My hobbies include over analysing music videos and probably being wrong!! Here’s some that I absolutely adored doing that with in 2018!!
You’ll find that all the music videos in this post have one (or all of) the following themes:
- A gripping storyline that usually involves something dark (i.e murder)
- A whole ton of symbolism
- Pretty aesthetics
If you’d like to see a list of ALL my favourite music videos from 2018 then I’ve created a playlist on YouTube that you can check out here.
The only order this list is in is alphabetical!
ARIANA GRANDE – THANK U, NEXT
This is one of the best break up songs ever. It’s empowering and self reflective. The video is also amazing. It makes me feel so nostalgic. The throwback to all the classic mid 2000s rom coms is everything. The production value is next level. It’s seriously so much fun and I love all the little easter eggs Ariana threw in especially the appearances from her Victorious cast mates: Liz Gillies, Matt Bennett and Daniella Monet.
AS IT IS – THE REAPER (FEAT. AARON GILLEPSIE)
trigger warnings: death, blood, suicide, drugs
I could talk about how much I love As It Is’ new album The Great Depression for the rest of my life and so far all the music videos they’ve released have been just as brilliant. I have to give a shout out to The Wounded World (which is all about accepting responsibility and how harmful ignorance is) and The Stigma (Boys Don’t Cry) (showcasing how dangerous toxic masculinity is). I think this is my favourite though because of the themes it deals with combined with the dark aesthetic. It shows how hard it can be to overcome personal struggles, how you make mistakes and bad decisions when you’re desperate — then dealing with the consequences of those actions/decisions. Each member of the band is shown dealing with a particular issue (Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Acceptance — which is the album’s themes) and then three of them get a key which I think represents moving on/accepting your circumstances whether it be in life or death. The fact that Patty doesn’t get a key potentially means that he’s still stuck and that hits hard because it’s really relatable.
GRAYSCALE – FEVER DREAM
trigger warnings: horror themes and imagery, jump scares, there’s some dude wrapped in plastic so like suffocation?? idek
I love this music video because of the simple fact it creeped me the hell out. I honestly felt like I was watching a horror movie. This song is about the vocalist dealing with sleep issues. It’s actually based on a dream that he had. There’s lots of imagery about being trapped/feeling like no one is listening to you. All the broken records could potentially symbolise the struggles of being an artist. The end of the video when the song starts playing again plays into the themes of being trapped/the cycle repeating all over again. I don’t really know a lot about this one just that it suits the dark tone and meaning of the song perfectly.
ICE NINE KILLS – THE AMERICAN NIGHTMARE
trigger warnings: horror, gore, blood, suicide, mental health
This music video is my Peak Aesthetic. It’s almost like a short film that’s a reimagining of a classic horror movie (Nightmare on Elm Street). There’s murder and psychology and it’s just so, so good??? Also, the first ever original story I wrote involved a band being suspects in a serial murder so it’s like watching that come to life 😂. This music video is part of a series where each video continues the story and is a reimagining of a different classic horror movie (Friday the 13th, The Crow, Halloween). It’s such a gripping and intense storyline and Ice Nine Kills’ vocalist Spencer does an amazing job in the role. After this, I definitely recommend checking the others out in the following order: Thank God It’s Friday, A Grave Mistake and Stabbing In The Dark.
MAYDAY PARADE – IT’S HARD TO BE RELIGIOUS WHEN CERTAIN PEOPLE ARE NEVER INCINERATED BY BOLTS OF LIGHTNING
First of all let’s take a moment to appreciate the name of this song and that Derek Sanders wrote this in response to the 2016 US election… Yeah. This video shows people being trapped in a “cult” like situation where the leaders’ values and ideas are definitely not okay. It’s about fighting back and thinking for yourself. The opening lyrics are so powerful: “you’re asking the questions but not listening to the answers you get”. Really highlights the ignorance that’s going in the world. The umbrella man figure that’s the centre of the effigy is a character that’s been associated with Mayday Parade for a while so burning him could mean them “saying goodbye” to their old music. The most beautiful part about this video? It features a brief f/f relationship. Heads up that this is a follow up to Piece of Your Heart where the f/f romance is a lot more prominent and features them running away together! I definitely recommend checking that out too.
MODERN MAPS – RADIO KILLER (FEAT. LOVE&RUN)
trigger warnings: death
Another music video about murder!!!!!! I love the 80’s aesthetic of this and just the way it’s stylised? It’s so cool. I love the contrast between the dark theme and the pastel colour scheme. I really, really love the aesthetics of the story and the ending. It’s such a good song that will get stuck in your head in the best way. Modern Maps have become one of my new favourite bands.
