Posts tagged ‘michael jackson’

To Lip Sync or Not to Lip Sync?

A Critical Question, an Expert Answer. But to understand my incredibly relevant solution, I suggest you watch these two videos first:


Guess which one wins? That’s right. The second one. You know why? because it’s tasteful. Cataracs, you failed. Too bad, because that song is fucking catchy. Next time you’re making a video and you’re debating whether to lip sync or not, ask these important questions:

1) Is lip syncing relevent to the story and/or location? If not, then skip it. Unless the lyrics are just so completely the opposite of what you’re trying to go for, ie: a song about slaughtering someone set in a field of flowers, then go for. It’s just crazy enough that it might work. Having hot chicks try and kill you is just too painfully close a real club experience for my taste.

2) Do your lyrics even mean anything? Are they particularly deep and verbose, or just plain formulated for maximum air play? If you’re not attached, then drop ’em in the vid.

3) Can you sing while acting? It sounds easy, but multi-tasking in front of a camera is hard. If you’re not comfortable, like these two clowns clearly aren’t, then don’t even bother. Plus, everyone knows that acting sincere in your own video just makes everyone uncomfortable. That goes for you too, Bono (or maybe it was him wearing a dress? either way, you’ll grimace).

I love the Peter Bjorn and John video because it keeps lip-syncing to a minimum, slipping it in whilst bookending the lyrics with some standard thriller dance moves. I know what some lip sync lovers might be saying right now: “But those two guys in the video aren’t the band members! Of course they shouldn’t lip sync!” It doesn’t matter. They do a good job. Especially since it’s the best Michael jackson homage I have ever seen.

Here are some great videos with lead singers choosing to be interesting in front of the camera rather than obsessed with their shallow prose:

Kanye West- Touch The Sky “I’m leaving on an aer-o-plane”. He’s leaving on an airplane! Get it?
Weezer- Perfect Situation Once again, clever, clever choice of lip-syncing. It lets you breathe in between the words, cutting to interesting things. Not everything in a performance video needs to be sung, and most of the lyrics are performed by a professional actress. Smart.
Familjen – Det snurrar i min skalle And of course, the emmy-award winning master of lip-syncing, Familjen, for using ultra-right wing religious ceremony footage for one bad-ass music vid.


August 7, 2009 at 4:12 pm Leave a comment

Michael Jackson: Holy Shit

So, I’ve never really been a Michael Jackson fan. As my Persian friends like to point out, “There are two kinds of Persians. Those who like MJ, and those who don’t.” Well, with shit going down in Iran, I think it’s only all-too-ironic that Tehran’s symbol for the progressive West has mysteriously died. Growing up, I always fell into the “don’t” category, and it was only with his passing that I realized just what I was missing…thanks to MTV’s constant RIP video special:

MJ was a music video GENIUS.

Screw Chuck Statler- MJ’s formula for music videos was EPIC. It’s one thing to hire cutting edge directors like Spike Lee and Martin Scorcese to direct the videos…it’s quite another to actually take the risk to collaborate with directors for never-before-seen music video strategies. Thriller, Bad, They Don’t Really Care About Us, and Smooth Criminal are all deadly videos that set the standard for today’s artists. Tactics like bookending the music video with a diegetic story, presenting the music video like a feature-film trailer, and pretty much inventing how to edit a choreographed dance sequence are all courtesy of MJ and his all around sweet video collection. Except for “Scream”, of course.

Check out my faves [Note: these videos are all (solely) owned by Michael Jackson, who has disabled embedding. Click on the Youtube link to check ’em out!]:

Thriller The first video to incorporate dialogue exclusive to the track. It has a storyline, choreographed dance movements, and a GREAT use of cut-aways and full coverage, ex: 5:54’s sweet swerve parade (just ignore the weird zombie portraiture at 5:24, please). If you substitute the undead for half-naked black women, the dark alley for a swimming pool filled with benjamins, and michael jackson’s sick jacket for a wife-beater, you basically have the formula for every rap video ever made.


June 27, 2009 at 1:29 pm 9 comments

Coldplay’s Violet Hill: Riding the Last Wave of Low-Budget Douchebagery

The new Coldplay video is cheap, and I don’t mean in an awesome “low-budget” kind of way. More like shitty, crude, and passed off as what I’m sure the record execs called “interesting” and “thought-provoking”. Deciding to jump on the “good idea=less money” bandwagon, their new video for “Violet Hill” is just too little too late.

With an inconsistent tone comprised of Chris Martin staring at the camera angrily to goofing around with his band mates, director Asa Mader makes the same errors Mark Romanek did with MJ’s “Scream“. Are we angry? Upset? Playful? In that bisexual gray area of uncertainty?

Trying to grow brains?
Trying to grow brains?

Possibly Bipolar?


June 14, 2008 at 9:00 am 2 comments

Googly-Eyes on Flickr!