What did we ever do before music videos? In a world where channel hopping and YouTube both make for an easy way to waste an afternoon, a band’s video can make or break them. Brits Metronomy are well known for going all out, and are keen proponents in the resurgence of the one-take video – first with the retro-romantic ‘Love Letters’ back in 2014, but most recently with new single ‘16 Beat‘. Somehow transforming the rage-inducing airport baggage reclaim of Charles De Gaulle airport into something really quite fun, the video was shot live using a crane and plenty of luggage props. Not bad. Inspired by the Metronomy lot, let’s take a look at other celebrated acts who’ve released one-take music videos.
Coldplay – Yellow
He learned to sing backwards for ‘The Scientist’, while ‘A Sky Full of Stars’ showed us he’s got the walking one-man band talent to make even Dick van Dyke jealous. So is there anything Chris Martin can’t do? Besides being a singer, songwriter and sell-out performer, we’re adding (stay with us) impeccable timing to the ever-growing list. Forgoing CGI-heavy, mega-bucks videos for a walk along a dimly lit Dorset beach, ‘Yellow’ was shot in one take – not bad considering the cagoule-clad Martin catches an eye-watering sunrise in the final few seconds. Talk about punctuality.
OK Go – This Too Shall Pass
Masters of one-shot videography, we couldn’t not mention OK Go. When single ‘Here It Goes Again’ was released in 2006, it went viral, spawning countless YouTube parodies of their treadmill trickery… and possibly a fair few broken limbs in the process. Pushing the boat out completely with ‘This Too Shall Pass’, the indie rockers blew the budget on pulleys, a piano and er… paper aeroplanes to create a Rube Goldberg machine – which is probably how cult board game Mouse Trap would have gone if we hadn’t lost all the pieces. It all cultivates in (spoiler alert) the five-piece getting shot in the face with paint guns. An act truly suffering for their art if ever there was one.
Lorde – Tennis Courts
Any Londoner will know the city’s dwellers aren’t exactly big on eye contact. In fact, the longest we’ve ever managed to hold a gaze with a stranger on the tube is about five seconds – and that’s only because we were in a hungover daydream. However long we can muster, it couldn’t possibly top Lorde in her video for ‘Tennis Courts’. She manages to keep a straight face while staring intently into the screen over three minutes, which is pretty intense to say the least. The only time she does move her mouth in the one-take video is to say “yeah” at the end of each chorus. Does she ever blink? We’re not so sure. One thing we do know – she’d be a dab hand at poker.
Gwen Stefani – Make Me Like You
Call it nerves, but we can think of quite a few things we’d rather do than make a live music video at an awards ceremony. Not so for Gwen Stefani. With a career spanning three decades, she’s seen and done it all, which is probably how she handled the one-take recording of ‘Make Me Like You’ with such ease – at the 2016 Grammys no less. Weaving her way through a pink hair parlour, retro bar and a mirror infinity room, the slick section features multiple wardrobe changes and some rather tricky choreography. Bonus points as well for a seamless stunt double transition, which sees the star appear to take a tumble during a roller-rink scene, allowing the real Stefani to emerge unscathed, hovering over the awards’ attendees while the viewers at home wondered how she did it. Pretty impressive, but something we’ve come to expect from the versatile No Doubt star.
Image courtesy of Peta_Azak on Flickr