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Music videos make a comeback -- and Los Angeles directors are at the forefront

May 5, 2010 |  8:05 am

"Why Don't You Love Me" - Beyoncé from Beyoncé on Vimeo.

As proven on this blog and many others last week, music videos like M.I.A.'s violent tale of ginger genocide are one of the few elements of the music business that still has the power to stir conversation. In an article this week, New York Magazine tracks how the medium recovered from its early aughts slump. We'll give you a little hint: Something called YouTube is largely responsible. That, and OK Go.

It's been a long time since MTV lived up to its name. Some time along the way, music videos went from the buzz bins to the trash bins, with tireless doses of reality TV programming instead dominating the airwaves. (The members of "Jersey Shore" didn't get famous for their gel-dependent hairstyles and accents alone -- MTV simply aired it nonstop.)

But, the article posits, now the music video has found a good home on YouTube and other outlets like Vimeo, where viewers can watch the latest Lady Gaga eye candy over and over again -- her "Telephone" video currently has at least 28,650,571 views on YouTube -- without sitting through commercials for Axe body spray.

New York Magazine has also compiled a list of 14 music-video directors to watch. Some Los Angeles directors made the cut. In fact, Los Angeles fairly hogs the list; video makers include the blood-obsessed Eric Wareheim, one half of the comedy duo best known from "Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!", whose videos for HEALTH, Major Lazer and Maroon 5 have all gone viral; Radical Friend, who's made videos for Yeasayer and Black Moth Super Rainbow; Andy Bruntel, who most recently made the Liars' spooky-cool video for "Scissor"; and Keith Schofield, who's made shorts for Death Cab for Cutie and Charlotte Gainsbourg.

Non-Angelenos on the list include Paris' Vincent Moon, best-known for his stripped-down Take-Away Shows series, and Sean Metelerkamp, whose video for "Zef Side" helped indoctrinate the world to Die Antwoord's stunningly weird South African rave-rap.

Lest you think that the video boom is all for the indie players, Beyonce tries to extend her "Single Ladies" fervor with her new "Why Don't You Love Me," posted above, filmed in washed-out '70s hues with Ms. Knowles crying to her man on an aqua telephone. The old hands that made the '90s video wave so exciting are still around too: Witness Spike Jonze's video for LCD Soundsystem's "Drunk Girls," hijacked by a marauding band of pandas who could give the droogs from "A Clockwork Orange" a run for their money.

--Margaret Wappler