Should more artists create visual albums?
Updated: Aug 21, 2020
Beyoncé recently gave us another incredible visual album in the form of Black is King. Black is King was created to accompany the Lion King: The Gift album released last year for The Lion King remake. I must say, it has to be one of the best visuals I’ve ever seen. I was in awe at every scene from the choreography to beautiful scenery! It told the story of the album well whilst bringing the album to life and if I’m being completely honest, it made me fall in love with the album even more.
It's fair to say that Black is King is a visual masterpiece!
But watching it made me think, should more artists create visual albums?
What is a visual album?
We often see artists release music videos to accompany songs that they’ve released. These music videos often help to give some imagery to a song. Sometimes they reflect the lyrics of the song, and other times they simply provide some form of visuals to complement the song. The late Michael Jackson was someone who was able to tell stories through his music videos well. The music videos for Smooth Criminal and Thriller alone are legendary.
A visual album on the other hand is essentially an elongated music video where artists create a music video for every single song on their album, but these videos are placed together in a way that tells a story. Visual albums often end up looking like a feature film based on an album.
At first thought, it would be very amazing if more artists created visual albums as they would be able to showcase their work artistically. However, I think that there should be a distinction between artists being able to create a visual album and artists being able to create a visual album well. Yes, many artists would be able to do it, but I don’t think many artists would be able to execute it in the same way that Beyoncé has.
I think that visual albums have been successful for Beyoncé because a story was told in Lion King: The Gift and Lemonade. Not many albums do this, so I can’t really see a visual album working for albums where the songs don’t really fit in together to tell a story. The visual album would just end up looking like a bunch of music videos thrown together with no correlation. So, unless a visual album can tell a story, then I can’t really see it working for a lot of artists.
Additionally, it’s not every artist who’s able to execute a good visual for their song in the first place. I’m a huge fan of music videos as they allow me to place visuals with a song, but I’ve seen many artists release amazing songs, then the music video is just so disappointing. On the other hand, I’ve also seen amazing music videos but for completely rubbish songs. As such, unless both the song and music video is good, then I don’t think that artists should bother creating a visual album.
With that being said, it would be nice on paper if more artists created visual albums but in practice, I can’t see it being executed well by many artists. So, no I don’t think that more artists should create visual albums.
Of course, Beyoncé isn’t the first to ever do it, but she does visual albums so well that she’s the best to ever do it.