Admittedly, I’m not entirely sure of the purpose of this post. It’s not entirely a review, and it’s only half of a Top 10 list, and it’s a very obscure collection. But it’s here, and it’s something I like and want to share, and best of all, it’s creepy and a good way to send off Halloween.
How do I describe this list of music videos? Let’s see… My favourite types of music videos fall into two categories: either they tell a story, or they’ve rooted you in place with utterly morbid and macabre scenery. If I’m lucky, it does both. I’m a fan of stark contrasts, blacks and whites with splashes of colour. I like chaos, as the name of this blog, the tagline written all over it, and my signature can attest to.
What I love, is watching something fall apart. Not so much in the way of a demolition, or destruction, but… degeneration (wow that’s a lot of words for the same thing that start with D). That visual reminder, that perfection is unattainable, is comforting to someone who struggles with trying to prove otherwise on a daily basis. I read stories about characters and worlds that crumble in one way or another. I watch movies that make my skin crawl with rooms that change around the character (a la the descent into the Other World in Silent Hill (both movie and game) or the several environmental changes that room in the book/movie 1408 goes through).
I search for music that can give me the same feeling. When it includes a music video that does the same? Bonus! Here’s my top 5 favourite music videos that have that things-are-not-perfect-and-I-am-going-to-pieces vibe.
WARNING/DISCLAIMER: Every one of the videos on this list uses effects to allude to massive quantities of blood. If you’re not a fan of horror/gore, you definitely might not want to check these out, sorry. I’ll put a brief summary with each title so you can use your own discretion.
5. “All Around Me” by Flyleaf
(uses several different colours of what is clearly paint, but does use red heavily at the beginning and near the end)
Probably one of their most popular and well known songs besides “I’m So Sick”, I’ve always been a big fan of the Lacey Sturm-era Flyleaf, and this song is one of my favourites. The video jumps right into it, and is one of the more colourful ones on the list, with several different colours of paint spilling down the walls around the band as they play. I love that it goes back and forth from an empty and lonely, blank room, to one that’s beginning to grow claustrophobic as the layers build and the paint pools on the floor.
4. “Perfect” by Hedley
(uses what is clearly red paint at the very end of the video)
If you know me, particularly if you’ve known me for over a decade, you can attest to my adoration for Hedley. I’ve been a fan of the band since before the lead singer, Jacob Hoggard, appeared on the second season of Canadian Idol. I remember sending an envelope with a 20$ bill to the tiny little town of Abbotsford, and receiving in the mail two weeks later, a band t-shirt that smelled like cologne, and a demo CD with fingerprints on it. Something about knowing that the boys themselves had packaged and sent this off to a young fan made my heart soar, and I’ve loved them all the more since then. “Perfect” is my second favourite song off the album The Show Must Go, and I still choke up now and then when I listen to it. In the same vein as “All Around Me” it goes back and forth between different scenes. Of the five, it’s the one with the least amount of what brings this list together, but it does have the element of destruction that I love. The room in flames, falling apart, things being thrown. It also has that contrast of black and white with Jacob at the piano, and then again with red and white instead, taking your hand and leading you through the emotions of the song. Also, and finally, it has a ton of slow motion, which I’m a sucker for.
3. “Animals” by Maroon 5
(BIG WARNING: the theme of this video is a woman being stalked. the majority of the video is set inside a meat locker with hanging livestock carcasses, there is a ton of blood used throughout)
Wow, so this next video got a lot of flack when it debuted. I don’t think anyone was expecting something quite like this when they first heard the single by the band. I had already watched the lyrics video, which involved silk and snakes and had its own unsettling aura, and so I had a feeling the music video wouldn’t be too innocent, but even I was extremely surprised with the lengths it went to. From start to finish, the quality of production and the plot of the story told (reminiscent to movies like Disturbia, Mr. Brooks, One Hour Photo, etc) is almost full-feature film worthy, in my opinion. Adam Levine does make for an extremely sexy psycho, admittedly. When I first watched the video, I couldn’t take my eyes off of it, or keep my mouth closed. In under 4 minutes, the lyrics of the song went from broody and sexual, to terrifyingly uncomfortable. Though there’s not much contrast or tangible chaos in the video, I couldn’t not include it in the list. It takes the theme of deterioration and moves it from outside, into the head, as Adam’s ‘character’ gets closer and closer to crossing that line between Peeping Tom and American Psycho. It does, inevitably, include a shower of blood, but that small bit isn’t why I gave it a spot. It holds you to it with fascination, piquing all those raw instincts that typically lay dormant. It is, without a doubt, a romanticizing of fear, lust, and violence, which is what makes it so taboo, and led to so many controversial conversations about its existence. Should it be damned for that, though? No more than any other movie, song, book, or game. At the end of the day, it does exactly what it’s meant to by giving us those shameless thrills and chills.
