Picture-perfect music videos in another pandemic year
At the end of January 2021, I only had the music video ‘Intruder’ by ‘Gary Numan’ in my list for the best synth pop music videos 2021 (plus related genres) and thought: “Oh, this is going to be a weak year”. Fortunately, it didn’t stop there and over the course of the year, more and more gems came to light exponentially. In the end, we awarded a total of 30 music videos (from 375 in total) as the best in 2021.
During the pandemic, many artists were forced to record music videos at home because there was no other way. Music videos in video conference style in front of the webcam or directly from the living room were not uncommon in 2021. But some have managed to produce fantastic visual worlds even in these difficult times. And there are not only big names in the scene, but also many smaller bands and artists who have created something beautiful with a lot of creativity and passion.
The best synth pop music videos 2021 in no ranking order
Gary Numan – Intruder
Chris Corner (IAMX) has previously produced a number of ‘Gary Numan’ music videos, including the visual masterpieces ‘I Am Dust‘ and ‘My Name Is Ruin‘. With the music video ‘Intruder’ taken from the same-titled album ‘Intruder‘ Chris Corner proves that you can create exciting images with a simple arrangement. The effects are reduced to light and shadow and purposefully applied blur effects.
The official music video ‘Via Dolorosa’ performed by ‘The Mobile Homes’ taken from the album ‘Trigger’. With few resources, an iconic video has been created that ‘Anton Corbijn‘ could not have done better. As simple as the idea is that the singer wanders through the landscape with a really heavy analogue synthesiser, it is also ingenious. Visually gloomy and very desaturated, the look fits the melancholic song perfectly.
Black Nail Cabaret – Maelstrom
Official music video ‘Maelstrom’ performed by ‘Black Nail Cabaret’ taken from the album ‘Gods Verging On Sanity‘. Video by Richard Besenczi. End time atmosphere, a post apocalyptic look and moving through a bizarre landscape with breathing masks present the band’s release of ‘Maelstrom’. The zeitgeist is perfectly captured visually here. The music video was filmed in the Geological Park in Gant, Hungary.
Fall Shock – Nude Grace
Official music video ‘Nude Grace’ performed by ‘Fall Shock’ taken from the album ‘Interior’. Director: Edoardo Bocchi. The music video for ‘Nude Grace’ is like a weird sci-fi trip with a time loop. If you haven’t seen the video yet, I hope I haven’t spoiled too much. I’m not sure if it’s a time loop or a mental disorder (dissociative identity disorder) that’s being dealt with here. Just write me your opinion about the video of ‘Nude Grace’ in the comments.
Omnimar – Feels Like Velvet
Official music video ‘Feels Like Velvet’ performed by ‘Omnimar’ taken from the album ‘Darkpop‘. With the music video for ‘Feels Like Velvet’, you can almost speak of a classic mix of gothic and pop imagery. In one part, the singer Maria Mar walks through a forest with fire, dressed in black gothic clothes. I love the idea of spheres with spikes hanging around in the forest, which remind me of a mace or small water mines.
The second part takes place on the beach with cliffs. This is where the pop variant comes into play in terms of visuals. The clothes and the light setting create a clear contrast.
Kiberspassk – Kikimora
Official music video ‘Kikimora’ performed by ‘Kiberspassk’ taken from the album ‘See Bear’. I have to admit that I personally can’t really deal with the music of the Russian band ‘Kiberspassk’. It’s just a bit too stressful for me. But it’s electronic, it freshens up the scene a bit and, above all, it’s original. The band’s music videos are also a feast for the eyes. This is also the case with the video for the song ‘Kikimora‘. Great costumes and film sequences like from a horror film accompany the song.
Official music video ‘Faded’ performed by ‘Formalin’ taken from the album ‘Love And Nihilism‘. Video directed, filmed and edited by Formalin. As with Kiberspassk, I have to admit that I personally don’t like the direction in which Formalin is developing musically. The very strong metal genre impact just doesn’t meet my taste. Vera, however, is on fire with the new Formalin sound.
But this is about the best music videos of 2021, and I think it’s obligatory that Formalin is included here. Thomas Liebchen is a creative genius when it comes to visual content. Whether it’s cinematic images or graphic concepts. I liked ‘Faded’ visually the best in 2021. The idea is not groundbreaking, but very well realised.
Offical music video ‘Wonderland’ performed by ‘Czarina’. Directed by Deliris Films and The Kitsunes. ‘Czarina’ hasn’t been in the arena for too long, but with almost every video she proves what can be achieved with a lot of creativity. With each new music video, she creates unique realities and moods through unusual costumes and great visual worlds. I am visually very impressed by this artist.
