As music videos continue to get more expensive and unwieldy – Ariana Grande‘s recent blockbuster ‘No Tears Left To Cry’, for example, has so far spawned two separate Behind The Scenes videos of its own – let’s take a look back at the humble music-video origins of music’s biggest names. Questionable outfits, cost-cutting contraptions, cats – these 10 lovable clips prove that cheap and cheerful is the way forward.
1. Oasis – ‘Shakermaker’
Oasis’ second video has them cutting costs by filming at Bonehead’s Didsbury townhouse – the one in which the iconic ‘Definitely Maybe’ cover was shot. It sees Noel, Liam and co. playing their instruments in its very overgrown garden (avec paddling pool), strutting through its alleyway, playing a spot of footie in the park, and driving a yellow rover around suburbia. There’s also a cat, which is nice.
2. Drake ft. Trey Songz – ‘Replacement Girl’
You almost don’t recognise the Drake of today in this first video from the Canadian rapper. Sunglasses and weird headgear dominate this video primarily composed of long shots in front of either purple backdrop or a world map. There’s moments of splurging – a fancy car, a fancy watch – but contrast it with the star-studded ultra-production of his latest video, ‘Nice For What‘, and you’ll see how far Drake’s come.
3. Coldplay – ‘Shiver’
This one’s set in a clean white studio space underneath a mirrorball. Chris Martin’s in a Rolling Stones t-shirt and there’s a ‘Parachutes’ globe in the background. It’s all beautifully unpretentious. Shout-out to the mucky rug.
4. Nicki Minaj – ‘Warning’
It’s 2007. In her ace interpretation of Biggie’s track of the same name, Nicki Minaj is on the phone to her girl Kandi, who’s called to give her some dirt about her man. In the video, she’s sitting in a beige-ly upholstered apartment sitting in front of a bottle of bubbly. She also has a bath. With candles!
5. Katy Perry (as Katy Hudson) – ‘Simple’
Before she was Katy Perry, she was an Alanis Morissette-alike called Katy Hudson, wandering around Japan with a see-through umbrella in a t-shirt reading: ‘Queen’.
6. Kanye West – ‘Through The Wire’
The visual effects on Kanye’s debut video look expensive for the time, but these days his polaroid-filtered potted history looks like it was made in a year 4 ICT class.
7. Years & Years – ‘I Wish I Knew’
This earnest early track from the electropop outfit is entirely set in a front room decorated with bunting, while Olly Alexander frolicks in falling confetti.
8. Florence and the Machine – ‘Kiss With A Fist’
Through an ingenious use of fans and streamers, Florence Welch makes the burning bed of this song’s lyrics a reality. Apart from that, this video is pretty much just her dancing around in a white studio and smashing plates over a boy’s head.
9. Foals – ‘Hummer’
This video gets top marks for editing – particularly in its frenetic intro. It’s a performance video in a white studio – rather like Coldplay’s ‘Shiver’ – but there’s also a bit where frontman Yannis does some idiosyncratic dance moves in a tennis-wear. The most enjoyably silly and futuristic-looking bit – in the thumbnail below – has the boys cast in blue light, while they wear pink goggles, arms outstretched. You wouldn’t catch them doing anything so light-hearted any more.
10. Arctic Monkeys – ‘I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor’
“Don’t believe the hype,” Alex Turner warns in this live rendition of their Number One 2005 single, which also served as the song’s video. No frills whatsoever – just a stunning performance. Although, if you look carefully to Turner’s left at 2:06, you’ll see some random people watching. Who are they?