I’ve been wanting to write about The 1975 for a while now. Their self-titled debut came out just a week or so before I started this blog, and though it’s currently one of my favorite albums of the year I haven’t gotten around to putting my thoughts down. There’s a lot to love about this band, from the way their music runs mid-80’s Michael Jackson through an indie rock blender to the way they’ve managed to create a cohesive aesthetic for their band (definitely the subject of another blog post). And now with their video for “Girls”, they’ve come up with the perfect encapsulation of how to make a great music video in 2013.
Before I start: it doesn’t matter how good the video is if the song sucks. Plenty of great videos are attached to absolutely lifeless tunes. But “Girls” is a freaking jam, one big chorus of a song that’s got the perfect throwback feel for the “Get Lucky” and “Blurred Lines” crowd. Some favorite moments: the first time those crisp guitar lines come out of nowhere, “making changes” gets backed by what sounds like a full choir at 1:55, Matty’s voice getting turned into a synth for a second at 3:37. The video accentuates all of these tics and more (watch how they cleverly avoid showing “fuck”, Arrested Development style), playing into the song’s rhythmic structure and cutting away right when we want to see more.
If our endless Safari tabs and Spotify shuffles tell us anything, it’s that it’s nearly impossible to hold listeners’ attention these days. MTV stopped playing videos years ago, partly because no one wants to wait around for songs they actually like to show up on their television when they can just go to YouTube. Gone are those simple, overplayed videos from TRL circa 2004. You know the ones: little stories intercut with the band playing in some strange room under a swinging light. See if you can actually make it through Hoobastank’s “The Reason” (though to be fair, there’s probably a lot of reasons for that). It just won’t keep us interested.
That’s why pacing—or more accurately, rapid pacing—is so important. We need rapid images, little gif-ready moments to move us along and keep us watching. As Miley would say (and has practiced in her best music video): “We Can’t Stop”. If the video gets too stagnant, we’ll move on. And “Girls”, with its vivid coloring, tongue-in-cheek atmosphere, and beautiful models, has all the eye candy it needs and more to deserve a few views.