Editors' Picks: Music Videos

Music is an art with ability to interact with your imagination on a grand scale.  While typically it’s confined to a set of headphones or stereo, almost everyone can tell you music is much more than just sounds out of a speaker.  It can be intimate, relating to your life on a personal level, or inspire with it’s story telling.  While music possesses all these qualities to paint a picture with just sound, sometimes it’s its nice when there’s a video to go along with it. This past month saw MTV hit its 25th anniversary, and with that, we take a look at our personal favorite music videos.  Most music, like any art form, can be open to interpretation based on the listener.  However, most of the time the artist is trying to convey a specific message or meaning, which can be lost behind the stereo.  Music videos help put you into the mind of the artist, seeing them paint a world for their music to inhabit.  Not only that, but we get to see the visually pleasing side of their art, which only adds to gratifying nature of music.  The last 25 years in music videos have provided quite the catalog of classics, and our Staff Picks does a great job representing that.  So here are our picks for Favorite Music Video.

YG & Nipsey Hussle- FDT (“Fuck Donald Trump”): The video, titled FDT, expresses a missive of distrust and sheer disgust with the presidential candidate, Donald Trump. Absent the vulgarity, the message is clear: this man cannot be our next president. Time and time again he has shown the world that he is unfit to lead the greatest country, nor can he utilize political correctness within his rhetoric. Specifically, this impoverished, relatively uneducated class of Americans show how their needs will not be met by this candidate. - Jake Davis, Society Editor

 J Cole- Crooked Smile: J. Cole made his music video based on the real life story of a young girl who was innocently killed during a raid. In 2010, the 7-year-old girl, Aiyana Stanley-Jones, was killed during a police raid of her home in Detroit. The manslaughter trial was declared a mistrial. In the video, there is a young girl who appears to be his little sister, whom he is enjoying life’s small moments with. It really hits home showing that the young girl could be anyone’s family member and what happened is a tragedy. At the end of the video, there is a message that says: "For Aiyana Stanley-Jones. And please reconsider your war on drugs.” Not to mention, the song has beautiful lyrics about embracing flaws and being yourself. He has raw talent that is not over the top as a successful artist rapping around life experiences everyone can relate to. - Sara Eljouzi, Health & Sports Editor

Michael Jackson- Smooth Criminal (Michael Jackson’s Vision): Sure “Thriller” is the most popular music video of all time, but “Smooth Criminal” will always be my personal favorite. The video paying homage to 1930’s gangster movies makes Michael Jackson the coolest man on the planet. The 15-minute Michael Jackson cut was part of a feature length film compiled of several music videos from MJ’s album Bad. 

The video proves that the King of Pop was really a modern day Fred Astaire taking cues from the Astaire movie The Band Wagon while also featuring MJ’s signature popping and locking. As a kid growing up to this music video on Michael Jackson retrospectives on VH1, there was no move cooler than the anti-gravity lean that he does. The song is about a woman named Annie getting murdered. The music video is about how Michael Jackson can escape a group of mafia gangster by distracting everyone with dancing.  At one-point glass shatters, the music stops and everyone starts orgasmically groaning until the music kicks back in and everyone acted as it never happened. And there is a little 8-year old who does all of MJ’s signature moves. This is music video heaven. - Patrick Hao, Entertainment Editor 

