The trend of creating animated musicals or music videos is observed to be growing with every passing day. Not just the international stars, but even Indian musicians and singers can be seen accepting the changing communication style. They’re resorting to the medium, owing to the pandemic and the lockdown that followed, as live-action shooting and performances are temporarily restricted.
International music sensations taking up the trend :
Dua Lipa recently launched her music video, Hallucinate. The video is a retro-fusion animated trip crafted for the single. Inspired by the disco aesthetic of Studio 54 in the ‘70s and cartoons from multiple iconic eras, the video is an animation spectacle.
Musician and animal rights activist Moby has also released a new animated music video for the single My Only Love from his latest album, All Visible Objects. Directed by Brazil’s Zombie Studios, My Only Love tells a heartbreaking story of the separation of a leopard and her cub amidst the rampant destruction of the Amazon rainforest at the hands of the meat and dairy industry, according to a news release.
Zombie Studios has replicated the real Amazon rainforest to perfection on the screen in 3D animation, for My Only Love. The goal of this video was to remind people of the ongoing horrors of climate emergency and deforestation, as well as reminding people that 90 per cent of rainforest deforestation is a result of meat and dairy production.
Billie Eilish’s new music video for her single My Future, is an animation created by Australian artists Andrew Onorato and fans believe it is largely inspired by Studio Ghibli. The video opens with an animated Eilish sitting in a forest in the rain, staring at the moon. The video is hopeful and serene, but also a bit melancholic with a touch of magical realism: qualities characteristic of many Ghibli movies. This is Eilish’s second animated music video after her collaboration with Takeshi Murakami for You should see me in a crown.
Indian celebrities and singers following up :
India’s popular voice Bhuvan Bam was the next in this race of animated musicals with his recent single, Heer Ranjha, which hit number one on trending, a day after its release and has accumulated over 10 million views. Talking about the track, Bhuvan said: “The feeling of helplessness and being stuck at home has been instrumental in the creation of ‘Heer-Ranjha’, to be honest. A lot of people are away from home and loved ones, unable to go visit them because of the COVID-19 outbreak and that’s where the idea came from, to write this song.”
Well known Bengali singer, lyricist and music composer Anupam Roy along with Kolkata based Ghost Animation’s Upamanyu Bhattacharyya and Kalp Sanghvi, also released his latest Hindi single, Aisi Raaton.
Aisi Raaton depicts a couple living together homebound owing to the pandemic imposed lockdown and the ups and downs of a relationship beautifully depicted through the lyrics, mood and soothing voice of Roy. The song strikes a chord in these tough times, aided with resonating visuals created in animation.
Roy told AnimationXpress, “Animation creates poetry with magic and realism. I always wanted to work with animators, and lockdown gave us the opportunity. Since we cant shoot music videos now, this was the best time for making animated music videos.”
Roy shared his imagination for the music video with Annecy winners Sanghvi and Bhattacharyya, who developed the visuals in animation over Photoshop in about 10 days.
Bhattacharyya mentioned, “We had worked on some simple lyrical music videos before. So, we went through the track a couple of times, and I handled the pre-production for Aisi Raaton. We knew we wanted to keep the animation minimal yet relatable and simply portray a day in a life of a couple under lockdown. Kalp handled the post production. We love Roy’s work and tried our best to do justice to his track with our animation.”
Contrasting to Roy’s soulful track is Delhi-based rapper Prabh Deep’s latest single, Chitta, that depicts a hard hitting picture of drug abuse through some really powerful monochromatic animated visuals.
Featuring animation by Debjyoti Saha (who recently claimed fame with his animated Korona series) and his team, the music video has received great reviews and has over over two lakh views on YouTube. Blending live-action and animation, which perfectly complemented the hitting lyrics, the song’s symbolism is on point. The video smartly shifts the narrative to the antagonist’s perspective, which surprisingly makes a lot of sense.
Mumbai based Ekabhuya Animation Studio too recently created a music video for New York-based Manas Jha’s track, Shades, part of his album Reimagined. The animation portrays the challenges and anxieties usually faced by children during school days. Another video with monochrome tones, hand/pencil-drawn flipbook characters evokes the complications and fight of children to escape that space. The song reflects a sensitive issue which stems from his personal experiences, resonates more with the aid of the simple yet thought-provoking visuals.
There are many more such musicals, and more to come soon, as we don’t see this trend dying down soon as it allows more space to explore ideas, experiment with forms and techniques and let imagination run amok.
(This article is jointly written by Sharmindrila Paul and Yugandhara Shete)