Great songs deserve great music videos, but more often than not the video just doesn’t do it any justice. It’s almost as if the music video too strictly defines what the song is about, which limits the listeners’ interpretation.
I was recently introduced to a band called Tame Impala that changed my outlook on the way songs and their music videos can interact. Rather than limiting the creative possibilities, Tame Impala uses the imagery along with the music to make it into something bigger. Isolated, the music is still creative, but when coupled with the animation, it transforms into an entirely different artistic dynamic.
Tame Impala is considered a psychedelic rock band, and if you’ve ever seen their music videos you’ll know why. This song, called ‘Cause I’m a Man, is a great example of the ultra-creative (and trippy) auditory and visual experience they achieve.
The music video is placed in an animated world, with a stick figure man as the protagonist. His head transforms throughout each scene to reflect what he is feeling at the time, which is an incredibly creative way to show how emotion can take over everything and lead you into some questionable decisions.
In this picture, the man’s head turns into pulsing spikes as the lyrics say “I’m just pathetic, that’s the reason why.” In other parts, his head becomes a bouquet of flowers, a ball of electricity, and many other emotion-provoking objects. Tame Impala also uses colors to relate to emotions; the environment often turns from dark angry colors to lighter colors to signify mood changes, which conveys how emotion can taint perspective.
Tame Impala is the brainchild of Kevin Parker, someone who I would deem a Pro-C creative (Kaufman & Beghetto) as he has been synthesizing and creating music since he was only 11 or 12 years old. His creativity also shines in his songwriting process: he comes up with different sounds through experimentation and using the instruments in a creative fashion. Parker considers Tame Impala to be a kind of solo-project which shows just how crucial his creative process is to the band’s overall look and sound.
One theory that aligns with Parker’s creative process is the psychodynamic approach, which hypothesizes that “creativity arises from the tension between conscious reality and unconscious drives.” So, through music and animation, Parker is expressing his emotions and “unconscious desires in a publicly acceptable fashion” (Sternberg, et al).
Parker also considers making music therapeutic.
“Music has always been my escape, even though music is my profession now, and there are so many different worlds within the world of music” –Parker
In my opinion, Tame Impala conveys the notion of worlds within worlds with hypnotizing accuracy.