REAL FRIENDS – ME FIRST
trigger warnings: death, blood
This is a case of the music video having absolutely nothing to do with the song (at least I don’t think so unless I’m missing something) and normally I’m not a fan of that, but this is just such a fun video it’s definitely an exception. It’s like a super cheesy b-grade horror movie. It features Real Friends being chased through a mansion by some girl in a 80s looking prom/wedding dress wielding an axe. It’s just really amusing? I don’t know. I had a lot of fun watching it and I keep coming back to it.
STAND ATLANTIC – SKINNY DIPPING
Another video on this list that I’m not really sure what to say about other than the fact I just love the overall aesthetic and feel??? Stand Atlantic are another new favourite band of mine and I love what they’re bringing back to the scene. This is a really powerful song that I definitely relate to. It’s all about wanting to be vulnerable and open yourself up to others but not fully being able to do so because there’s that underlying fear of being hurt. Water being used as a theme is one of my favourite things (even if it is done a lot), but just the symbolism of “starting over” or “being (mentally) drowned” is something that I really connect to. Bonnie waking up covered in water shows that this is something she’s always dealing with. Then seeing the guy who’s also soaked whilst she’s wandering through the city is like how we seek out people who are in similar situations to us because it brings us comfort. I don’t know. I just really love Stand Atlantic.
TWENTY ONE PILOTS – MY BLOOD
trigger warnings: death
A video I love, but definitely do not feel intelligent enough analysing. twenty one pilot’s latest release Trench wasn’t one of my favourites, but I really love My Blood and the music video they created for it. It’s all about going through a traumatic event and not being able to deal with it. In this instance it shows the young boy in the video creating an alter ego as a coping mechanism. This alter ego is a complete contrast to his own personality and is encouraging him to step outside his comfort zone and do things he normally wouldn’t do. Things eventually become more and more intense. Whilst I’ve never used this as a coping mechanism it does remind me of my own issues with dissociating and removing myself from the situation instead of accepting it and taking responsibility. It’s a really well put together music video and I wouldn’t expect anything less from Tyler and Josh because they are incredibly creative and unique.
WATERPARKS – NOT WARRIORS/CRYBABY
I’ve lost count how many times I’ve watched both Waterparks videos on this list. When they were released I rewatched them on a loop and spent hours scouring Twitter and Tumblr for people’s theories. Here’s an accurate representation of me in regards to these Waterparks videos:
I love how much symbolism is in this. Awsten wrote the Entertainment album whilst he was in a relationship, but it ended not long after it released and there’s so many allusions to that in this video. I love the scene where he’s trapped in the room and Geoff and Otto are obliviously playing video games. That’s such a powerful metaphor for people either not seeing something’s wrong and also not letting them in/keeping things from them. I think the other powerful scene is the ending where the car is burning. Awsten’s ex-girlfriend played the yellow power ranger in one of the TV series and in past songs there’s lots of times where he’s mentioned the colour in reference to her, so the car that’s destroyed being yellow isn’t a coincidence. It also doubles for the colour scheme of their old album Entertainment. For me it’s symbolising the end of his relationship and the old album. When the shot is flipped and we see that the word “Entertainment” is upside down I think it’s because Entertainment’s meaning has been completely changed since it was supposed to be an album about being in a relationship and is now an album about a break up.
WATERPARKS – WE NEED TO TALK
trigger warnings: suicide, death, horror themes
Y’all ready for another essay? Here we goooooooo.
I think this video is definitely another metaphor for Awsten’s relationship with his ex-girlfriend (the same one from the Not Warriors/Crybaby video). There are a TON of parallels between this video and Not Warriors/Crybaby. It definitely symbolises being in a toxic relationship. Awsten throwing himself out a window shows so many things: his low mental state and his tendency to be over dramatic (if you’re familiar with Awsten you’ll know exactly what I mean by this lmao) and how he feels like it was his only escape. It hurts. The girl then bringing him back from the dead because she STILL wants to control him and doesn’t want to let him go (but for all the wrong reasons). Obviously, this doesn’t end well and there’s a demonic presence. The girl brings in a priest but Awsten has “escaped” and she just shrugs which I think indicates that she knows he’ll be back or that she simply doesn’t care about him and his well being. This video ends with the opening shot from the Not Warriors/Crybaby video and honestly in terms of order I think it’s kind of interchangeable. Lucky People could be set in between them, which shows Awsten wandering aimlessly, as though he’s trying to figure out who he is again without this toxic relationship. He eventually finds his way back home where he starts the process of dealing with things. OR, We Need To Talk could be set after Not Warriors and the opening shot being repeated could symbolise that the cycle is going to start all over again.
Do you listen to any of these bands or love any of these music videos?
Feel free to let me know any of your favourite music videos from this year or just in general!
I hope you’re all having a fantastic day.