Thursday, July 31, 2008

FavoriteThingsThisWeek - The Golden Age of Music Video

For a while I trying to seperate my various bloggo musings with different blogs...know more about tags, labels, what not...I realized a while ago this wasn't necessary. So here is an oldie but goodie from a previous blog I used to post to in aneffort to catalog art/things that inspired me to want to be more creative.

OK, while trying to fill the time surfing I came across the VH1 top 100 songs of the eighties. It should have been obvious to me that all those videos I watched back in the eighties could have such an influence on me. I should have been able to realize that the art direction, the actual sound of the music, all of those elements would have been guided by artisans who had the same sort of contextual background as any one I had met in the NY or Chicago theatre scene decades later. Why did it take this accidental reexamination to bring all of that to the foreground of my conscious? Maybe, it's because I hold a significant distain for what the advertisers are pushing as pop today.

I look at the following videos and think to myself, what the fuck happened to MTV. I want my MTV used to mean something, now it's just a bunch of 14 year olds trying to cop a feel or tell knock knock jokes. Maybe, I've become the stereotypical aging spectator, but without a hint of humility I can say that the 80s were better than the Oughts(sp?) when it comes to the art of music video (end rant).


Before I knew who salvador dali, andre breton, or rene magritte was, I got my first jolt of surrealism thanks to these two. Damn that's phantasmagoria.

The Police

Noir influence, the black and white, the shadows

Creepy, Gothic

Billy Idol

You'll notice that Billy Idol has quite a presence here. Which surprised me. I am enamored of the dark, gothic quality of these videos. Either Billy had some amazing taste or he had someone making all the right decisions for him. Before I could watch horror movies (very protective mother) I was able to watch these little horror strips.

If Samuel Beckett were a pop star and made music videos. They might mov slower, but they could very well look like this.
The Isolated body parts. Even the title of the song "Eyes with out a Face" puts me mind of NOT I or PLAY or some of the shorter works. There is a visual affinity (at least for the first two and half minutes.)

Zombies, Dystopia, Revolution. Visually this is as arresting as Brazil, Metropolis, George Romero. I'm taken the most by all the different people we get to spy upon as he goes up in the elevator.

Phil Collins

OK, I cant think of this sound without thinking about Miami Vice, but if you can divorce that association from it and it is quite a frightening prospect. Those close ups of Phil are like slow motion Exorcist.


The first Metallica video or song I ever heard or saw.



Kafkaesque, David Lynchian. For me personally, this video sort of has this shelf space in my mind as the most relevant, the most jarring, and menacing video of my early MTV viewing. I remember thinking about this video. Thinking about the narrative, being compelled by the plight of the protagonist.

Talking heads

I forgot that the eighties were so cool so crisp so introspective

Peter Gabriel

Forget Sledgehammer


This guys should get there own post. But this counts as eighties music video.

The Cure

Simple Minds

Tom Petty


Scott Walters said...

There is perhaps heavy irony that, upon clicking these videos, you receive the message "We're sorry, but this video is no longer available." But I remember many of them, too, and they were indeed fascinating and creative. I have often contended that the best way to teach the various "isms" of the early part of the 20th century is through music videos. A film like "Pink Floyd's The Wall" has within it almost every style of the past century, from realism to Expressionism to Futurism to...

I think there is a lot of learn from this.

Devilvet said...

Ughhh how ironic and frustrating...I guess that is what happens when you link to youtube videos posted years ago.

I'll spend some time tonight see if i can find links to videos that work.

RVCBard said...

Funnily enough, I prefer to write scenes as music videos rather than theater pieces.