Like most kids growing up in the '80s and '90s, I watched music videos non-stop. I have a secret timeline in my head of what was number one on VH1’s countdown as opposed to TRL. I could practically write out the storyboard of most videos from 1995 to 2005 shot by shot. Videos for me weren’t so much advertisements for music (which essentially they really are) as they were miniature visual fantasies of the impossible. The videos that captured me most were the ones that used technology and mind-blowing conceptual ideas (at least for a teenager) that made the song much more than just pop.
Enter, Michael Jackson’s “Black or White.” If not spectacular enough with MJ killing it while dancing with people from all over the world, the last minute of the video features faces of lots of races and genders jamming to the song and morphing into each other. The technology was so new at the time that it sent shivers down my spine.
During the next 10 to 15 years, the use of morphing in music videos skyrocketed. All of the hottest directors from Hype Willams to Mark Romanec and Chris Cunningham jumped on the bandwagon. Sometimes high budget (some of the videos in this article are among the most expensive videos ever made) and sometimes low (editors just spliced scenes together), the effect was used to change the images of our favorite pop stars right before our eyes. Here are some of the highlights:
What’s swoonier than a young Nick Carter with a middle-parted bowl cut? A young Nick Carter morphing into Kevin Richardson morphing into Howie Dorough, of course. And in the Backstreet Boys’ video for “As Long As You Love Me,” it was as easy as clicking a TV remote. The boys keep turning into each other, which makes it so much harder to really decide that age old question: which BSB is my favorite?