27.01.21 4 mins read
Animated music videos boom in 2020
Unfortunately, it’s safe to say the music industry suffered in 2020. Tours were cancelled, festivals postponed and venues were sadly left empty.
Lockdown measures also had an impact on the world of music video production, leading to a flood of inventive, DIY films from artists and a huge shift towards animation.
“We are aggressively opening our budgets to make sure people have enough funds to bring in animators,” said Jeff Levin, senior vice president of A&R at Atlantic Records, speaking to Rolling Stone magazine midway through last year. Considering YouTube numbers now count towards chart positions, this makes a lot of sense.
With this in mind we thought we’d take a little look back at our favourite animated music videos from 2020.
The Streets – I Wish You Loved You As Much As You Love Him
Big up Mike Skinner, and big up Mike Frost (Fiasco Design) who pointed out how impressive this music video was when it was released last year. Judging by the low quality of the footage, I’d take a guess that each artist filmed themselves on their phones – a sign of the times that only helps to add a lo-fi, cut and paste feel to the overall aesthetic.
The animators have done an amazing job to playfully bounce the camera in and out of each scene and toy with parallax (moving foreground and background elements at slightly different speeds) to add depth to the animated compositions.
Billie Eilish – My Future
At a cool 78 million views on YouTube Billie Eilish’s ‘My Future’ is a beautiful example of traditional cell animation from Melbourne-based, Chop Studio. The film channels some strong ‘My Neighbour Totoro‘ drizzly night time vibes and features some gorgeous, hand painted background scenes to boot.
The Strokes – At The Door
Released last February, this animated video from Mike Burakoff was perhaps not a result of 2020’s restrictions, but it makes our list as it’s an absolute gem.
There is so much to enjoy here; whether it’s the references to 80’s animation Watership Down; influences from lesser known 80’s cult-classic Heavy Metal; or simply Julian Casablancas’ crooning lyrics, “Use me like an oar. And get yourself to shore,” over stripped back synths, a total departure from The Strokes signature sound. Yes. To all of this. Just yes. More please.
Run The Jewels – Walking In The Snow
This Run The Jewels track sees Killer Mike drop perhaps one of the most hard hitting verses of 2020, depicting the troubled times America is currently facing: “And every day on the evening news they feed you fear for free, And you’re so numb you watch the cops choke out a man like me, Until my voice goes from a shriek to whisper I can’t breathe.”
The video from Black Dog Films uses stop motion animation to portray a battle against evil, featuring Killer Mike and El-P as children’s action figures.
Phoebe Bridges – Kyoto
Special mention to Phoebe Bridges for dropping one of our favourite tracks in 2020. When the pandemic put a stop to filming the music video in Kyoto, Japan, Phoebe threw on a skeleton onesie and simulated the trip in front of a green screen and some fairly dodgy stock footage. Another covid’era video for the time capsule, and another gem of a track and video.
I think we all look forward to progress in 2021; hoping festival’s re-open their gates, having venues fill with music and tour buses bouncing across the country once again.
Reaching for silver linings at such a time, and searching for something to celebrate, is not at all a bad thing. Thankfully, as a music and animation fan, there is a stream of creative output in which to enjoy and find some solace.