion. Oh wait, there’s a LOT like it.
I’m pretty sure I can hear Peter Gabriel saying “are you serious? It’s 2012!”
People acting hard on rooftops
A gesticulating struggling philosopher, a rooftop does not make.
I say it to car commercials, and I’ll say it to the recent onslaught desert music videos. It might be hot out there, but desert environments are actually the easiest, and not most badass, to race on. Also, pretty sure people have been building trippy robot shit in the desert since the early 90s.
Pretty Women Pouting in Nature
I just love imagining the directors’ notes that take place in music videos like this. “Umm, Jonna, look a little more longing please. No, no, that’s yearning. You’re on a mountain for gods sake!”
Powder Fights (and other variations of people getting crap all over them in slow motion)
Ever since white people caught on to India’s Holi Week, they’ve taken to ceremoniously throwing powder (and other crap) in each others’ faces in some rather messy music videos, usually in a generically artsy fashion.
Pained-looking old people
Young musicians know that there’s nothing more agonizing than looking an old person in the face. Which is why so many videos include sad looking old people while gunning for emotional reactions. It’s like the ASPCA ads if you think about it.
Precocious Zombie Children
This one is at least kind of fun. Skrillex and M83 unite behind the trope of terrifying, omniscient children for some old fashioned, hackneyed entertainment.
And this video is just one big cliche…
But the winner of the quintfecta cliche award goes to Young Dreams for their crappy song/indie young love short film video for “Fog of War.” It’s got it all, and absolutely nothing, all rolled into one. Now, with token black guy!