Wednesday, December 02, 2015

The Music Videos of David Lynch

While David Lynch has garnered acclaim for his work in film, art, and television, he also dabbles in the world of music whether it’s through his own work as a musician or collaborating with other musicians. While shorts like Industrial Symphony No. 1, Industrial Soundscape, and Blue Green were examples of fusing music and film. Lynch would also dabble into the world of music videos throughout the entirety of his career as a filmmaker.

Sparks-I Predict

Sparks is probably a band that definitely has a devoted and loyal following despite the lack of mainstream attention they get. Yet, that didn’t stop Lynch from making a video for their song from their 1982 album Angst in My Pants as the single would be the band’s first top 100 U.S. single peaking at 60. Not surprisingly, it is a weird video but very comical as it has keyboardist Ron Mael doing a striptease while his brother in vocalist Russell would sing. It’s very offbeat as it was probably rarely shown on MTV at the time but it is such a cool video from a band that often defies convention and team up with a guy who also does the same.

Chris Isaak-Wicked Game

While audiences definitely know of the song from the video that was directed by Herb Ritts and featured supermodel Helena Christensen, there was another video that was made a year before that as it was for the film Wild at Heart. It’s a simple black-and-white video that features Isaak and his band playing the song inter-cut with images from the film. While it is a video sort of typical of music videos that promotes films, the fact that it’s directed by Lynch makes it more special as it retains the haunting elements of both the film and song.

Michael Jackson-Dangerous Teaser

You’re the King of Pop and you’re about to release a new album but you need someone to give the audience a taste of what is to come. Who do you turn to? Well, it is a surprising collaboration between the King of Pop and Lynch but it’s not a total surprising considering that Michael Jackson owns the bones of Joseph Merrick and Lynch did a film on Merrick. Though it contains bits of what is expected from Lynch in terms of surreal imagery and crazy stuff which makes sense considering that Jackson himself is an offbeat individual. Yet, the teasers provide not just something that plays into Jackson’s iconic status but also that sense of anticipation of what is to come from the King of Pop.

Angelo Badalamenti-A Real Indication

A Real Indication from David Lynch MC on Vimeo.

There’s no question that Lynch has a special relationship with composer Angelo Badalamenti as the two definitely rank up there in the list of great director-music composer collaborations. The two would also work together in music as the two formed a side project that was based on jazz with Badalamenti being the vocalist as Lynch would film the video on Hi-8 video. It has Badalamenti singing the song in the streets of Los Angeles as he walks around where it is quite comical but also filled with a sense of style.

X Japan-Longing

Given Lynch’s popularity in Japan due to his work in film and television, it was obvious that the filmmaker would get a chance to do things in the country such as collaborating with the metal band X Japan. Shot as a promotional clip rather than as a traditional music video for their 1996 album Dahlia, Lynch has the band’s vocalist/songwriter Yoshiki on Malibu beach in California. It’s a very dream-like video that plays into the sense of balladry in the song as Yoshiki sings to a beautiful woman.

BlueBob-Thank You Judge

In a collaborative music project with John Neff, BlueBob was a music collaboration that allowed the two to make experimental music that was different from what Lynch had done. For a video of a song they did for their 2001 self-titled release, the video features Mulholland Dr. star Naomi Watts and filmmaker Eli Roth as a couple while Lynch and Neff appears in the videos as characters of their own. It’s a comical video which has Neff sing a blues-based song while Lynch wears a mask as it relates to a man who loses everything in divorce court where Watts throws many of Neff’s shit and takes everything else he used to have. It’s a very fun video to watch despite the quality that is available.

Moby-Shot in the Back of the Head

One of the polarizing figures in electronic music, Moby has always been someone that is appreciative of music and artists that had come before him as he is also a fan of Lynch’s work. In this hand-drawn animated video created by Lynch, the instrumental plays into a man who is in love only to be taken down mysteriously. The video definitely adds a lot of drama to Moby’s instrumental track as the animation is just intoxicating in its mixture of drama and surrealism.

