Paul Thomas Anderson's best music videos, from Fiona Apple to Radiohead
As one of Hollywood’s foremost mavericks, it’s only fitting that six-time Oscar-nominated director Paul Thomas Anderson teamed with a few performative rebels across his foray into the music video business. Before debuting the refreshingly minimalist clip for Haim’s new single “Right Now” Thursday morning (above), the There Will Be Blood and Boogie Nights helmer collaborated with a range of music industry heavy hitters to craft iconic visuals for some of their best songs.
From Fiona Apple to Radiohead, check out the artists who’ve worked with PTA on memorable music videos below.
“Hot Knife,” Fiona Apple
Having rocketed to superstardom in the 1990s with hit albums like Tidal and When the Pawn…, Apple took a lengthy hiatus from recording music, going seven years without releasing a new album between 2005 and 2012. That changed during the latter’s summer months, when Apple dropped The Idler Wheel…, a sonically experimental collection that touched on everything from jazz to rock. The LP’s lead single, “Every Single Night,” boasted a delightfully zany music video, though Apple went back to her roots to shoot the clip for album cut “Hot Knife,” again enlisting Anderson — who’d directed videos for her songs “Paper Bag,” “Limp,” “Across the Universe,” and “Fast as You Can” in the past — to capture the haunting, raw footage.
Anderson often populates his films with solid ensemble casts, but his videos typically skew on the singular side. For Radiohead’s 2016 single “Daydreaming,” the filmmaker follows frontman Thom Yorke through a series of lonely vignettes for a series of hypnotic images. Anderson also directed the video for the band’s song “The Numbers,” which, like “Daydreaming,” appears on their most recent album A Moon Shaped Pool.
“Save Me,” Aimee Mann
Anderson tends to blur the line between his movies and music videos, and that’s never been more evident than in the clip for Aimee Mann’s “Save Me,” which sees the former ‘Til Tuesday singer-songwriter crooning the tune’s melancholy yet hopeful lyrics while posing next to actors like Julianne Moore, Tom Cruise, and Melora Walters — all of whom appeared in Anderson’s 1999 classic Magnolia. Another of Mann’s tracks, “Wise Up,” appears in an iconic sequence from the drama, which Mann wrote several original compositions for.
“Divers,” Joanna Newsom
Anderson rarely works with musicians for just a single project. He contributed two videos to Joanna Newsom’s 2015 album Divers — one for the song “Sapokanikan” and another dreamy, fantastical concoction for the LP’s title track.
“Try,” Michael Penn
Filmed while Anderson was editing his 1997 feature Boogie Nights, the video for Michael Penn’s “Try” was made inside a Los Angeles hallway (and the continent’s longest). Several members of the Boogie Nights cast — including Walters, Hoffman, and Thomas Jane — have parts in the video as well.