2. “joyriding” by frnkiero andthe cellabration
(the band progressively gets covered in blood, the singer’s mouth is full of blood)
I cried when My Chemical Romance broke up. I cried long and hard and spent a week listening to all 4 albums on repeat. They were my first concert, when I saw them on tour for their Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys album. It hit hard for me, but I digress. The boys went on to do their own things, and I supported them in that, and when Frank Iero announced his solo project, I was, well, overjoyed. “joyriding” was their debut single, and absolutely blew me away. When the video started and all I saw was a group of well-groomed boys dressed in white, in a white room, with white instruments, I knew exactly where it was going, and I sat wiggling in anticipation. I was not let down. This video, and the one I chose for #1, are the reason I was inspired to create this list in the first place. This is the kind of music video I get hyped up to watch, the kind that holds my attention and makes me keep coming back to it again and again to watch. I’m a fan of gore, okay? I have an utter fascination with blood, and large amounts of it. This is what I think of, when I think of things falling apart. When I’m overwhelmed and ready to scream and tear things apart, this is where my mind goes: to a place where I could take something seemingly pure and crisp, clean and simple, and make it anything but. Jackson Pollock and I would have been good friends, I’m sure. What I love most about the video for “joyriding”, is how subtly the change begins. Everything is on course, and then suddenly, you’re not too sure you saw that splatter or not. But you must have, because look, there’s another little drop, and another, and then whoa, hold up, how did all of that get there?! It goes from 0 to 100 in no time flat, and it is unrelenting, and I love that. The kicker that really makes this video for me, is Frank himself. It’s one of his first big spots up front, though his role in MCR was large. There’s a sense of awkwardness that makes him feel immediately relatable, and humble even. The song itself is a testament to that as well, and there’s that defining line that brings me back to why I love these types of videos. “I hate my weaknesses, they made me who I am.” There it is, that need for wanting perfection and only getting destruction instead. Plus, face facts: His smile at the very end is fucking adorable.
1. “The Killing Type” by Amanda Palmer
(the band progressively gets covered in blood, the singer holds a heart at the end, and is in bed with a bloody body; knowing amanda palmer i would not be surprised if it was real blood)
Finally, the one. Number one goes to the only artist who could every truly deserve the title. Amanda Palmer is sheer fucking talent. I can’t say enough about her, her solo work, or the amazing things she did with The Dresden Dolls. I could write an entirely separate post on her, but I’ll focus on this video. “The Killing Type” is from the album Theatre Is Evil, and ties with “The Bed Song” as my favourite from said album. The song is raw, harsh, and cause for heartache. We’ve all know this feeling. We’ve all said it about one thing or another. “I would kill for…” “I would kill to…” Of course, none of us with morals and a sense of right and wrong would ever actually kill anyone for our own gain. But do we ever consider ourselves cowards for not following through with what is such a common expression? No. No, we don’t. We say it, and we move on with little griping. But what if we really wanted to mean it? What if it ate you up inside that you could even think for a second of going through with it? What if, what if, what if… what if what you would kill for, is someone? I love the song more than I love the video, and that’s really saying something. The path Amanda took in bringing the song to life, visually, is ironically exactly what it isn’t: perfection. There’s no other way I could have visualized this song. Amanda has always been so intensely expressive in every manner, her words, her expressions, her everything. You can see, so strongly, the frustration and the desperation flooding through her with every line. The video is violent, and terrifying, and yet all you can do is be on her side as she screams and tears at her hair, beats on this absentee lover, warring with — and even scaring — herself. The blood only serves to make this all the more apparent.
And two honourary mentions go to “The Red Strokes” by Garth Brooks, and “I Don’t Love You” by My Chemical Romance.
Sadly, the video for “The Red Strokes” is not to be found on youtube in almost any way, shape, or form. Why, I’m not sure. Maybe it’s such an old song that a copy of it has never been digitized. I know it had some controversy at the time it was being aired on country music channels, but there are much more questionable videos on youtube these days than a piano being splashed with paint…? If any of you have seen it, you know what I mean, and you know why it almost made the list. I remember watching that music video for the first time as a child, and feeling like it was something absolutely beautiful and unsettling, and this odd feeling that it was something that maybe I wasn’t supposed to be watching. The visuals it left me with have been in my head all my life, and it’s one of my favourite Garth Brooks songs. If you do search it out, you don’t need much warning. The video clearly uses paint in shades of blue, green, and red.
“I Don’t Love You“ didn’t make the list for the very simply and trivial fact that it’s black and white, not white and red. It may have fit the list better than “Animals” did, but it was really a coin toss. The song has always been a favourite of mine from the band, holding a special place in my and my best friend’s hearts because we relate it so heavily to some of the characters in our writing projects. The emotions that Gerard expresses in the close-ups in the video are haunting. No blood in this video at all, nothing red. It’s entirely in black and white.
So that’s the list. If you stuck it out and listened/watched all or a few of these, let me know which ones you liked best, if there’s maybe a video you think I missed, and/or what your favourite types of music videos are! I hope you had a Happy Halloween!