Featuring X

What’s your favourite music video? On Twitter, I asked the same question and below are some of the responses:

Music Videos1

Though, what makes an artist’s video so memorable: A connection to the lyrics? Cinematography? Plot? Cultural references? Product placement?

Last year, the five most popular music videos on YouTube / Vevo were Miley Cyrus’ ‘Wrecking Ball’ and ‘We Can’t Stop’, Will.I.Am’s ‘Scream & Shout’ which featured Britney Spears, Rihanna’s ‘Diamonds’ and Katy Perry’s ‘Roar’.

For me, I tend to be drawn to a video that takes inspiration from the past and alters it slightly. Whether that’s Blink 182’s ‘All The Small Things‘ (a parody of various pop videos including The Backstreet Boys’ ‘I Want It That Way’) or Iggy Azalea’s ‘Fancy’ which was heavily inspired by Clueless.

Thus, it was of no surprise that I was drawn to Drogheda-based five-piece Featuring X’s debut video ‘Wild Love’.

Within the opening frame, it’s obvious whereby the group attained their influence; Robert Palmer’s ‘Addicted to Love‘. A visual which has been parodied more times than I count, including at the VVIP Awards last year with Bressie and a host of models.

Within Palmer’s video, Terence Donovan directed models Julie Pankhurst, Patty Kelly, Mak Gilchrist, Julia Bolino and Kathy Davies to be robot-like, inspired by the representations of women in Patrick Nagel’s artwork. For the shoot, a musician was hired to teach the models guitar fingering techniques but succumbed after an hour.

This stoic portrayal of women was key to director Gavin Kilduff choosing to renew the classic with the Irish musicians.

“Robert Palmer’s ‘Addicted to Love’ being one of the most iconic images of women within music videos, it always bothered me that none of the women could actually play their instruments but were there purely as set dressing. When meeting and seeing how talented the Featuring X’s girls were I felt they would be the perfect group to subvert that famous imagery as here were girls who could really play their instruments.”

‘Wild Love’ took six hours to record, a surprising duration as visually it may appear quite simplistic. However, my favourite feature of the video is how it was recorded: To attain the grainy aesthetic symbolising the past, Kilduff recorded the video in HD using a Canon 5dmk2 but exported it to a VHS format to give the video an authentic antiquity.

In the midst of their Leaving Certificate exams, Featuring X (comprised of Niamh Sharkey, Dara Farrelly, Eleanor Rogers, Sarah McLaughlin and Jenny McKeown) have released an impressive track with a video that questions the traditional roles of female musicians in pop culture.

‘Wild Love’ is officially released on June 26th but I’ve already pre-ordered my copy. I’d recommend you do the same!

You can follow Featuring X’s journey through Facebook and Twitter.

Written by

Sinéad Burke is an academic and a writer with an obsessive interest in fashion, education and 'Extraordinary Women'. She is an ambassador for the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and the National Women's Council of Ireland.