NEW-SCHOOL POP STARS’ CHEAT SHEET: THE MUSIC VIDEO

Dear New School Pop Stars,

Let me preface this tongue-lashing I’m about to give you with this small caveat: I LOVE late 80s/early 90s pop and R&B. I think that time period gave birth to some of the most sonically innovative, visually groundbreaking acts the world has ever seen. So there is probably nothing you could ever produce that would make me regard you as highly as those game-changers.

That said, I do expect SOMEBODY out of this new crop of acts to at least pretend like you care about the art of the music video. Because for a brief time, music videos had a strikingly beautiful, almost cinematic quality. They were sexy, sophisticated and stylish — so visually interesting that you could watch them with the sound off and still be plenty intrigued.

But now, it seems to be more about a.) Being as weird as possible or b.) Being as pedestrian as possible.

The five videos below capture that cool sophistication I mentioned earlier. When in doubt about whether you should lazily follow what everyone else is doing, just don’t. Instead, look here for inspiration.

Love,

Brannon

Jody Watley — Real Love

Janet Jackson — Love Will Never Do (Without You)

George Michael — Freedom ‘90

Sade — Cherish The Day

Madonna — Rain