It’s interesting to me how much the format/medium of art affects the art itself. For example, when fans primarily consumed music on giant 12″ vinyl discs, their fittingly huge album covers and the artwork thereon were a very important part of the overall experience of consuming an album. As album covers shrunk first to cassette tape, expanded slightly to CD, and then eventually morphed into images on a screen that can’t be taken with you, the importance of the album cover in the overall experience has diminished over time (like it or not… on the whole, we spend less time looking at album covers than we used to). In turn, artists have changed the way they design covers to reflect the fact that most people will be viewing them on a computer screen or tiny iPod/iTunes thumbnail. The format has had a direct impact on the art itself.

Now look at the recent trend of lyric videos.

Lyrics used to be the sole domain of an album’s liner notes… that is if the band / their record label even decided to include lyrics in the liner notes at all, which wasn’t always. If you wanted to know the lyrics for your favorite band’s songs, you’d probably just end up sitting in front of your stereo with one hand on the “rewind” button and a pen in the other. The occasional music video made use of the “bouncing ball” tactic, but it was cheesy, cumbersome and hard to follow. Now that the Internet makes lyrics readily Google-able and we sit one foot away from our screens while we consume music very intently via YouTube (even when there’s no video element), it makes sense that lyric videos would come to prominence. It’s the perfect example of how a format itself can sometimes give rise to new trends.

Chew on that as you watch Job For A Cowboy’s new lyric video for “Imperium Wolves,” above, and Grand Magus’ “The Hunt,” below. What did each video get right and each one get wrong, as far as what makes a good lyric video?

Do you watch lyric videos? As a side note: do you even pay attention to lyrics in metal? If not for this video, I’d have no idea what the fuck Jonny Davy is saving.


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