Thursday, July 27, 2006

Chestnuts from MTV's past (aka "Fun With YouTube")


Most of you don't need me to tell you just how addictive YouTube can be, especially to a guy like me whose parents never got cable back in tha day, when MTV actually showed music videos, and the videos were as cheesy as they come. A lot of those great videos are now available for your free viewing pleasure!! (OK, humor me; it's meant to be slightly tongue-in-cheek.) Join me if you dare on a trip down memory lane...
This one is a knockout '80s classic both in terms of song AND video. It's got that charming, British 16mm feel to it, and Tracey's suitably wacky in it. But the song is a flat-out, undeniably charming cut written by the incomparable Kirsty MacColl, and the video even has Paul McCartney at the end of it. Definitely a keeper...
Todd has never been at a loss at telling the world just how much of a visionary he is; at times, he's actually been right about that. The premise behind this album was that there wasn't a single sound on this album that wasn't created by his own voice. Of course, that doesn't mean he hasn't put it through a sampler, or put sh!tloads of phasing on it. Some of the songs on this album are downright breathtaking; some merely drab. But by and large, it was a worthy experiment. This single is a memorable Todd stab at relevance, and I think the song holds up to a degree. This video, though? Again, Todd made it entirely himself, with what he thought was bleeding-edge technology. Too bad he didn't fire his hairstylist!!
I still think this song is a classic, a timeless slice from the '80s when the Tubes tried to shed their '70s weirdness for something a bit more popular. From a musical standpoint, they were successful; the two albums they put out at the top of the '80s (The Completion Backwards Principle and Outside/Inside) were classic pop songs which very much captured radio's attention. Visually however, this video is Fee Waybill and the guys up to their old arty tricks again, trying to see if they can get a shock. For as cool as the song is, the video only leaves me scratching my head.
Interesting sidebar, however: Fee Waybill can be credited with being a matchmaker to two relatively high-profile musicians. Richard Marx met (and married) Cynthia Rhodes (a former Tubes backing vocalist) after Richard and Fee worked together. And Todd Rundgren met (and married) Michele Gray, another former Tubes backing vocalist, no doubt after working with the Tubes on their '86 album Love Bomb. Any fact checkers with the truth, pls. feel free to correct me.
Yeah, again, see, great song, of which I'd only caught bits and pieces of the video. This is the longer, extended version with, egads, the members of Yes morphing into various woodland creatures in order to convey some sort of hallucinatory deeper TRUTH to this ordinary, average Londoner just trying to march himself to work. I'm certain that at the time, the band thought it was a good storyline. You have to admit, it's not your run-of-the-mill here's our band screwing around, lip-synching to our music on a soundstage type of video. For that, I give them credit. Besides, the song is still great.
See, we have a relatively dumb song from a reportedly dumb Andrew "Dice" Clay movie, but the video smokes. Even though this was technically a '90s video, it's definitely got an '80s hangover feel to it. Besides, it's a cool kind of story; Mr. Button-down get's his world invaded by the weird, sexy neighbor, who just happens to be an apartment trasher. Echoes of 9 1/2 Weeks are present with the light-casting-shadows-through-Levolor-blinds effect.

Those nutty Australians; they mix just enough corny humor to make a memorable video.

OK, so I realize that this was one of my lazier blog posts, but for one reason or another, these videos kinda resonate with me. Enjoy!


NOTE: Links have been updated, and are current as of May 7, 2008.

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