Can we just be honest with each other for a minute? Music videos are 10/10 not what they used to be. Of course, the ’80s was the prime time for clips, with Michael Jackson and Madonna at the top of their game. However, the early 2000s videos from artists like Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and *NSYNC were such fire, too! Why, you ask? Because they all had an aesthetic — a set theme that made them indicative of the era and frozen in time. We credit this to seven steps nearly every one of these clips followed. And we’re about to spill all the tea for your nostalgic pleasure.
Set it in the future.
This is very important. Your setting is everything. With all the Y2K hooplah happening 15 years ago, people were obsessed with the FuTuRe~*, and you can definitely see that in music videos. Take Britney’s clip “Stronger,” for example. The revolving restaurant and chrome-inspired thunderstorm give you distinct 2056 vibes. For maximum effect, color your video in shades of platinum, black, and blue. Throw in a flying train for good measure. Turn to Jessica Simpson’s “Irresistible” and Backstreet Boys’ “Larger Than Life” for more inspiration.
Going into space is always a good idea.
There is something about Y2K pop that just feels big, and what the hell is bigger than damn outer space? Whether the entire video is set in space (like “Larger Than Life” or Britney’s “Oops!… I Did It Again”) or you just go there for a quick trip, serving astronomy realness will 100 percent bode well for you.
No natural elements allowed. (Keep them to a minimum, if you must.)
Thinking about setting your video at a high school? The beach? Pshhh — that’s so mid-’90s! In keeping with the “future” theme, monochromatic aesthetics are preferable. Destiny’s Child’s “Say My Name” is the prime example. Each room in the clip sticks to one color, and what do you get in return? 1999 magic. Oh, and an awkward Michelle Williams, but that’s to be expected.
Hire a minimum of six back-up dancers, and put them in a bowling pin formation.
What, did you think you were enough? Get out of here with that logic. Early 2000s music videos are all about having more fun than everyone else. And how do you do that? Hire a ton of people. Synchronicity is key, so bring in a choreographer to teach your dancers rapid-fire moves they can perform on command. Making an early 2000s music video is a lot like the military: it’s not easy, and you better stay the eff in the line.
Create a signature move.
How else are people going to remember your clip for years to come? It’s vital that the dance move is simple, but not so easy that people forget that it’s yours. *NSYNC’s “Bye Bye Bye” hand gesture is the perfect mix of accessible but novel AF. BritBrit captures similar magic with the heartbeat move in her “Oops!…I Did It Again” video. There needs to be at least one thing from your video that people take with them 4ever.
Midriffs, midriffs, midriffs.
We use the word “clothing” lightly when it comes to these music videos. It’s extremely necessary that the greater part of your stomach is completely exposed. That way, the camera can get awkward/iconic shots of your tummy and nothing else. Please turn to Christina’s vid for “Come On Over (All I Want Is You)” for further instruction.
Cast a random hottie, but make them vital to the story.
Video vixens (both male and female) are omnipresent in videos, but you must make them main characters in an early 2000s clip. Whether they’re the brooding love interest — as in several of Ms. Spears’ videos — or the crazy person pulling all the strings like in “Bye Bye Bye,” these random hot people can’t simply fade into the background. So, def make sure they’re dimes.