From Taylor & Zayn to The 1975: 10 Recent Videos Illuminating the Mood Lighting Trend

Taylor Swift in the video for I Don’t Wanna Live Forever
Courtesy Photo

Taylor Swift in the video for 'I Don’t Wanna Live Forever.'

Even during an era that doesn't see them played often on MTV, music videos are still a reliable way to hype up fans. Plus, videos allow artists a chance to further channel their creativity through an extension of their work.

Dropping the music video for “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever” late Thursday (Jan. 26) night, Zayn and Taylor Swift’s longing looks and hotel-trashing meltdowns aren't what stood out most in their collaborative video. Instead, it was the moody lighting that took the spotlight.

Obviously, light is utilized in every visual representation. However lately -- including three within the past 24 hours -- the use of lighting as an artistic focal point has been gaining traction as a means of setting the emotional tone for a video. 

As this trend continues to develop, here are 10 music videos from the past year that have prominently used lighting to shape mood.

Zayn & Taylor Swift -- “I Don’t Want to Live Forever”
The darker tendencies of this romance gone sour come through best in the clips where the low-light shades of green and red bathe Zayn and Swift -- colors associated with envy and passion.

Missy Elliott -- “I’m Better” ft. Lamb
Stimulating viewers from the get-go with flashes and flickers synchronized to not only the backing dance beat and bass but the dancers’ movements, the lighting immerses the dancers and retains our attention throughout. 

Jamiroquai -- “Automaton”
This electronic-synth translates from musical concept to embodiment, taking form literally within the robotic headpiece channeling emotion and action through the color schemes.

The 1975 -- “UGH!” / “The Sound”
The 1975 not only heavily employ lighting in their videos, but have taken to incorporating it into their live shows and aesthetic as a whole for i like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it. “UGH!” offers a glimpse of the band’s concert visuals, while “The Sound” traps them in an illuminated pink box, symbolizing the judgments and subsequent categories people attempt to box them in. 

Majid Jordan -- “Every Step Every Way”
A somewhat minimalist film, the duo is washed in blue as the occasional animation interacts with them, acting as visual representations of the lyrics and actions.

The Weeknd -- “Starboy” / “Party Monster”
While “Starboy” embodies destruction through a prominent cross-shaped light fixture, “Party Monster” relies on heavy strobes to give off the party’s sinister edge. 

Troye Sivan -- “YOUTH”
Lighter shades of pinks, purples, and blues play off the soft, agile leanings associated with youth.

ANOHNI -- “Drone Bomb Me”
Playing off of shadows, deep shades of green and purple give off the impression of something menacing and heavy in her political, Naomi Campbell-starring video.



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