Discussion: Dance videos

Last night’s Grammy Awards featured tons of choreographed heavy pieces – from Kristen Wiig’s celebrated performance of Sia’s “Elastic Heart” to the winner of best music video “Happy” that featured a lot of dancing in the streets. And dance happy videos were a massive hit last year. Just have a look at my top 10 of 2014 list. And if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? Well, I’ve posted two videos here (both released in the last few days) that disputes that.

The first is the new David LaChapelle directed video for Hozier’s breakout hit “Take Me To Church”. It features renowned ballet dancer Sergei Polunin in flesh coloured tights (very Shia in Sia’s “Elastic Heart”) dancing dramatically in an abandoned derelict church. The lighting is beautiful but that’s all I loved about it. It does not nearly feel as fresh and poignant as the original directed by Brendon Cantry. In fact, it feels lazy and I skimmed through most of it hoping for a twist. The interpretation felt literal and I frankly expected more from LaChapelle. The song is great material to work with and he let me down.

Then there’s last year’s masters of the choreographed video: Jungle. A band that came out of nowhere and gave us music and videos that embodied the essence of cool and attitude. So I was amped to watch the video they released today for their new single “Julia”. But was again disappointed. This time round they feature a range of dancers in derelict wear in a warehouse – cold and detached. It felt messy and the camera was all over the place. The only redeeming moment was seeing the cast of the previous videos united in the video’s endframe. I hope it’s a sign off and that Jungle (or director Oliver Hadlee Pearch) is ready to move on to more exciting material.

So two videos that had everything going for them but undelivered immensely. Also, two acts who have established huge crossover success and can afford to take better risks whilst still maintaining popularity. All I can advise is to move on from the dancers and give us visuals that do the incredible music justice. Better luck next time, folks. I’m bored.

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