Frank Ocean - Pyramids: As I write this, I’ve been spending the better part of 12 hours staring at a live stream of an empty warehouse on Frank Ocean’s website, waiting for his new album.  On the outside, I’ve been cursing him for ruining my life for not releasing new music and continually letting me down.  On the inside, I still love him for creating some of the best music in the last decade.  That’s where my pick for favorite music video comes from.  Pyramids is, in my opinion, the standout single off of Frank Ocean’s Grammy-winning album Channel Orange.  Beyond that, I think it may be one of the best songs ever created in the Hip-Hop/R&B genre.  Pyramids takes you on an acid trip with none other than Frank himself as he goes into a strip club in the desert.  It doesn’t hurt to have one of the greatest guitarists of this generation in John Mayer ripping through a solo as Frank finds himself in the middle of the desert discovering the pyramid.  The song itself is broken into two acts, also represented in the video.  The opening act, finds Frank dropping LSD as he goes into a bar, and strip club.  Metaphors run rampant throughout, and as I said in the opening of this column, can be left up to your own interpretation.  As he begins to go deeper and deeper into his trip, he (questionably) gets on to his motorcycle and makes his way into the desert. The production, lyricism, and music are unlike anything I've ever heard, and quite frankly, I've heard a lot.  It's hard to comprehend the greatness of this song the first time through, as Frank's able transfer his trip to you over a pair of headphones.  The beat comes in waves, as it endlessly blasts you with a balance of simulated beats, guitar riffs and electrifying vocals. Overall, this video is one of the most visually epic things to come out of the mind of someone other than Kanye West or Kendrick Lamar ever.  Unfortunately, like Frank, this video is hard to come by, and can’t be found on Youtube. Try Vimeo and Vevo for better luck. So if you ever have some free time, and an open mind, this video can leave an impact as it has had on my life. - LJ Hilberath, Music Editor

Kanye West - Runaway (Film): One of my favorite music videos is rather, a musical spectacular by none other than Kanye West.

The "Runaway” short film showcases the beauty, pain, confusion and many arrays of emotions under the spectrum as it unveils its genius and you watch Kanye and “The Phoenix” travel through themes and progress the album.  Specifically, my favorite part of this film is clip for the song by the same name, “Runaway." It’s elegant portrayal of ballerinas contorting their bodies and dancing sporadically really showcase the underlining themes the song goes through. West himself sits at the piano and sings a heart-wrenching anthem of letting-go for the better of the significant other. West himself is dressed in a mix of black and white while all the ballerinas are in black, showcasing this “yang-yang” theme kind of how he feels throughout his lyrics. - Andrew Kratochwil, Lifestyle Editor

Martin Solveig- The Night Out: My all time favorite music video is Martin Solveig’s “The Night Out.” Not only does this song speak to why I love electro music, but also to the fun and free spirit characteristic to life in the city. The video’s attention to fashion and the Paris are additional reasons why I love this video. It is high energy and upbeat — how I strive to enjoy life. - Valerie McPhail, Style Editor

Vic Mensa - Down On My Luck: Chicago is the root of House Music. Credited as a musical genre started by the now deceased DJ/music producer Frankie Knuckles in the early 80s. The term House Music derived from the fact that Knuckles use to play his pioneering tracks at house parties on the South Side of Chicago. Flash-forward to today and the music has gone worldwide. Reaching its heights in the Europe, spinning off into many sub-genres and creating great new sounds.

Chicago born and bred rapper Vic Mensa pays homage to the genre and its influences in the urban and underground music sector with his Chicago Hip House styled track and music video Down On My Luck. It takes us back to a time when Hip House tracks were released by the likes of Big Daddy Kane, De La Soul, Jungle Brothers and Queen Latifah.  

The vibe of the video is very much the club atmosphere one would expect to lovers of the genre and is a reflection of a time I wish I came of age in. - David Adam Nole, Publisher

Tyler the Creator- She: Full disclosure—I’m not a huge Tyler the Creator fan. To me, a lot of his music seems to exist solely to elicit a reaction for shock value’s sake and nothing else. That being said, I haven’t been able to find a music video, past or present, that has told a story so uniquely as the one presented in “She.” Ostensibly, the song is about a mysterious stalker, his often-violent reactions towards the woman he desires, and the community’s reaction towards his presence. The lyrics give an eerie and unsettling view of what’s happening both within and outside the stalker’s perspective—but it’s the video that brings it to life. From the stalker’s complete disconnect from reality to Frank Ocean’s smooth voice warning the titular “She” (as well as the audience) to “check the window,” every detail is examined and utilized to maximum effect. Whereas most music videos do nothing to elevate a song’s artistic value, “She” stands out as a mini horror movie that leaves the viewer with a feeling of paranoia and unease—and I love every second of it. - James Wohr, Copy Editor

Thanks for checking out our picks for Favorite Music videos.  Hope you enjoyed!

Please comment yours as well!