The Black Keys and the Evolution of Music Video

We all know the traditional music video is dead — MTV took care of that a long time ago. But there’s always room for innovation. And so it appears with The Black Keys’ latest video for the song, “Howlin’ For You.” Could this be the next evolution of the music video?

The video (below) plays out like a movie trailer — interesting enough — but with the song itself providing just background music. The video is a full narrative and there’s even a full cast; including Corbin Bernsen, former Playboy model Tricia Helfer and “Sir” Todd Bridges of Diff’rent Strokes. The Black Keys’ stuffed dinosaur even makes an appearance.

This is the first time I’ve seen a music video that actually puts the music in the background, instead focusing much more on the narrative. But it’s not the first time The Keys have experimented with video. The aforementioned dinosaur starred in “Next Girl” and an early music video release of “Tighten Up,” both of which took a decidedly less-than-traditional approach to the music video.

It’s an interesting concept and, really, it makes sense. Thanks to YouTube and the Flip handheld video camera, fans can watch countless hours of live footage of their favorite bands. And that’s great. But it also means that the standard music video needs to offer more than just stylized re-creations of a performance (I’m looking at you, Pearl Jam). They need to tell a story. Well, mission accomplished with “Howlin’ For You.”

So, while the music video is no longer a factor on television, it could be that we are entering the next golden era of the music video … online. Are The Black Keys onto something here?

Watch the video, and you tell me.