Peter Gabriel and the Animated Music Video
I’ve been thinking about how, of Peter Gabriel’s many accomplishments, one of the best has to be bringing animation of all kinds (claymation, experimental, etc) to the masses through his excellent music videos. Songs such as “Digging in the Dirt” (1992), “Kiss That Frog” (1993), and yes, even “Steam” (1992) introduced a variety of animation techniques that were not only cutting edge, but many of which were revolutionary for their time.
And of course, there is the classic “Sledgehammer” (1986). With animation from Aardman Animations and the Brothers Quay, the video is still to this day the most played music video ever. And for good reason. With numerous seamless transitions in animation styles and materials, the video is a captivating and exciting watch. And of course, it’s also weird. With dancing supermarket chickens, a sledgehammer being made of sledgehammers, and Gabriel walking away in a suit covered in white lights , this and more leaves the viewer stunned and perhaps even perplexed in the end. And that’s fantastic. Gabriel and his music video directors make use of the ample creativity that animation allows, making some of the most striking and memorable music videos in history.