While the heyday of soul music is long past, the music genre is still very much alive and well. From classic hits to contemporary ballads, soul music is the bedrock upon which some of our favorite timeless staples have been built across pop, R&B, funk, jazz, and blues. Without soul music, the modern musical landscape would look much different. Not only has the music genre changed the industry from a sonic standpoint, but also from a visual one as well. Look no further than Michael Jackson’s cultural-shifting, history-making music video for “Thriller.” Released in 1983, the horror-themed visual changed music videos forever. The rest of the decade would be a defining period for the artform as the concept of music videos evolved. As we prepare for the 2020 Soul Train Awards, we’re taking a look at a few memorable music videos in recent memory that paid homage to the 1980s and 1970s. Take a look below.
In 2018, the Migos released the ‘70s-inspired visual for their Billboard Top 10-peaking hit that paid homage to Soul Train. Aptly titled “Culture Ride,” the five-minute music video opened with Jamie Foxx playing “Ron Delirious” as he introduces the group. Channeling the retro vibes of the decade, the Migos’ donned afros, colorful bell bottoms, and groovy shades as they hit the snap in sync. Meanwhile, Drake popped out rocking a Jheri Curl. Between the various callbacks to the iconic program, including a Soul Line dance bit, the Migos’ smoothly won over fans and casual viewers alike.
Set in New York City in 1975, “RNP,” recasts Cordae and Anderson as partners-in-crime, “Big Play” and “Sweet Shot,” respectively. The visual jumps between shots of the funkily-dressed duo handling business in the streets when a chance for them to get out of the “game” presents itself. In the backdrop, Big Play and Sweet Shot come to their losing basketball team’s rescue, who is down by 30 points, where they pull off some last-minute shenanigans to save the day that wouldn’t look remiss in a blaxploitation film. The whole video is a trip from start to finish.
An experience was certainly served in Victoria Monet’s dreamy music video for “Experience.” Channeling ‘80s pop-disco, the visual opens with a lone woman roller skating down the street. It then cuts to her meeting up with two acquaintances at the roller skating rink, Moonlight Rollerway. Rocking colorful, sequin-covered ensembles, the trio have the time of their lives dancing and skating the night away under a disco ball.
Backdropped by a 6-piece band ensemble matching red suited fits, Mars brought the funk as he and his band grooved in sync with each other. From its grainy camera detail to the psychedelic cinematic effects, the visual embodied the spirit of the ‘70s and 80s’ with this charming video.
Lizzo’s highly-entertaining music video for this uplifting feel-good pop anthem is a pure boost of serotonin. The Quinn Wilson-directed visual opens with Lizzo as being introduced as a guest on “The Juice Show.” From there, the clip jumps between shots of Lizzo as she leads an aerobics session, sells “Juice Beauty” products via infomercials, and sings lead in a trio, all the while effortlessly rocking glamorous retro fits. It’s fun, bright and an instant mood-lifter.
(Photo: Screenshot from YouTube)