When I listen to music, I focus on the sound, the song. The strumming pattern of the guitar chords, the melody of the vocals, the bass, the solos, the drums. The structure of the song and its harmonies, its mode(s) (to the best of my still rough ability) and essentially how it makes me feel. If it’s a song from when I was young, there are feelings and memories associated with when I listened to it back then. Music is very interesting to me in that it can provoke my mind like this.
When I watch a music video, I primarily focus on the band, or the characters in the video and its plot. The video itself might tell its own story and this is obviously more up front.
Music videos feel to me like a literal translation of a song. To me, this may or may not positively influence my overall perception of the music.
Not to say that music videos are a complete waste of time, not to any extent. I very much enjoy watching music videos (I *am* from the 90’s MTV generation after all). When a music video at least contains elements of a musical performance (shots of the (full) band playing the song for instance), this gives me a much more complete portrayal. Music should be able to stand on its own feet without a visual aid, but if done right, a deserving and unique dimension can provide a unique perspective. But it’s got to match the music – otherwise it comes across as artificial and unnecessary.
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