Crafting a Story with Serialized Music Videos: M83's 'Midnight City' and 'Reunion'
Music videos have been around for years, and while you’re less likely to see them on television as much anymore (ahem…MTV), there has been a resurgence in the form thanks to services like YouTube and Vimeo spreading the videos around the globe. While the line between short film and music video can be fairly hazy, it’s not often we are fortunate enough to get a full-blown alternate universe and a story serialized over the course of one album. That album, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming from M83, and its music videos for the songs “Midnight City” and “Reunion,” feature a group of children with super-human abilities. In the timeline of the story, the second video takes place right after the first — so be sure to check them out in that order below.
M83 – “Midnight City”
M83 – “Reunion”
The homage-laden videos are the product of French company Division and directors Fleur and Manu, which also happens to be the home country of M83. Telling a story with a music video is nothing new, but creating an entirely new universe that takes place over the course of an album (or in this case a few songs), opens up a world of possibilities. Could this type of serialization start a trend in the world of music videos? It certainly would be interesting to see an entire album take place in a very detailed universe like this, with videos released over the course of a few months – or even one every month depending on the number of songs on the album.
Many famous directors honed their skills directing music videos — like David Fincher and Spike Jonze. Jonze recently had a collaboration with Arcade Fire where he created an entire short film, and used parts of it to make the music video for the song “The Suburbs.” That short film, Scenes from The Suburbs, runs about 30 minutes and features music from the band. Here is the music video and the trailer for the short film below:
The full short film is available online in various places, so you can certainly check it out if you’d like, but many (if not all) all those uploads are of dubious legality. It’s exciting to see new stories told in different ways, and since music can be such a huge part of how well a film works, having that music already done can be extremely helpful in visualizing the story. When both images and music are paired together, you can create some truly spectacular work. It will be interesting to see if there will be another video in the M83 series, as the two so far have been fascinating.
If you’ve got more examples of serialized music videos or even just an example of great storytelling in a music video, please share it in the comments.