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Great pop promos?

The heyday of big budget MTV pop promos is behind us sadly, the budgets have dwindled and MTV just shows 'formatted reality' rubbish now. The pop promo format (~3'30", no-to-little dialogue, usually loosely tied into the music) is still a great filmmaking challenge though.

Having been introduced to some good ads on a different thread, anyone got any good pop promos *with reasons why*? I don't care about musical preferences (we're professionals, right? We can make anything look brilliant!), more about the whole package.

Personally I get extremely bored of 'band, as-live, white stage' films, and like a good bit of narrative and humour.

To kick things off, I offer this re-working of an old Utah Saints number. Ministry of Sound had a spell of doing great promos - silly, sexy, fun, with some kind of narrative. Having grown up in Wales in the 80's, I can watch this one over and over - and isn't that kinda the point? Watch a promo and get the song stuck in your head?

  • Another beauty - Basement Jaxx 'Oh My Gosh' is a very young clubby sound (from a few years back admittedly)

    But what a great sympathetic subversion of the song. It would have been so easy to do this with younger dancers/actors, but this gives it a whole charm of its own.

    5 years ago
  • I'm out of touch with new music... when did the term "music video" disappear to be replaced with "promo"? But the deft touches and languid pace in London Calling's "Nightcall" does impress. [Vested interest- nice one Audrey]

    5 years ago
  • An all time favourite is "JUST" by Radiohead - a great blend of narrative and music - keeping some band performance in there but within the environment of the story...just brilliant.

    I also really like one I had the pleasure of working on (cinematography and edit) - a really simple idea by Tracy Whitwell for a song by I Am Spartacus called "I WANT YOU TO REMEMBER" - again a narrative which tells the story of the song without being too clever:

    5 years ago
  • The video for MGMT's "Cool Song No. 2" is pretty epic, looks lush and has some great performances.


    5 years ago
  • in my humble opinion, 99.9 percent of recent music promos are hideously uninspired, pointless wallpaper and lack any guts and spine whatsoever - the endlessly regurgitated format has become a worthless void of meaninglessness with everyone and their turtle making one and mainly wanking over what fancy kit they used to make it whilst sadly offering up an abyss of substance and an orgy of plagiarism and repetition.

    that being said however, this one was a great exception that someone passed my way recently and i love it to bits.
    it made me think there was perhaps some life to the battered and flogged format still.

    also who cant love the windowlicker video by aphex twin - an obvious choice but still brilliantly filthy.

    5 years ago
  • damnn!!!! and I forgot this one ….. love this one too.

    5 years ago
  • Some interesting posts on here, lots of 'pop promos' (certainly a term I'd used and heard used in the 90's) I've not seen before and it's great to see what different people find inspiring.

    For instance that rotoscoped rap one really didn't do it for me, and it drew from themes that came before (as we of course all do all the time - that is art). In fact the first thing that jumped to mind (not a great comparison in retrospect, but first impulse) was Queen - A Kind Of Magic!

    Radiohead 'Just' is great - as you say, a splendid balance of narrative and 'as-live'.

    Reminded me of another favourite - Massive Attach Unfinished Sympathy. A single developing shot which looks so simple but when you consider it was shot on film (35mm?) with such heavy kit and goes from crane to steadicam etc. It was technically rather harder to do back then compared with frankly a gopro on a stick which could get close to it today!

    For anyone in LA, this is the route - you can follow it in streetview still - interesting to compare some landmarks...,-118.29... (or if that link doesn't work search for 1322 S New Hampshire Ave Los Angeles and you'll soon see the blue wall of Atlacatl Multi Services).

    5 years ago