Integrity in Music Videos

Ansel Adams addressed the problem of images and text combined, and how difficult it is for one not to dominate the other; Garry Winogrand referred to the similar challenge of balancing form and content in a picture. We’ve all seen so many music videos, some of which are favorites–we memorize them, as we do with works that we find striking in all media–and some that are clearly inconsequential stinkers. Recently I was talking with my friend Paul, who was in the pit orchestra for a local production of “The King And I,” about Sonny Rollins’ excellent recording of “We Kiss In A Shadow,” with Jimmy Garrison and Elvin Jones; later that night I searched for it on youtube so I could send him a link. I found a stinker. Oviously, the person who did the posting mostly wanted to get the music up, and then complemented it with a piece of nouvelle vague cinema. I watched for the first time through, then averted my eyes during subsequent hearings.

Several days later I was directed to this new music video: a piece by Randy Newman which is so integrated that I cannot imagine hearing it without watching, and vice versa:

See if you agree.