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Lyric Video

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Lyric videos are music videos that simply show the lyrics of the song while it plays. Traditionally these are fan-made videos, however by the early 2010s many companies had taken notice to how popular these types of videos are on YouTube and began producing professional lyric videos. Official lyric videos can range anywhere from text on a still image, to Typographic Music Videos (also known as "Kinetic Typography" or "Typography Versions" for the official ones) where they're text-based but are meant to look visually appealing, to full-length music videos in their own right. Official lyric videos have also been advantageous in reducing Mondegreens.

Another form of unofficial lyric video began to appear in the 2010s. It mixes the MAP (Multi-Animator Project) with the lyric video. The artist(s) create animations specifically around the song. They're common in fandoms such as Gravity Falls, Homestuck, Warrior Cats, and the Furry Fandom.

Can overlap with Alternate Music Video if the lyric video has creative elements that would make a music video.


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    Official Lyric Videos 
  • Abney Park's Not Silent (presented here following the Captain's introspection)
  • Alestorm's cover of Hangover.
  • AWOLNATION's lyric video for "Kill All Your Heroes" features a person with an astronaut helmet on doing things.
  • Before Blaqk Audio's single "Faith Healer" had a Calvin Klein-style music video, it had a lyric video which was just words on screen, but very flashy and whooshy and precise.
  • The Ur-Example might be Bob Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues" music video (well, actually a promotional clip taken from the beginning of the documentary Don't Look Back, later treated as a standalone video), which is just Dylan in an alleyway, pulling away title cards to show you the lyrics.
    • You can also make a case for Dylan's "Jokerman" from 1983 being the more direct Trope Maker, since it's mostly the song's lyrics superimposed over various classic paintings, photos and sculptures that illustrate them in an abstract way, though for the choruses it cuts away to Dylan doing standard video lip-syncing.
  • The original video "leaked" release of Cee Lo Green's "Fuck You" had an artistic lyric video which went viral. A more traditional video was made after the song became a huge hit.
  • Cavetown's official video for Home is also a lyric video, since it consists of someone flipping through a pop-up book containing the song's lyrics. It's also a Oner.
  • Céline Dion started becoming fond of lyric videos since Love Me Back To Life era. So far since then, the only cinematic music videos she's done are Incredible (duet with Ne-Yo) and Ashes.
  • The lyric video to "Closer" by The Chainsmokers is a rare case of an official lyric video having more views than the music video. It has over 1 billion more views and counting. This is in part because the lyric video came out 3 months before the music video.
  • Childish Gambino's lyric video for "3005" is framed around two people in a chatroom, where the woman on webcam (adult actress Abella Anderson) flirts with and stripteases for the unseen narrator, who's typing the song's lyrics in chat. Somewhat amusingly, the video contains vastly more activity than the actual official music video, which is a mostly static oner consisting of Gambino rapping despondently on a ferris wheel.
  • The lyric video to Daughtry's "Waiting For Superman" uses comic book style pop-art.
  • The lyric video to David Guetta's "Shewolf" is just a simple slideshow. It however doesn't actually show any wolves, just wolf-like dogs.
  • Beginning with the second album, Glory Hammer have done a number of songs which have had lyric videos, including Universe on Fire, Masters of the Galaxy, The Land of Unicorns, and Sword Lord of the Goblin Horde.
  • Katy Perry:
    • The lyric video "Unconditionally" features a woman singing the lyrics to another woman, who more-or-less just dramatically stares at the camera the entire video. Erika Linder is frequently mistaken for a man in the video, which was probably the director's intent.
    • "Roar" has a lyric video in the shape of Instant Messaging screen, complete with emoticons!
    • The lyric video for "Chained to the Rhythm" features a miniature house with miniature food fit for a hamster. (In a rare display of consistency, the official video takes place in a theme park whose mascot is a hamster.)
  • Jars of Clay's "Inland" video features the lyrics over nature footage.
  • The lyric video to "Suit and Tie" by Justin Timberlake is Deliberately Monochrome. It features a lot of scenery shots and focus on Timberlake in formal attire. It also uses the Smoking Is Cool trope.
