Literal Music Videos

Literal Music Videos

Updated Feb 01, 2012 at 12:24PM EST by Brad.

Added Jun 01, 2009 at 06:07AM EDT by gav.

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The “Literal Music Video” starts with an easily recognizable music video (typically from the 80’s) and uses both subtitles and newly recorded audio to narrate what is literally happening in the music video; often highlighting the bizarre visual narratives used.

LMV’s were first popularzed when film-maker/musician/producer of SuperNews! on CurrentTV/founder of Dustfilms, Dustin Mclean created his literal translation of Take on Me by Ah-Ha! and posted it to in October 3rd of 2008.

The next week, DustFilms followed up with Head Over Heels, the Tears for Fears classic.

Dustfilms created a total of four Literal Music Videos, most of which were promoted on various video sites, and received significant activity on social news sites like Digg and Reddit.

Imitation of form

While the Literal Music Videos began as a very deliberately manufactured set of viral videos, they inspired others to take part in the creation and interpretation of their own LMV’s.


Total Eclipse of the Heart literal music video.

The literal Rick Roll

We Built This City

Phonetic Translations also share the themes of parody and alternate lyrics, but instead utilize the original audio, with subtitles that replace the lyrics with “what it sounds like.”

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