Music videos need high def love too (Wired UK)


Michael Jackson's
Thriller
Michael Jackson’s
Thriller

The ultimate music video of all time? Maybe,
but definitely deserving of high def love.

© Epic
Records


With David Cameron currently on a warpath against the dangers music videos pose to
children, it’s good to remember that the artistic merits of the
medium extend beyond Rihanna’s latest titillating promo.
Unfortunately, the music industry itself doesn’t do a great job of
preserving those merits, at least when it comes to the
comparatively young visual side of it.

Although music videos
technically go back to the dawn of the 20th century and their
ancestor the illustrated
song
, artists would rarely put much stock in them — beyond
showcases and archives of live performances — until the advent of
music television in the mid 1970s. The launch of MTV in the US on 1
August 1981, playing The Buggles’ Video Killed the Radio
Star 
as its first track, really catapulted the music
video to prominence though, and they soon became a required part of
the launch of any new single looking to dominate the charts.

Obviously, the music industry has changed dramatically in the
past 33 years. The increased disposability of music itself in an
age of streaming tracks and MP3 downloads, the ease of
self-distribution for musicians, and the rise of YouTube as a
preferred venue for releasing the videos that do get made all
contribute to why MTV doesn’t play
music videos anymore
.

Yet while older TV shows and movies regularly get remastered
into HD or even 4K for future generations to enjoy, music videos
languish, an ignored artform. It’s a real shame, as there are some
true classics to have graced the airwaves over the last few
decades, most made before high definition was even an option. Some
served as training grounds for now legendary directors, while
others elevated the song it was advertising into something greater
by the fusion of sound and vision. They impacted culture in a way
that’s impossible to ignore, and so deserve the same upgrade and
archival treatment longer works enjoy. We’ve picked a handful of
great videos that deserve to be remastered, but it only scratches
the surface.

Pink Floyd – Another Brick In The Wall (HQ)mongchilde

The dark sarcasm of Pink Floyd’s Another Brick in
the Wall
helped propel the song to huge success and the
top of the charts in 1979, but it’s the striking visuals of the
video that really linger. Authoritarian teachers crushing the
individuality out of pupils, children being literally lead through
a production line of mandated education, and eventually being spat
out into the world as putty-faced clones remains incredibly
disturbing. Originally part of director Alan Parker’s
The Wall
movie, Another Brick…remains the
arguable standout.

Nine Inch Nails – Closer (Director’s Cut)NineInchNailsVEVO

Getting into NSFW territory, Nine Inch Nails’ Closer is
devoid of narrative in the traditonal sense, but the macabre
iconography peppered throughout the sepia-toned monstrosity are
more haunting than even Trent Reznor’s lurid description of what he
wants to do to his intended. Directed by Mark Romanek, the 1994
video attracted controversy for its depictions of female anatomy,
animal cruelty, and BDSM, but the end result was so captivating
that even Reznor himself said “the song sounded better to me,
seeing it with the video. And it’s my song.” Romanek deliberately
went for a grainy, silent movie vibe for the video, but a good
remaster would maintain the feel without losing the effect.

X Japan – Rusty Nail (Animated PV)VicroriMichaelisu

Rusty
Nail
, by Japanese rockers X Japan, is an outside choice
for sure, and many reading this won’t have seen it. But besides the
song itself being a blistering five-and-a-half minutes of synthy,
guitar-led power rock from one of the biggest, most operatic bands
to ever come from the land of the rising sun, it’s also a tour de
force of animation. Directed by Satoshi Saga, who’s worked on such anime classics as
Armitage III and Tenchi Muyo, the video sees the
band members cast as wasteland heroes in the midst of a demonic
apocalypse. Saga’s short is wickedly over the top, tapping into
influences from the likes of Fist
of the North Star
and Urotsukidoji,
a filled with weird and wonderful imagery. If the masters still
exist, a high-def release would be amazing.

Madonna – Like A PrayerWarner Bros. Records

If Madonna’s Like a
Prayer
were released today, it would likely be a target of
Cameron’s current crusade. Deliberately provocative, the Mary
Lambert-directed video tears into racial discrimination, religious
dogma, and social stigmas over inter-racial relationships. With
images of burning crosses and statues of black
saints
 coming to life to make out with Madonna, it
attracted plenty of criticism when it was released in Marh 1989, as
well as condemnation for its comparison of religious with sexual
ecstasy. Absolutely worthy of a high-def restoration.

Michael Jackson – ThrillermichaeljacksonVEVO

If no other music video ever got remastered, the one that
absolutely must is Michael Jackson’s Thriller.
Released in 1983, it essentially codified the language of the music
video as a film-making and storytelling device. Masterfully
directed by John Landis and tapping into the same groundbreaking
effects employed on his earlier An American Werewolf in
London
, the 13-min epic is a short film in its own right,
complete with a triple-twist to its story of a date descending into
classic horror movie territory. It’s nigh perfect, from the killer
bassline of the song to the outstanding make-up and costuming; from
the crowd of dancing zombies that remain threatening (brilliantly
choreographed by Michael Peters and Jacko) to Vincent Price lending
an aural cameo to warn us that “creatures crawl in search of blood,
to terrorise y’alls neighbourhood”. Vincent Price, saying “Y’alls”.
Amazing. Like the classic horror movies it takes inspiration from,
Thriller  deserves to be accessible for as long as
(in)humanly possible

Have a music video you think we’ve missed that would benefit
from an HD upgrade? Let us know in the comments.

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2 September 2014 | 5:35 pm – Source: wired.co.uk

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