Happy July 4th. Enjoy Way Too Many Videos Featuring Giant American Flags

Posted by Adam Fairholm on July 4, 2012 in Lists

Staff Post

While we're all out celebrating our patriotism in the United States of America today, I thought it might be a good time to direct your attention to the most popular way music videos display their American pride: by putting up a giant American flag and doing something in front of it.

If you think about it, it's a pretty good deal. Everyone knows what an American flag is, it looks good, and you don't have to pay anything for it to appear in your video. Plus you can do it ironically or just regular-style - it's extremely versatile. Put it in front of some bikers - bam! Patriotic. Behind a sad farmer - bam! Deep.

So how do you use an American flag in your videos? Your first option is pretty obvious. Put it up and perform in front of it. The most famous example of this is probably the Paul Hunter-directed video for Lenny Kravitz' cover of "American Woman".

There's nothing more American than rock, and there's nothing more American than Heather Graham touching herself on a car in the desert. This is basically the Mona Lisa of American flag use. Forget about the actual meaning of the song, just go with it.

Hey, remember when Miley Cyrus made a totally successful transition from Disney star to sexy adult celebrity in 2009? She did it with the Chris Applebaum-directed video for her song "Party in the U.S.A." that was basically a music video cover of the Kravitz video (minus Heather Graham).

You can watch it below, but we should warn you that this contains 35% more Miley Cyrus camera mugging than is recommended by FilmedInsert (official guidelines forthcoming).

You can rock in front of an American flag, but you can also rap in front of one, as Jay Z and Kanye West showed us for their Spike Jonze-directed video for "Otis".

Not into performing in front of your flag? Don't worry, the American flag will work with you on that. Lana Del Rey decided to have some guy hug her in front of it. Why not? Pretty much anything Lana Del Rey does can be put in front of an American flag (directed by Yoann Lemoine).

You don't even need to make a good or even comprehensible video to use an American flag. I challenge anyone to tell me what the hell is going on in this Madonna music video for hr cover of "American Pie" (directed by Philipp Stölzl) in which she appears to be willing away the problems of America via dancing in a tiara.

Trust us, there are many more where that came from. Tell us your favorite music video featuring an American flag in the comments.

america, jay z, kanye west, lana del rey, madonna

Adam Fairholm is the co-founder and lead developer of IMVDb. You can find him on twitter at @adamfairholm.

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