While Radiohead’s video for new single Burn The Witch appears at first to be a cheery, childlike animation, and at odds with the band’s doleful sound, even a passing knowledge of the band will be sufficient to prepare you for its move through an unsettling atmosphere towards a disturbing conclusion.
The toytown characters are reminiscent of 80s children’s TV, but the way they treat each other is a perennially relevant critique of the way societies treat people perceived as ‘other’, with particular regard to the current refugee crisis via an animated nod to cult 1973 film The Wicker Man starring the assonantly named Edward Woodward as a policeman investigating the disappearance of a girl on a remote island. Not so cute after all.
Animated videos in music often use the playfulness of the format to explore darker themes. Seems like an opportunity to look at five of the best animated indie music videos from the past twenty years.
Los Campesinos! – ‘You! Me! Dancing!’
The twee dramatics of this playful indie-pop band are perfectly complemented by some retro animation of Godzilla-like monsters and spaceships fighting in a futuristic city. And it makes you want to dance, doesn’t it?
Blur – ‘Coffee And TV’
A mixture of live action and animation, this video about an anthropomorphised milk carton struggling to avoid the perils of the city is an endearing accompaniment to a jaunty song.
The White Stripes – ‘Fell In Love With A Girl’
Michel Gondry uses stop motion animation to explosive effect in this painstakingly constructed video for raw blues-tinged rockers The White Stripes.
Casiotone for the Painfully Alone – ‘White Corolla’
This stylish video for White Corolla by miserablist electronic indie-pop band Casiotone for the Painfully Alone features illustrated animals dancing and raises a sombre smile.
Radiohead – ‘Paranoid Android’
The video for Paranoid Android set a precedent in unsettling animated videos for the artful Oxford songsmiths nearly two decades before Burn The Witch. Has it really been that long?
Feel free to share some recommendations of your own by leaving a comment below.