When Music Videos Don’t Work For You

A lot of the time, our impressions of music are related to the visuals they come with. I don’t mean just music videos. For instance, during a movie, when a certain soundtrack starts to play at the climactic scene, you’ll always associate the music with the feeling of titillation you felt when watching the scene. Just hearing the song afterwards will bring to mind once again the scene, and you’ll feel more favourably towards the song than if you hadn’t watched anything.

Sometimes the associated video dictates the mood of the song, and different videos present the song in different, even contrasting, lights. A very good instance is Burst the Gravity by Altima. It is the opening song of Accel World, and if you watch the Accel World opening, you’ll find it reflects a typical anime mood — fighting, pensiveness, working together as a team, cool mecha. However, if you watch Burst the Gravity’s PV instead, the entire video is a comical, slightly unpalatable twist on gym exercises. The word to use here is “corny”. In an instant, the dance beats of Burst the Gravity take on a different significance, and you can’t help but bop about good-humouredly when listening to the song. The visual elements play a larger part to music appreciation than one may realise.

Which brings me to the point (which I’ve already introduced with Burst the Gravity) of terrible PVs that destroy a song. I am particularly moved by this sentiment when I discovered that I had not yet watched the video of Flow’s Ai Ai Ai ni Utarete Bye Bye Bye. The song itself, I thought, had been pretty okay, just something fast-paced. The video, however, was pretty painful to watch. Many of Flow’s videos tend to border on the extraordinary (such as Hey!! and to some extent, Colors) but this one was probably one of the worst. Basically everyone was in a suit, and this cute young woman was some kind of baseball player who was for some reason very furious with their singing. I’m not sure what the lyrics to the song are, but from her reaction they couldn’t have been very polite. And so what does she do? Throughout the video she throws baseballs at them as they sing. The balls hit various body parts. Kohshi falls to the ground.

Seriously, the “people being slapped in the face by a woman” part has been done in Nuts Bang! and more importantly, Kohshi crumpling to the ground while singing has been done in Re:member (which, by the way, was also an example of a weird video destroying an otherwise great song; but at least that video was hilarious). So, no, people being hit is not funny. Flow being hit is even less funny. Flow has had some pretty awesome videos (notable ones being Word of the Voice and Days) but somehow their video quality has deteriorated in the past few years. Fortunately the songs themselves are still good to listen to so I shall turn a blind eye to these silly videos.

Another kind of videos, while not silly, that I dislike as PVs are concert footage. Flow has also shown me those examples nowadays (in fact the PVs of Tokonatsu Endless and Cha-La Head Cha-La were of the same concert). Concerts are cool when you’re watching them live (or it’s SID) but otherwise they’re just footage of people perspiring on stage, with insufficient lighting to see anything properly, and boring scenes of audiences waving lightsticks. Yes, I do not take kindly to shoddy PV filming.

Which PVs have you watched that were particularly bad, and ended up lowering your impression of the song?


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