Ashbury Heights – One Trick Pony (Feat. Massive Ego)
Official music video ‘One Trick Pony (Feat. Massive Ego)’ performed by ‘Ashbury Heights’. Together with ‘Massive Ego’, ‘Ashbury Heights’ just dropped a club hit at the beginning of 2021. With night clubs in operation, the success would certainly have been even greater. The collaboration wasn’t just limited to the song. During the pandemic, the two bands produced this really cool music video at different locations. However, at the end they managed to make the different shots form a harmonious and homogeneous unit.
Maybe I’m just imagining it, but I think you can see the exuberant fun of the protagonists in their eyes in almost every shot of the music video. And that’s exactly what makes the video so worth watching and so sympathetic. It’s not just the music that is presented in a visually compelling way. No, the special thing here seems to be the spontaneity and somewhat haphazard acting. Well done!
Rein – Reincarnated
Official music video ‘Reincarnated’ performed by ‘REIN’ taken from the same-titled album ‘Reincarnated‘. ‘REIN’ released a music video of epic dimensions in 2021 with ‘Reincarnated’. Whereby the wording ‘music video’ is actually not really accurate. This is more like composite dystopian sci-fi musical short film sequences.
The video includes various songs from the album ‘Reincarnated’ and has a playing time of 7:43 minutes. For us older people, that doesn’t sound too long, but for the TikTok generation, it feels like an eternity. But don’t worry! So much happens in the video that the time flies by. Absolutely worth seeing and a truly highlight of the best synth pop music videos 2021.
Yelle – Noir
Official music video ‘Noir’ performed by ‘Yelle’ taken from the album “L’Ère du Verseau”. Directed by Giant. The music video with the highest art claim in 2021 probably deserves ‘YELLE’ for their visualisation to the song ‘Noir’. Great costumes and a clear visual language define this video. Including an iconic signature move à la Madonna (Vogue Style) at the end of the music video.
Dlina Volny – Bipolar
Official music video for the dark pop / synthwave track ‘Bipolar’ performed by ‘Dlina Volny’. Director: Sasha Komisarov. That I found the young band ‘Dlina Volny’ was more of a happy coincidence. Since the end of February 2021, I have been accepting songs almost exclusively via Submithub. ‘Dlina Volny’ applied via Submithub and I was immediately enthusiastic. The music video ‘Bipolar’ is a visual hit that plays with the theme of parallel worlds with really strong images. The colours and filming are excellent and really professionally done.
Another great music video in 2021 from Dlina Volny is: Tomorrow
The Brides Of The Black Room – Fire Disciple
Official music video for the synth pop song ‘Fire Disciple’ performed by ‘The Brides Of The Black Room’. Music video by EroGuru. The music video is a one-shot recording of a night walk where more and more happens in the frame. A really visually stunning music video, which requires a lot of planning, rehearsals and discipline. But the result is impressive and we honour it here.
Cold Cave – Prayer From Nowhere
Official music video for the dark wave song ‘Prayer From Nowhere’ performed by ‘Cold Cave’. Taken from the album ‘Fate In Seven Lessons’. The visual language lets every ‘Depeche Mode’ fan immediately recognise which role model was the inspiration here. We’re talking about ‘Anton Corbijn’, who significantly shaped the visual style of ‘Depeche Mode’ at the end of the 80s and raised it to a higher level. We are talking here mainly about the music videos of ‘Strangelove‘, ‘Never Let Me Down Again‘ and ‘Behind The Wheel’.
Here the style, with less coarse-grained recording technique, has been implemented magnificently and fits perfectly to the song which somehow also has an 80s dark wave touch. Compliments and respect from my side.
Kat Von D – Exorcism
Official music video for the gothic / synth pop song ‘Exorcism’ performed by ‘Kat Von D’ taken from the album ‘Love Made Me Do It‘. ‘Kat Von D’ totally blew my mind in 2021. “Wow, what a performance!”. Musically, absolutely fantastic. I adore the album ‘Love Made Me Do It’. First of all, thank you very much for this brilliant and melancholy album in 2021.
With all the music videos ‘Kat Von D’ released in 2021, I actually had a hard time deciding which one to honour here. But I decided on the first single ‘Exorcism’. The story has a fantastic and humorous twist, the band (or crew) is introduced one after the other and the group picture in the music video is reminiscent of some kind of (gothic) superhero scene. For me, really one of the highlights of 2021 and definitely a deserved award in the best synth pop music videos 2021. Please, please with a lot of sugar on top: Keep going!