Interpol-I Touch a Red Button Man

In another animated-based video as it’s for the NYC post-punk band Interpol and their song Lights where it would play into Lynch’s love of surreal imagery. While it features a simple image of a man pushing a red button, it is one that is very strange as it is set to a black-and-white animated background with close-ups of the face and button. The images would intensify as does the song itself which only makes the film far more interesting.

Crazy Clown Time

Being a musician himself and making music that doesn’t fit into any kind of genre, Lynch would often dabble into all sorts of things whether it’s jazz, blues, rock, ambient, industrial, or avant-garde. From his debut album is a video for the title track as it’s a very strange and off-the-wall track filled with so many weird imagery. Featuring an assortment of characters, it’s a video where a bunch of teenagers and individuals are having a party as it’s gone wrong while Lynch is singing inside a TV. It’s definitely reminiscent of some of the music Lynch had dabble with in the past whether it’s from his work in films and television or what he’s done with other collaborators. It’s definitely a video that isn’t for everyone but then again, Lynch was never meant to be all things to everyone.

Duran Duran Unstaged

As part of YouTube’s Unstaged concert series that had acts be filmed by prominent filmmakers such as Terry Gilliam doing Arcade Fire or Todd Haynes doing My Morning Jacket. Lynch would get the chance to direct one of the greatest pop-rock acts ever in Duran Duran. Whereas most filmmakers try to infuse a bit of their own style while be true to the concert atmosphere, Lynch does something different as he would put in overlapping images to play with the music as it definitely makes the band’s performance stand out more against the other shows in the series. It is also a special that allows the band to be presented in a different light while retaining elements of what made them so special.

Nine Inch Nails-Came Back Haunted

The first single from the band’s 2013 album Hesitation Marks would mark a reunion between Lynch and Nine Inch Nails leader Trent Reznor as they had previously collaborated on the film soundtrack for Lost Highway which Reznor took part in assembling. For the video, which starts with a warning for those who suffer from epilepsy features Reznor singing the song in a room with many strobe lights and such to play into his own fear that would inter-cut with dark imagery reminiscent of Lynch. It is a video that is expected from both Lynch and NIN as it showcases both at their best.

In the era where music videos now lack a certain finesse and art form that made it interesting in the first place. It’s good to know that David Lynch has used it as a tool to not only display his own interpretation of the music of other people but also give them a chance to be exposed as well. Even if it’s his own music or whatever else he’s doing as Lynch proves he will do more than just make a simple music video which is why he’s so loved by musicians.

David Lynch Films: Eraserhead - The Elephant Man - Dune - Blue Velvet - Wild at Heart - Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me - Lost Highway - The Straight Story - Mulholland Dr. - INLAND EMPIRE - The Short Films of David Lynch Pt. 1 - The Short Films of David Lynch Pt. 2

The Auteurs #50: David Lynch: Pt. 1 - Pt. 2 - Pt. 3 - Pt. 4

© thevoid99 2015


Chris said...

Excellent work collecting all these Lynch music videos! The only Sparks song I know is "Beat the Clock", although I can see the band have released a ton of albums. Agree Lynch video for "I Predict" is weird and nightmarish, good song too. You've reminded me I should listen to Terminal Jive (1980) for my project.

thevoid99 said...

I haven't heard a lot of music from Sparks as it's still new to me but man, "I Predict" is so fucking cool. That's a band that needs more attention.

ruth said...

Wow I didn't know he's directed SO many music videos, but it seems that a lot of great filmmakers started out doing music vids. Well these are as cool and bizarre as one would expect from Lynch.

thevoid99 said...

@ruth-David Fincher, Anton Corbijn, Michel Gondry, and Mark Romanek are great examples of video directors becoming prominent filmmakers. Lynch on the other hand is a different case but the videos he's made are amazing as I hope he does another for NIN soon.