Indie rock/ alternative hip-hop band Why? has always prided itself on befuddling listeners with a distinct blend of unorthodox beats, lyrics that fluctuate between rap and the nonsensical, and a surreal approach to their melodies. “Rubber Traits,” although one of their “poppier” singles, does not disappoint in this respect. The single touches on lead singer Yoni’s frequent bouts with depression, yet the video utilizes kinetic typography to complement Why?’s eccentric musical stylings, which underscores the bands ability to display a valiant sense of humor despite the lyrical content being weighty.
This video for Cee-Lo Green’s 2010 hit song “Fuck You” uses kinetic typography to deliver and emphasize its lyrics in perfect synchronization with the song.
Kinetic typography has a rich tradition in film and television, particularly title sequences (as discussed recently in this entry), as well as in electronic literature (there are currently 288 entries of works categorized as kinetic in I ♥ E-Poetry). Different digital technologies have allowed writers to animate language, going back as far as bp Nichol’s “First Screening” (1984) using Applesoft Basic. In addition to programming or creating animated GIFs, authoring programs like Macromedia (now Adobe) Director,Flash, and Adobe After Effects placed sophisticated animation tools for writers to make words dance during the 1990s until the present. Adobe After Effects has long been used for video compositing and kinetic typography, producing video output that was delivered primarily through television, cable, and film. These rise of streaming video services, such as YouTube and Vimeo in 2005 and their integration with social media (or development as social media) have brought this genre to the masses, who are now developing abundant works and communities, and catching the attention of mainstream media.