This is not the first time I've written about SciFi music videos and it likely won't be the last. There's a wealth of material out there, and honestly it's pretty fun to see what musical acts, particularly big-budget names, come up with to tell their musical stories. We get alter-egos, ambitious storylines, and style to boot. I've compiled a grouping of videos that run the gamut from robots to aliens to scientists. Ch-check it out:
Janelle Monae, "Many Moons," 2008
Ms. Monae has crafted a fabulous android alter-ego, Cindi Mayweather, and strung her tale through several albums (most notably The ArchAndroid and The Electric Lady, each of which are broken into 'suites' that further the narrative). Cindi has revolution on her mind and seeks to overthrow Metropolis ever since she fell in love with a human and was forced to go on the run in order to escape being disassembled. Cindi pops up in many videos, like Dance Apocalyptic and PrimeTime.
"Many Moons," however, is a pretty penultimate video of our time-traveling heroine (not to mention Monae's first solo video, which is dang impressive), complete with character intros at the beginning and a catchy tune about freedom from an oppressive society.
Empire Of The Sun, "Alive," 2013
These guys' videos don't always have the strongest storyline, to be fair, but they more than make up for the lack of narrative structure with their unique, pseudo-tribal, neo-hippie style and attitude. Peace, freedom, and love are the guiding values of Emperor Steele & Lord Littlemore (the musical duo are always dressed as their other-worldly, regal alter-egos). The band has many fans that subscribe to the "empire" of their musical world, calling themselves "Citizens" or "Empyreans."
"Alive" encapsulate the band's fantastical world, as they're on a strange planet and start waking up random ladies dressed as animals, and adding them to their trippy, stylish tribe.
BEST TWIST ENDING
Childish Gambino, "Telegraph Ave ('Oakland' by Lloyd)," 2014
WHOOPS spoiler alert there's a twist ending. Sorry. Donald Glover had really been on a roll in 2014 with clever, funny music videos off of his Because The Internet album, so the first time I was watching this one, I was surprised at how...straight he was playing it. Dude you're on a vacation in Hawaii with your girlfriend. Cool. I'm bored. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. Then it starts to look like an abduction's about to happen... but who's the bad guy? And then he ends it with an alien monster love story.
It's a pretty great visual complement to a song about feeling a bit 'off' in a relationship. Or a lot 'off,' if you're an alien monster.
BEST CHOREOGRAPHY/RUNNER-UP BEST TWIST ENDING
Miike Snow, "Genghis Khan," 2016
I really wanted a mad scientist to make an appearance on this list, AND I'm always looking for an excuse to watch this video, so it's a win-win. A James Bond-type agent has been captured by an evil scientist, and a giant frickin' laser beam looks to be the cause of an early death for him. But wait! A love triangle gets complicated in this absolutely delightful work from Swedish group Miike Snow. These guys have a history of well-orchestrated and clever videos, so this entry is just the latest in their visual canon.
Bonus: Watch the "My Trigger" video to see both of these actors again, this time ending the Cold War. Alternate history for the win, ya'll!
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY/BEST USE OF SUPERMODELS AS THE ENTIRE FEMALE CAST OF YOUR VIDEO
Kings of Leon, WALLS Trilogy, 2017
Southern rock/pop gods KoL bring us a trilogy of videos that forms a dreamy small-town SciFi murder mystery. Lead singer Caleb Followill gets a visit from his future self to warn him of cheerleaders who will destroy the world because of the powers they receive from a mysterious orb. It’s kind of like STRANGER THINGS if El grows up to be a supermodel and uses her powers for pure chaos.
Very cinematic, but it's almost a bit distracting how model-y all of the female characters are since the males are all average or even odd looking, and I’d assume it’s being ironic or making some kind of statement except multiple KoL members are married to models in real life. I just don't know.