Budding artists and established legends know the importance of producing entertaining and engaging videos to accompany their music releases. Whether it’s a recently released single or a demo meant to grab the public’s attention, there are several great ways to create a great music video. Throughout the history of the medium, many different types of musicians have used animation as a way to put a unique and clever spin on typical video. Whether through the use of animated graphics or traditional ink and paper, there are countless ways to express a song’s theme with animation. The following examples may serve as inspiration for beginning performers, or they may simply provide a fun way to enjoy some cartoon scenes set to music. Anyway, here are some of the best animated music videos of all time.
“Take Me” by A-Ha
When MTV was just getting started and airing music videos 24 hours a day, this catchy song was one of the most popular on rotation. Not only is the song quite memorable, but the combination of sketchy animation and live performers created a visually stunning and compelling video for audiences of all ages.
“I miss you” by Bjork
Icelandic singer Bjork is known for taking a lot of risks with her fashion choices, compositions and even her music videos. She’s used animation to create a visual element that complements many songs throughout her career, but probably the most memorable is the video for “I Miss You.” Fans of the irreverent “Ren and Stimpy” cartoon will likely recognize the style since both were created and illustrated by John Kricfalusi.
“Dawned On Me” by Wilco
Wilco might not be the most recognizable name on the list, but this group has a loyal following and is known for producing an intriguing animated music video for the song “Dawned On Me.” The band members are shown in black-and-white illustrated versions of themselves before characters from the classic “Popeye” cartoon begin to emerge and dance to the tune.
Sober by Tool
Animation can often be a playful, nostalgic way to enjoy an upbeat tune, but it can also be used to set a dark, menacing tone. This was the result when Tool released their animated video to accompany the song “Sober”. The rather heavy subject matter and melody of this song was perfectly embodied through the frenetic movements and dark tones created by Fred Stuhr’s stop motion animation.
“Heartless” by Kanye West
Here’s another artist with a long reputation for making unusual choices that certainly stand out from the rest of the pack. When he released a video for ‘Heartless,’ it was easy to see the veteran’s influence music video producer Hype Williams. The rotoscope type of animation was visually stunning and created a bold look to go along with the catchy beat and lyrics. Fans of early 1980s “American Pop” animation are sure to see similarities in the look and style of this memorable video.
Portishead’s “The Tear”
The next example on our list is another video that perfectly captures the mood and tone of the music it accompanies. With unpolished and sometimes jerky artwork by Nick Uff, the broad vocals and experimental melody work together perfectly to create a memorable and entertaining composition.
“Opposites Attract” by Paula Abdul
While the animation and melody of this track may be stuck in the 1980s, there was a lot to love about this music video. Paula Abdul performed in person alongside a hip cartoon cat, creating a playful and fun experience for all who watched.
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