Official music video for the Electro song ‘Nano’ performed by ‘Reakton’ taken from the album ‘micro:macro:nano’. What could be more fitting for a minimal electro / techno pop song inspired by ‘Kraftwerk’ than to produce a music video with 3D graphics? The 3D aesthetic is more 70s or 80s, but with more up-to-date graphics. At least the first time I watched the video, I was almost hypnotised.
Blutengel – Wir Sind Das Licht
Official music video for the synth pop song ‘Wir Sind Das Licht’ performed by ‘Blutengel’ taken from the album ‘Erlösung – The Victory Of Light’. Directed by Nils Freiwald.
Malicious tongues say that Blutengel always pulls the clichéd Gothic card. But I find that a bit exaggerated. Of course the setting of Blutengel is fixed, but in most cases it is really amazing and credible. I personally like the marketing and presentation of the band and think that the song ‘Wir Sind Das Licht’ is the band’s best music video of 2021. Well chosen locations, fantastic lighting, sexy dancing goth girls and a simple, classic music video story. What more could you want?
Mixina – Sospira
Official music video ‘Sospira’ performed by Spainish artist ‘Mixina’. If you know the disco scene from the movie ‘Blade‘ (1998), then you already know what’s going to happen here in the video. Maybe not with the amount of blood and more subtle, because it has to fit into the small budget. But what the band has achieved here visually with few resources is quite respectable.
Not My God – Ashes
Official music video ‘Ashes’ performed by ‘Not My God’ taken from the album ‘Simulacra’. Directed by Vicente Cordero / Industrialism Films. The sound of the song ‘Ashes’ is minimal, but absolutely brutal in terms of intensity. The video is just stuffed full of hypnotising images, colourfully portraying icy cold and hell all at once. With a lot of blasphemous symbolism, the video is also not recommended for everyone.
The editing and the video effects are perfectly matched to the song and are used so discreetly that they do not become boring. You remain captivated and don’t want to miss the development towards the end. Best evil music video 2021!
Dana Dentata – Apology
Official music video ‘Apology’ performed by ‘Dana Dentata’ taken from the album ‘Pantychrist’. Director: Kathleen Dycaico. In our article “A beginners’ SEO guide for musicians to rank high on YouTube” I show, among other things, how important it is to use an exciting thumbnail for your music video. Maybe not about our article, but this is what ‘Dana Dentata’ did perfectly for her music video for ‘Apology’.
This video was suggested to me on YouTube and in the overview of a lot of videos I got visually glued to it. So I listened to the song, thought it was good and published it on our site. A well-designed stage, a pinch of sex and an interesting camera perspective are the keys to success here. The dark pop sound is nice and crisp and completes the overall picture. As you can see, follow simple rules of online marketing and SEO and you get a place on the best synth pop music videos 2021.
Lucy Dreams – Silver Lines
Official music video ‘Silver Lines’ performed by ‘Lucy Dreams’. Strong black and white contrast and many geometric shapes make this music video visually strong. The setting and the style seem to me like a music video from the 80s with the possibilities of today.
Extreme cool costumes and a glasses visor from the 3D printing machine show real passion here to leave a visual impression. And indeed, the band has managed to do that for me. After watching it for the first time, it was absolutely clear to me that the music video belongs in the article ‘Best synth pop music videos 2021’.
Ama B. – The One Thing (INXS Cover)
Official music video ‘The One Thing (INXS Cover)’ performed by ‘Ama B.’. Ama B. seems to really love the INXS song ‘The One Thing’. Besides producing this passionate cover, she also dedicated the official INXS music video to it. Although in her black costume and the keytar she rather reminds me of one of the ladies from the music video ‘Addicted To Love‘ by ‘Robert Palmer’. But both songs are from the same time period. Maybe it’s not a coincidence after all?
Onuka – Guma
Official music video for the electro song ‘Guma’ performed by ‘Onuka’ taken from the album ‘Kolir’. Today, it is no longer technically complicated or expensive to clone yourself digitally multiple times. But you still need a lot of different shots and if you let the digital clones interact with each other, it’s still exciting to see in a music video. The setting is reminiscent of a 70s sci-fi film like Clockwork Orange or THX 1138. What can I say? Simply very well realised and a well-deserved mention in the best synth pop music videos 2021.
Massive Ego – You Will Comply
Official music video ‘You Will Comply’ performed by ‘Massive Ego’, which is a hymn to the epidemic generation and the world’s present reality. I have been eagerly following the set up and preparation for the video shoot on Massive Ego’s social media channels. The band puts a lot of effort into making videos with strong visuals and I have never been disappointed so far. ‘You Will Comply’ is no exception. A super professional look perfectly realised on a small budget. The brain fryer could have been taken from a 50s sci-fi movie set. I love this scene!
