There is a cliché that says that everything old is new again. Some things coming back are great. Others? Well, those things are best left “back in time” (like that terrible Back to the Future reference).
Music from the 1980’s is one of those great things that are nice to have around today. Eighties music was some of the best, in my opinion. Those songs had feeling, had actual lyrics you could sing along with (unlike some of this autotune crap from today), and you could jam to the beat of the music. Unfortunately, though, along with that great 80’s music, that was the infancy of music videos. I was watching some videos of 80’s songs recently, and…oh my hell, those videos were god-awful! I’ll take the audio of the songs any day! Back in the 80’s, music videos were still in their beginnings. Not much for special effects, and the singers weren’t the “pretty boys” these talentless jokers today try to be (although I will say people like Post Malone are ugly as fuck, oh, and he can’t sing for shit, but we’ll save that for another day).
First cringe-worthy video I mention is “Separate Ways” by Journey. The song is good; the lyrics are decent (Someday love will find you / Break those chains that bind you / One night will remind you / How we touched and went our separate ways). But that video? All you see is these five guys singing in an alley, one playing a keyboard, Steve Perry making weird faces while singing, and a woman, walking along minding her own business. Do these guys want this woman? Are they just being stalkers? Let’s not even go into those dreadful mullets (may that stay 35 years in the past, as well).
Next horrible video: “Do You Believe in Love” by Huey Lewis & The News. In a word: horrible. Six guys in a band, looking like they’re on stage, or they’re serenading a woman in her bedroom (in the end, they’re invisible to her in her kitchen, but how can you ignore the drums and guitars in your kitchen? The worst part of that whole video: six guys laying in a bed with a sleeping woman, just kicking their feet to the beat of the song, singing Do you believe in love? Do you believe it’s true?, while five dudes sing to the camera, and Huey Lewis sings at the woman. Creepy, if you ask me…
The video for “Jack & Diane” by John Mellencamp was like absolutely pointless. All I saw was him singing to the camera in what looked like a picture frame. Then there was the occasional playback of a couple doing this or that (presumably the Jack and Diane of the song). And, what the fuck was the point of showing a clapping pair of hands throughout the music video? What purpose could that have served?
Of course, in the realm of strange videos, and not-so-great songs was “Physical” by Olivia Newton-John. Not only does the song make me want to “gag me”, but the video was “like, totally lame-o”. At first, she’s a gym instructor—looks like she wants to beat the shit out of some fat dudes to get them into shape. Then, she sees some muscle-bound guys and her eyes light up. The song proceeds “let’s get physical” while she looks like she wants to get physical in “other” ways. Ironically, the dudes give her a “dafuq?” look, and in the end, you see these hard-bodies dudes, walk off, holding hands and walking off, arms around each other (because, of course, being gay in the 80’s was a huge societal taboo), while she makes this confused, grossed-out, disapproving face. Well, then…
Okay, not all videos from the 80’s were bad. One of the more interesting ones was “Take on Me” by a-ha. You see a cartoonist working, and her drawings come alive (okay, that’s corny), pulling her into the comic strip. You see a doorway where one side is live, the other side a drawing. As the scene spins around, you see the same thing from the opposite perspective: real becomes drawing and drawing becomes real. For the 80s, it was quite fascinating. By the end of the video, the comic strip dude tries (and ultimately succeeds) in exiting the comic into real life to be with the girl. Yeah, that is quite cliché🙄.
Speaking of cliché, who could forget the ubiquitous song that inspired the “rickroll”, Never Gonna Give You Up, by Rick Astley. Don’t know what a rickroll is? Go read about it in this Wikipedia article. The song itself is known by nearly everyone; it’s tired and overused. And what’s up with that video? It’s 3½ minutes of the then-21-year-old Astley and some other random people just dancing in place. Can anyone tell me what’s so awesome about just people dancing? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller? (*crickets chirping*). Um, yeah, that’s what I thought.
So many god-awful music videos, so little space to write about them. But, no matter what any of us thinks about 80s music videos, the music itself is “like, totally awesome” and it actually is quite interesting how, even 30-plus years later, it’s still getting a lot of airplay today. Such is one standard of a true classic: it stands the test of time. And the fact that there are artists still performing, many of these singers approaching or well into their 70’s (Mick Jagger from the Rolling Stones is 75, Ozzy Osbourne is 70, Gene Simmons of Kiss turns 70 this year) is an testament to the fact that their music is still relevant and quite popular. As the VH1 shows once said, “I love the 80’s” (musically, yes😀; music videos, ummmmm, not so much😕).
When you get some free time to listen to music, go enjoy some of that classic 80s sounds (or whatever suits your fancy, they’re your ears). Join me again next week for another topic of discussion. I’m not sure what it’ll be yet, but I promise you it’ll be interesting and unique. Until then, be safe and be well.