Monday, March 4, 2013

I Wonder What My Favorite Music Video Is?

I certainly do not want my MTV. From what I can tell there are no current music videos to be found on the once-glorious and formerly addictive channel. But I’ve kicked my habit. Now it’s all fish and underage parents and ridiculousness. (Seriously. That last one’s a show title. Check out the schedule.) You can have it [haughty sniff from the old fogey in the room].

Back in the last millennium, the “M” still stood for “music” and I was a devoted fan. I was also a devoted fan of FM radio, so there wasn’t much in my teenage life that was better than watching the world premieres of videos for songs to which I was just starting to swoon when I heard them in the car or my room. And there wasn’t much in my college life that was better than zombie-ing out to “mtv after hours” when I needed a break from my all-nighter work on a paper.

There are two important points I need to make before I start gushing. First, I’m not going to even touch on any of Madonna’s videos b/c Her Madgesty’s oeuvre has, I’m sure, been the focus of many a graduate thesis in women’s studies, dance history, human sexuality, religion, iconography, cinematography, and musicology (but maybe not vibeology). And it’s not fair to the other videos if I include any of hers in this list b/c that’s its own Wonder: which is my favorite Madonna video? Second, I’m not trying to say these videos are the best videos. I’ll let everyone who has a Moonman keep it without argument. They’re just videos that transfixed me at the time and stay with me now ... ones I can replay in my head almost frame for frame. I saved my very favorite for last, but the other three are in chronological order.

a-ha’s “Take On Me”: How charming was it?!? It was a hand-drawn, life-sized comic-book romance in both black & white and color, complete with evil motorcycle dudes who had sidecars! And a hunky Norwegian guy with a pompadour and lovely cheekbones singing through the comic-strip panel to his new lady love. He’s a drawing! Now he’s real! Nope, he’s a drawing again! Look out, that crabby waitress is crumpling everybody up because lady love in the rad high-tops-and-skirt combo seemly ditched out on her coffee tab! And the climax where pompadour has to slam himself against the wall over and over to become real while lady love can only watch in anguish … what will happen? Hooray! He makes it! He’s human! Let’s watch it again!

Billy Idol’s “Cradle of Love”: How naughty was it?!? I would watch MTV for hours with my sister and/or my BFF J in the hopes of catching it again. It was just so relatable … who among us hasn’t asked to play some music in the apartment of an older, uptight yuppie stranger only to be so overwhelmed by the song that we had no other choice but to kick off our shoes (I know I’ve lost many a black pump in a neighbor’s goldfish bowl), steal his wine, strip, writhe all over his perfectly made bed, and then crawl across the apartment like a bad kitty to give said stranger a thank-you kiss goodbye before our British punk boyfriend came to collect us? All the while, Billy-as-Pop-Art snarled happily in the background. I was definitely probably not supposed to be watching it and I love it to this day.

Radiohead’s “Karma Police”: How mesmerizing was it?!? I have never been a big enough fan of Radiohead to buy any of their music but I’ve loved people who loved them and patiently allowed those people to spell out the multitudinous reasons OK Computer is the single best album of all time. I can’t recount any of those reasons because (shh, don’t tell!) I wasn’t so much listening as nodding with a half-smile on my face while thinking about something else. Anyway, Radiohead make some good videos and this one is the most disturbing. And genius, in my opinion. What other band has the cojones to put you in the driver’s seat for a slow-speed chase that continues in one take for over three minutes and only ends when you go up in flames as the person you were trying to mow down gets the last laugh?

Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game”: How perfect was it?!? The black sand, the lonely waves, the off-kilter camera angles, the melancholy, the curled lip, the ice-blue eyes, the breeze, the chipped nail polish, the sexy indifference. I don't even need to continue to describe it because you're about to be playing it in your head on a loop for the rest of the day now. (You're quite welcome!) It’s my favorite video of all time.

MTV is dead. Long live MTV. Sigh.

Yes, I know there are other ways to get a video fix. Yes, I did seek out Lady Gaga’s canon online and her videos definitely helped me see what all the fuss was about. Yes, I realize that the world of music videos didn’t come to an end when I stopped paying for cable even though part of that decision stemmed from not needing MTV anymore since it wasn’t hooking me up like it used to. But there’s nothing like having all those yummy images sent right to you one after another without your having to type anything into a search bar.

So what’s your favorite video? And why didn’t I have any female artists on my top four?

1 comment:

G Love said...

My brother in law makes me watch Ridiculous, or whatever that is.