BTW: The cover artwork concept of the previous releases ‘You Will Comply’, ‘Dead Eyes Black’ and the EP ‘The New Normal’ are to die for. The same goes for the new Massive Ego (ME) logo. Simplistic and just brilliant. And I know how hard it is to create something so iconic. Personally, I’ve been trying to make a signet for Electrozombies for over 10 years now. I have thousands of ideas in my sketch books, but so far I haven’t been able to decide on a signet yet. Damn perfectionism. Love you guys!
Official music video for the dark wave / synth pop song ‘Bark at the Moon’ performed by ‘Aesthetic Perfection’. Director and Editor: Chad Michael Ward. Aesthetic Perfection’s music videos are all visual gems in the scene. I don’t think anyone has any doubts about that fact. Personally, I am not a fan of Daniel’s concept of producing only Singles. The economic strategy behind it is 100% clear to me. And also that the songs from the “12 songs in 12 months” project will be released on an album was clear to me from the beginning.
However, I found it a pity and was a little worried that Daniel Graves no longer dared to make music videos, since the most elaborate and expensive video ‘Ebb And Flow‘ was a commercial flop from his point of view. I had celebrated the music video, so I was all the more pleased that from my point of view the best song of 2021 got such a great music video. Thanks for that.
But now Daniel has to be strong. The worst music video also goes to Aesthetic Perfection. And my “music video pickle” goes to (drum roll): Lonesome Ghosts. I find Christmas songs, no matter what kind, generally terrible and the acting in the video … sorry Daniel. But I love you anyway.
Josie Pace / Sammi Doll – Pure Morning (Placebo Cover)
Official music video ‘Pure Morning (Placebo Cover)’ performed by ‘Josie Pace / Sammi Doll’. The music video ‘Pure Morning’ is a wild video collage with many layers that always crossfade each other. In between, typography designs of the lyrics and stressful backgrounds and graphics are always interspersed. The colours of the video are kept rather subtle, so that the whole thing fits into a concept. I love this cover version of the Placebo classic and also the visual realisation of the accompanying music video.
Juno Francis – Hey You Goodbye Me
The official music video ‘Hey You Goodbye Me’ performed by ‘Juno Francis’ is directed by Emmet-Holmes Boyes. The video is a story music video as it was still common in the 80s. Well, let’s say a modern interpretation of it. The story goes: hotel room, car ride, suitcase delivery, car ride, hotel room, mysterious suitcase contents, ambush and end. A classic crime story performed in a few pictures, overlaid with a warm colour tone. The song is a catchy electro pop / synth pop tune with a melancholic undertone. Congrats to our entry of the best synth pop music videos 2021.
Rector Scanner – Das Mädchen Aus Dem All
Official music video for the minimal electro song ‘Das Mädchen Aus Dem All’ (The Girl From Outer Space) performed by ‘Rector Scanner’. Video by Thomas Jordan. I think this is already my third reference to the video artist and designer ‘Anton Corbijn’. That’s because the video reminds me a lot of ‘Headhunter‘ by ‘Front 242’. Pretty cool perspectives and locations make the shown big city seem completely empty and surreal.
Another video that shows that you can create fantastic worlds without much effort if you are a creative mind. Or at least a believable illusion can be created. There’s no awkward acting going on here. The passive attitudes of the characters in the video are well realised and that is quite enough. Splendidly executed!
The Brute: – Driving To You
Official music video ‘Driving To You’ performed by ‘The Brute:’. Directed by Daniel Gierke. The video ‘Driving To You’ by Daniel Gierke is in a league of its own. Shot in the best 4k quality, the video shows an agent’s story in terms of content. As well as this is realised, the video seems to have been taken from an official James Bond soundtrack. The shots that show the story do not need to hide from a Hollywood blockbuster. The colour grading is extremely juicy and creates a unique visual world. The cuts are very well paced and always offer enough variety between the footage.
Faderhead – All Black Everything
Official music video ‘All Black Everything’ performed by ‘Faderhead’ taken from the album ‘Years Of The Serpent’. Produced, directed & edited by Faderhead. For me, even before the premiere of the music video, it was very entertaining to see Sami Mark asking for snakes, fire eaters, dancers and similar on his social media channels. This naturally raised the expectations for the video. But respect what he has put together here. Maybe even one of the best videos in his career so far.
The scenery or hall with the triangle of neon lights is just pure epic. Bonus point for this! The green colour grading á la Matrix is also on point and creates a gloomy mood. The story “Evil from the myterious box”. Well, I’d say it fits for a music video. Overall, though, the music video is fantastic and fits like a glove.
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