There are so many amazing animated music videos, I decided I’d like to compile a list of some of my favorites to share. (Many of these I’ve discovered thanks to my love of listening to free music on YouTube while working, but that’s another story.) Compiling this list was a bit of down the rabbit hole, as I spent more time than I meant to watching music videos, BUT, I’ve finally narrowed it down to these nine favorites.
My criteria for choosing these was that the animation had to be creative, grab my attention immediately and keep me watching the whole way through. I like the animation to enhance the song it’s accompanying without being too distracting, but besides that, I won’t pretend this isn’t completely personal preference. I’m including all different types of animation here, from hand-drawn, to stop-motion, to photo manipulation. Add a comment with your favorite of these or another that isn’t on here. Thanks for reading/watching! I hope you’re as inspired as I am.
(Also, who needs an animated music video? Send me a message and let’s talk!)
1.Tame Impala, Feels Like We Only Go Backwards
Ah, this animation is so beautiful. And the song is, too. The amount of work that clearly went into this stop-motion animation, comprised of one thousand separate plasticine collages, makes it that much more amazing to watch. I love the psychedelic colors, and because it’s abstract and repetitive, it really lets the song shine.
Designed and directed by Becky Sloan & Joseph Pelling
2D Animation: Joseph Pelling
Plasticine collage animators: Becky Sloan, Azusa Nakagawa,Theo Nunn.
Assisted by: Ben Austin, Ellie Pritchard, Matt King.
Compositing: Joseph Pelling, Theo Nunn.
2. Gotye, Easy Way Out
This dizzying animation takes you around and around the repetitive, mind-numbing days of the protagonist, as life gets progressively less bearable. Apparently this spinning, special-effects and claymation video took nine months to complete and involved a crew building the five-room set from the ground up. I like the claustrophobic, 360 degree format. I think this one effectively drives the point home.
Directed by Darcy Prendergast and Oh Yeah Wow
(If you like that one, by the same studio there is another here, completely different and also amazing, made using stop frame animation with oil paint on glass)
3. ALB, The Road
I love the minimalist, vector-drawn black and white of this hypnotic, forward-driving animation. It kept me wanting to watch until the end.
Director : Julien Lassort
Production : Solab
Producer : Nicolas Tiry
Motion Designers : Loïs de Cornulier, shoobAKA, Abel Reverter, Phong Luong, Bérengère Morel, Julien Lassort
4. tUnE-yArDs, Water Fountain
I don’t even know what this insanity is. There’s a Pee-wee’s playhouse type talking couch, Supermario-like sequences, a bizarre science guy, and flashing colors that will almost give you a seizure, and yet I was captivated until the very end. Awesome.
Directed by Joel Kefali, animated by Joel Kefali and Robert Wallace, cinematography by Mishka Kornai, coloring by Alana Cotton, and produced by Ian Blair.
5. A-ha, Take On Me
Well here’s a classic. Animator Michael Patterson pioneered this pencil-sketch animation style. How can you not fall in love with this? Says the animator, “for 16 weeks, all we did was sleep and work on the video, me in the living room, Candace in the kitchen. We made around 2,000 drawings.”
6. Portishead, The Rip
Nick Uff’s twisting, morphing, eerie illustration somehow fits this song perfectly and takes it to a whole new dimension. It’s like a tiny graphic novel set to music. I love the organic quality, with each frame drawn by hand on 16mm film. Press play and enter this twisted world.
7. Bloc Party, Ratchet
Ok, how awesome is this. This music video was created by animator Cyriac by manipulating clips from the band’s videos. Appropriately, the bizarreness of the clips ratchets up with each drumbeat. The effect is surreal and hypnotic and wonderfully unique.
8. Bo Saris, The Addict
This hip animation from Tim Fox is quirky and fun and won me over with the trippy, neon-tea-filled world. Watch for yourself.
9. Obvious Signs, by Grape Soda
Ok, this one might win for entertaining, with the cute animated ghost deer. In the video, the singer/keyboardist Mat Lewis hits a deer on the road, which turns into a ghost deer who slowly wins over his friends and even displaces him in his own band. The animation in this one actually distracted me a bit from the song, but it also made me laugh and I love it.
Animated by Lauren Gregg and Craig Sheldon of their animation company, Kangaroo Alliance.
I hope you enjoyed watching this curated list! Thank you, as always, for following Green Comma Media.