I have digital cable, and the cliche is true: I do have many many more channels of crap to choose from. In my boredom one night, I settled on the VH1 Classic channel, which shows nothing but old videos. I don’t know who thought of this, but considering I stopped there and watched, I guess their efforts were rewarded.
My issue is not with the stupid channel or with my utter lack of television pride, but with music videos themselves. I have a small chicken wing of an issue first, then we will get to the big beefy problem.
The small issue is just camera work. A challenge issued to me once was ‘watch a video and try to count to 5 before the camera angle moves or the scene changes’. I tried and it is nearly impossible to do that. Camera angles and scenes change so quickly nowadays. “Wild Wild Life” by The Talking Heads came on and you could spent an eternity on one shot and you didn’t mind at all. Granted, I could sit and watch David Byrne for hours, not because I think he is hot, but I am so fascinated by him. But I digress.
Let’s talk about my big beefy issue here. Let’s talk about the video storyline issue. Who thought up “Raucous musicians and their entourage will inexplicably invade an uppercrust get together. Party goers will be initially chagrined, but eventually all but the actual organizer will be won over by the tomfoolery of the moment”? It’s not the absurdity of the story line that bothers me (I do find it absurd, but most people find most video storylines to be absurd), it’s the fact that this damned premise has been around forever and no one sees fit to kill it.
1984: Hanoi Rocks releases “Up Around the Bend” (why? I don’t know). They make a video where they invade a black tie party at some mansion. The lead singer (are these the guys from Poison??) astonishes everybody by landing on the stage from a zip line. Rocking out ensues. People are upset but by the end, the partygoers appreciate this devilish deviation from the normal string quartet. Fresh and new in 1984? Perhaps. It’s not like I did a lot of research on this.
2001: Eve, with the help of Gwen Stefani and their cadre of assumed miscreants, crash a sophisticated party in a high rise building, arriving on ATVs, presumably to highlight their rough and tumble nature. People get upset, screaming and panic ensue, but eventually the socialites begin to rock out to Eve and Gwen. All except the dour party thrower, who is on the phone the whole time trying to call the cops and end this debacle before Tiffany gets pregnant.
There is one particular shot in each of these videos that I could do without, the shot of the fat old white man in a tight tuxedo shaking his ass with abandon. Presumably, we are to assume that this kind of music or this band is so terribly universal that even the stodgiest of men is moved by its primal beats and urgent message. How many times do I have to see some old guy in a tuxedo giggling like a lobotomized turnip, dancing around with abandon? I can imagine the embarassment of his grandkids and the utter disgust they must feel (as teenagers, they only feel disgust, jealousy, and hunger) every time they see the video and you know they have to watch it each time they go to grandpa’s.