Justin Bieber is not only going steampunk for a version of his “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” video; he’s also getting animated.
In the new clip, Bieber hangs with Kris Claus and Topper the Penguin as they go around with various woodland creatures and have some fun holiday-themed shenanigans. But Bieber is hardly the first pop performer to go the cartoon route for a music video. In fact, he is the latest in a string of animated clips that date as far back as the Beatles and Pink Floyd. Let’s take a look at some classic cartoon clips:
A-ha, “Take On Me”
The true gold standard of animated videos, this video, released back in 1985, snagged six VMAs and broke new ground in the medium. The video used a technique called rotoscoped animation, which allows visual effects to be animated over actual footage. It also seamed together an animated world and a real one, in which a man and woman from the two different worlds pursue one another romantically.
Michael Jackson, “Leave Me Alone”
Perhaps the most aggressive of the examples so far, the video, which dropped in 1989, has Jackson addressing the tabloid rumors of the day, as he rides along in an amusement-park setting. The idea of addressing rumors in videos was later adapted by everyone from Kelly Clarkson and Rihanna to No Doubt.
Paula Abdul, “Opposites Attract”
In 1989, Paula Abdul hooked up with MC Skat Kat for a video that was inspired by the classic Gene Kelly flick “Anchors Aweigh,” in which he dances with Jerry Mouse. Animated by the Disney team, the video later won a Grammy for the “X Factor” mentor.
Britney Spears, “Break the Ice”
In 2008, Spears went anime in her clip from the Blackout album. The video’s femme fatale is based on Brit’s character in the “Toxic” video: a sexy, mysterious woman who lives fast and loose. It was Spears’ idea to create an animated video.
Kanye West, “Heartless”
In 2008, a down-and-out animated Yeezy hooked up with Hype Williams. Much like A-ha’s clip, it used rotoscoping, allowing West to be depressed in a whole new medium. It’s the first time Williams created a cartoon clip.
As for Bieber’s song, it’s featured on his chart-topping holiday album, Under the Mistletoe, which features a number of guests, including Mariah Carey, Boyz II Men, the Band Perry, Usher and Busta Rhymes. A version of the “Santa Claus” video will play before screenings of “Arthur Christmas: The Movie,” which opens November 23.
What’s your favorite animated video? Tell us in the comments!