  • Lady Gaga has one for "Applause" where the lyrics are shown over a night club scene.
  • The official music video for "Heroes" by Måns Zelmerlöw, the winner of Eurovision 2015.
  • Mckenna Grace has Checkered Vans and Post Party Trauma.
  • Marshmello and Anne-Marie's song "FRIENDS" has an animated lyric video where Anne-Marie sings the song to Marshmello.
  • Another Ur-Example from the MTV era: owing in part to the song’s heavy message and in part to a dispute with his label at the time, George Michael refused to take part in any official promotional activities for his sophomore solo album Listen Without Prejudice, Volume 1. Instead, the official music video for “Praying For Time” simply shows the song’s lyrics.
  • Nine Inch Nails' music video for "Less Than" features the song's lyrics showing up in Llamasoft's Defictionalization of Polybius while a girl plays. The video contains a specially modified version of the game made for the video.
  • NOMA's "Brain Power" has one in EZ2ON REBOOT : R. There's also an unofficial one that was used as part of the song's official inclusion in Neon FM.
  • The lyric video to "Wolves Without Teeth" by Of Monsters and Men features choreography done by twins Erna Jonasdottir and Hrefna Jonasdottir while they lip-sync to the song.
  • Oomph! made their first, and only one so far, one for "Kein Liebeslied".
  • Pet Shop Boys' official video for "The Pop Kids" is the song lyrics (displayed one word at a time) over slow motion footage of dancers at a club.
  • The music video to "Beer" by Psychostick is a lyric video. It predates the rise of official lyric videos by several years. The video uses pictographs and intentionally looks amateur.
  • Powerwolf have also done a few of these. It seems to be a Napalm Records thing. See: Incense and Iron, Sainted by the Storm, and No Prayer at Midnight.
  • An Ur-Example from the MTV era: “Sign O’ The Times” by Prince, from the album of the same name.
  • The video for "Fall on Me" by R.E.M. is an upside-down view of polluted industrial wasteland scenes while each word of the song's lyrics flashes on screen.
  • The lyric video for "Give Me Your Hand" by The Ready Set features a girl performing ASL to the viewer and to the people on the street.
  • Rush: "Headlong Flight" has a lyric video consisting of the lyrics displayed on a strange monitor in front of relevant Stock Footage.
  • Sia:
  • The lyric video to "Not Gonna Die" by Skillet is an animated video where a little girl gets chased by a hydra. It features heavy Christian symbolism (unsurprising considering Skillet is a Christian Rock band), such as the girl being watched over by a lion and her trying to use a slingshot on the hydra.
  • There's nothing particularly noteworthy about the lyric video to Sleeping With Siren's "If I'm James Dean Then You're Audrey Hepburn" besides that it uses the "more romantic", acoustic version of the song, instead of the original rock version full of screaming.
  • Stephanie Mabey's "The Zombie Song" has a lyric video featuring drawings alongside the lyrics.
  • The Super Mario Bros. Movie, while certainly not an artist, has a lyric video available of Bowser's Villain Love Song "Peaches" on the streaming service, DVD, and Blu-Ray releases of the film as a bonus feature.
  • Taylor Swift: The lyric video to "Look What You Made Me Do" is animated. It has a mainly red and black color palette.
  • "Selfish Jean" by Travis shows comedian Demetri Martin taking off several layers of shirts that show some of the song's lyrics, some of which are displayed through visual symbols and body language.
  • Vampire Weekend has a music video for "Step" which is basically just words popping up on screen in front of nice grey urban backdrops.
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic:
    • Weird Al once made a Lyric Video for his Perform This Way, a parody of Lady Gaga's Born This Way, after her label rejected that song. Once word got out that Lady Gaga herself never made the rejection, Weird Al made a proper music video for it.
    • Another Weird Al example would be his video for "Bob", which consists almost entirely of him holding up pieces of paper with the current song lines on them.
    • Weird Al Yankovic has an artistic lyric video for "Stop Forwarding That Crap to Me".
    • Followed by a video for "Word Crimes" that went even more artistic.

    Notable Unofficial Lyric Videos 


Loving Him Was Red

Taylor Swift's "Red" describes her post-breakup emotions with colors.

How well does it match the trope?

4.43 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / ColorfulSong

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