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Web Animation Watch: Music Video Special 2020

Animation has been a popular medium of choice for music videos for decades now. The videos for classic songs Take On Me and Sledgehammer are as iconic as the songs they accompany. Animated music videos seem to have been having something of a boom over recent years, and has grown even more during the global pandemic as animation has been one of the few parts of the entertainment industry that has been able to continue production during shutdowns.

In this latest volume of our occasional Web Animation Watch: Music Video Special we look at some of the latest and greatest.

A Little Too Much | Kai

Martina Scarpelli award winning director of the short Egg, directs this stylish video for the track A Little Too Much by Canadian artist Kai. The video effectively makes use of stark monochrome imagery (with the very occasional blush of colour). It sees the everyday and mundane transform into surreal and abstract imagery, that is inspired by the song's themes of letting go of the fear of greatness, and realising that 'too much' can be beautiful.  Italian animator Scarpelli and her team created the video while in lockdown in Viborg, Denmark.

Quarantine | Shahin Novrasli

Taking inspiration from current events, this video accompanying this track from virtusoso pianist Shahin Novralsi is a much darker piece. Animated and illustarted by Slovenian artist Tom VGN and written and produced by Nasib Piriyev,  it comes from an album written and recorded by Novrasli during the lockdown.  The experimental film is intended to try to represent the 'madness and surreealism' that has surrounded us during this truly strange time.

Snowchild | The Weeknd

Autocorrect's nightmare The Weeknd (seriously spellcheck, that's how it's spelled!) stars in this animated, apparently semi-autobiographical video for this track from his hit album After Hours.  We suspect there's some artistic liscence in there somewhere although, unless his real life did include lightsaber battles and sexy ladies who turn into panthers. The anime styled video is produced by D'ART Shtajio Studio, the first black-owned animation studio in Japan

Superheroes | Stormzy

Inspired by the other major story of 2020, Superheroes by UK Grime icon Stormzy is dedicated to celebrating and uplifting the black community. The video takes its inspiration directly from the track, adds gorgeous pastel-coloured visuals and adds a comic-book twist to reflect the title. We get some real Spider-Verse vibes, but not from the superhero side, but in how it channels the authentic relationship between father and son. The real emotional wallop comes at the end when it ties it explicitly into the Black Lives Matter movement. Powerful, thought-provoking stuff.

 Take Over | Jeremy McKinnon, Max and Henry

Video game franchise League Of Legends has inspired a whole load of animated music videos, inlcuding the now iconic Pop Stars. The new MV Take Over is another case of them knocking it out of the park. Coming from London-based animation studio The Line, this video is exhilirating, kinetic and stylish, with a sort-of-but-not-quite-anime style and impressively mounted action. Whenever a music video leaves you wishing it was a movie or TV series, you know it's got to be something pretty special.


Zutomayo | Study Me

WHAT WE SAID: From Japan, this music video channels several different retro anime styles to create an incredible heady mix of audio and aesthetic. It's largely using an 80s or 90s influenced look (given an extra retro sheen through VHS-style video effects) but also features retro game style,  kaiju fights, neon-soaked sci-fi scapes and martial arts movies. It's like the best anime intro to a show that never was. Animation and illustration produced by Koudai Watanabe and Yotube (yes that spelling is right)