5 TRANSISTOR Writers On Their Favourite Music Videos

thumbnail and intro fae liam menzies (@blinkclyro)

While music is *shock* for your ears to enjoy, it was only a matter of time before it branched into a medium that could stimulate most, though maybe not all of your senses (only Spy Kids 4D can offer you that).

It’s been almost four decades since the first music video aired on MTV in 1979, aptly titled Video Killed The Radio Star by The Buggles, but since then, we’ve been blessed with experimental, haunting and evoking pieces of visual spectacle that have only gone to add to our enjoyment of certain music. Here are just five of these pieces, chose by none other than the writers of this very site – enjoy.


Isabella McHardy (@izzmchardy): Oblivion by Grimes

Oblivion is pretty simple in comparison to Grimes’ other more theatrical, character-based music videos. But somehow delivers the strongest message. Grimes puts herself in male-dominated spaces, reclaiming her body after sexual assault. Although such an intense topic, she manages to bridge the gap between her and the men in the video.

She breaks down the intimidating reputation sports arenas and male locker rooms have, as well as flipping the male-gaze on its head. The start shows her cautiously navigating unfamiliar places but the video ends with her standing tall amongst her male counterparts.


Gregor Farquharson (@grgratlntc): Lost Little Boys by Fatherson

The way this video follows two best friends dealing with the loss of one of their wives is beautiful – it shows the fun the three always had and the heartache of the man who’s lost his lover.

The feeling when we find out the best friend had an affair with the wife tears apart the viewer but when the two come together at the end and makeup, the emotion felt is unreal. Put together with a strong song, this music video is a real treat to watch.


Liam Menzies (@blinkclyro): Come To Daddy by Aphex Twin

While the videos so far have been about evoking empowerment or sadness, there’s one feeling we haven’t quick chatted about yet.

Seeing as it’s appeared on various “100 Scariest Moments of TV” lists, it should be no surprise that this one is a bit creepy. Filmed in the same estate that Stanley Kubrick’s classic A Clockwork Orange was, the video includes a gang of small children with Richard D James’ face wreaking havoc while an evil spirit emerges who’s face is very much nightmare worthy. Watch this one with the lights off.


Ewan Blacklaw (@Ewanblacklaw): Sabotage by Beastie Boys

The video for one of the NYC trio’s biggest hits really speaks for itself. The Beastie Boys took a much different approach to their videos in comparison to some of the more glamorous productions that became popular in the 90s. With that being said, the videos of the Beastie Boys were often just as extravagant, but took a less serious approach and implemented their unique style just as they had done with their music.

The video sees basically comes off as an 80s-cop movie, with plenty of moustaches and bad special effects. As their popularity increased, their music video budget seemed to stay the same as the video for Sabotage looks like a video made by the class clowns of a film class. This all plays into the Beastie Boys charm and makes for one of the funniest and most memorable music videos from the 90s.


Will Sexton (@willshesleeps): Sweetheart What Have You Done To Us by Keaton Henson

Keaton’s haunting musicianship alone is always enough to bring you to tears but the sheer vulnerability and simplicity of this music video bring it to a new level. The spacey guitar and vocals compliment the image of the open sea and staring straight into Henson’s eyes aren’t easy considering the pain and anguish expressed in the lyrics.

However, the climax of the song where it physically gets too much for the musician and he walks off set is hard to watch without feeling something at the very least. Whether it was scripted or not (knowing about his chronic stage fright and anxiety issues we would presume not) it doesn’t matter as the closing scene of him crying offset breaks your heart.

LOOKING BACK AT…CHECK YOUR HEAD BY BEASTIE BOYS

By Jake Cordiner (@jjjjaketh)

Check Your Head is the 3rd studio album by the (beyond) legendary New York hip hop/punk 3 piece Beastie Boys. It was released on April 21st, 1992 to, save for a few PHILISTINES (I’m looking at you Entertainment Weekly’s David Bowne *shakes fist menacingly*), critical acclaim. Looking back at this album, it can be seen as a turning point for the trio. It’s quite clear that Mike D, Ad-Rock and MCA (R.I.P) just went into the studio and fucked about for a while. It definitely shows seeing as this album is genuinely MENTAL: there are so many genres and ideas thrown into the point that at times it can become quite jarring.

Take, for example, the first 5 tracks. You have a reverb-heavy, but still quite recognisably Beastie Boys track, album opener Jimmy James (with some absolutely transcendent scratch work on the beat). Then comes Funky Boss. A minute and a half long funk interlude that includes Mike D screaming like Tarzan in the background and MCA doing a weird moan/cry thing. Thirdly comes Pass The Mic, which is a fucking belter. 4 and a bit minutes of the act at their best. A quick side note, the Beastie Boys lyrics would sound corny as all hell coming from literally anyone else, but something about their delivery makes it seem incredibly cool, even two decades after dropping them.

Gratitude comes next, a big, sexy, almost stoner rock bass riff drives the song with some shouty vocals. The first of many call backs to the Beastie Boys punk past (this is the first full length studio album that the guys played their own instruments on). Lastly in this example of the trio’s scatterbrained-as-fuck list of influences on this album is Lighten Up. It’s like… an African tribal song with stabs of funk guitar and organ? Look when it’s described it sounds like utter shit but trust me it’s a cool little track.

The aforementioned jarring nature of Check Your Head, however, is more of a positive than a negative in my eyes. It shows that the Beastie Boys could tackle a wide range of genres and do it better than almost anyone else. Other highlights on the album include the incredible glam-like stomp of So What’Cha Want, the hardcore punk blast that is Time For Livin’, the all over the place yet somehow coherent The Maestro (I’ll never tire of hearing Mike D call me a motherfucker) and the album’s closing track Namaste, which sounds like what would happen if The Roots were commissioned to write an album of elevator music.

To conclude, as I said before this album is utterly bonkers in the best possible way. This is the sound of a group coming into their own and truly making themselves known as one of the most unique names not just in hip-hop, but in the music landscape in general. Not just debatably the best Beastie Boys album, but one of the best albums of the 90’s full stop. Vital.

9/10

P.S. I miss MCA more than I really should. R.I.P Adam Yauch.


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