Coldplay have premiered a new music video for their single “Hearts Like Heaven,” featuring footage adapted from their upcoming comic book series. That’s right, Coldplay are making comic books now. The video is an introduction into the fantasy/sci-fi world of main character Mylo Xyloto, which consequently is also the title of both the series and the album that tell the story.
According to StereoGum.com, Mylo Xyloto will be a “six-part miniseries… reportedly [leading] up to a feature film.” The first issue of this series will be making its debut this weekend at the New York City Comic-Con, with the remaining five installments scheduled for production starting in February 2013.
While this is a brand new direction for Coldplay, they are not the first band to go nerd on us. Prog-rock band Coheed & Cambriaare almost a decade into their career of creating conceptual albums with accompanying comic books (which are also currently being made into a movie, coincidentally). Perhaps this may have inspired the English lads in Coldplay to pursue their endeavor. Who knows, maybe we’ll see even more conceptual comic book adaptations from other musicians once Mylo Xyloto hits the mainstream market… The Adventures Of Lady Gaga: Radio-Active Warrior Princess From Outer Space… anyone?
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Is this a sign of the first wave of ’90s nostalgia? In the past few weeks it feels like we’ve gone back in time 15 years and returned to the age of the big music video. It’s about time too, as memorable music videos have been too few and far between lately.
Dr. Dre has been slowly drumming up the buzz with little snippets here and there from his long, long, long awaited album Detox. At one point the rap Chinese Democracy, Dre appears to be making good on his word that the album will be released in the near future, likely some time in April (Dre himself has been quoted as setting the release date for 4/20 – ha ha – but that’s a Wednesday. Albums are typically released on a Tuesday in the US).He’s already released the first single from the album, “Kush” and just released the video for second single “I Need a Doctor (feat. Eminem & Skylar Grey)”. While the video for “Kush” was appropriately epic visual for any mainstream hip-hop single, “I Need a Doctor” takes things to a whole ‘nother level.
The seven minute long video tells Dre’s entire life story (or at least the parts we care about) from a montage to his early 90s gangsta heyday to his collaborations with Eminem. Then a little car crash throws a wrench into the mix but it only serves to facilitate his recovery and his big beefy return to form. Seriously, the guys gotten jacked. His pockets must be swelling too – from the Ferrari 360 Moderna to Dre post workout Gatorade, the product placement in the video is off the chain.
Rihanna has remained as ubiquitous as ever, continuing to have a spot in seemingly every Top 40 hip hop and R&B song currently released (we’ll talk more about Kanye’s new video, and her appearance in it, a little later on). Rihanna capped off the month in big music videos with the visuals accompanying her new single “S&M”. While the song is a hit on pop radio, the video has, unsurprisingly, generated a lot of controversy.
In addition to the expected reaction to the risque imagery, photographer David LaChapelle claims that the video copies directly from some of his past work. LaChapelle, whose photos have appeared in Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair and GQ said, “The next time you make a David LaChapelle video you should probably hire David LaChapelle” in a tweet which has since been deleted. LaChapelle has also brought a lawsuit against the director of the video over the alleged infringement. You can check for yourself and take a look at side by side comparisons of the video and some of LaChapelle’s work.
Kanye West, not one for small gestures, just dropped the video for “All of the Lights”, the fourth single from My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. The track, the centerpiece of an album referred to by at least one critic as “the Sgt Pepper of hip hop” is an oversized, blown up banger. Such a track needs a striking, standout visual to accompany it and Kanye did not disappoint.
Borrowing heavily from the art style of French filmmaker Gaspard Noe’s Enter the Void, the clip is highly stylized while not as crazy over-the-top as his video for “Runaway.” Effervescent colors swirl and the seizure inducing flashing lights pervade the clip as video switches from the story arc presented in the song’s lyrics to shots of Rihanna and her boobs in some kind of boob harness. A does of controversy for this one too: the video has gotten a warning added to the beginning of the clip on YouTube alerting viewers as to its potentially seizure inducing nature. Overall, B+ for the video—it gets points for Rihanna and the quality art direction but penalized for Kanye’s sleeveless shirt.
We can’t make mention of some of the big videos of the past month without forgetting Britney Spears and Radiohead. Britney came back with a bang, or, if you prefer the metaphor presented in the video for “Hold It Against Me”, like some glammed-up meteor impact. You can check out our coverage of it from earlier this week here. Radiohead may have had the biggest or the most hyped releases of the past few weeks with their announcement and sudden release of their new album The King of Limbs sent shockwaves through the Internet. Adding to the stir was the video for the first single off the album, “Lotus Flower”. If you haven’t seen it yet you’re doing yourself a disservice.
The question that is begged by all these big premieres is, “Why?” With the industry struggling to generate revenue from the traditional methods you would think they would be more hesitant to back large, big budget affairs for videos. This all harkens back to the last golden age of pop music, the mid to late ’90s (Boy Bands, Girl Groups and Will Smith) which went hand in hand with the age of the multi-million dollar music video. This is also the last time MTV would play music videos, ever. While they’re all accruing millions of views and thousands of comments online, why is it now that artists are returning to the visual medium, to the budget-busting music video, to make a statement? Only time will tell if such a strategy will work. For now, let’s just enjoy the visuals.