Saturday, November 24, 2007

Scattered Thoughts On 80's Music Videos

Andrew Sullivan is finishing up a week-long reader's poll to determine the best 80's music video, the worst 80's music video, and the 'best-worst' 80's music video. Here at CSD headquarters we've been thinking a lot about the subject, and over the next week or so we'll be posting a few of our favorites. Please use the comments to let me know what you think about the videos we post!

Fleetwood Mac - Gypsy Everybody knows that music videos made stars out of some photogenic artists, like Madonna, who would have struggled to survive on the strength of their music alone. But what of those radio stars, slain by the advent of the music video? Fleetwood Mac's eponymous 1975 album, and 1977's 30 million-copy mega-hit Rumors haven't left FM radio in the thirty years since their release, but those albums were built on Fleetwood Mac's three singers - Lindsay Buckingham, Stevie Nicks, and Christine McVie - sharing the lead vocals, each playing to their strengths. When MTV came onto the air, and singers suddenly had to look as good as they sounded, music videos like this one shot Stevie Nicks' into the limelight, while Buckingham and McVie faded to obscurity. There were other reasons why the band broke up, but its easy to believe that, if MTV had debuted in 1991 instead of 1981, Fleetwood Mac might have turned out a few more classic records.

New Order - True Faith After Ian Curtis committed suicide in 1980, the surviving members of Joy Division formed New Order, and took their music in a different direction. Like so many of their hit songs, it is almost impossible to imagine True Faith existing in a pre-video age. The music more than holds up on its own, but its hard to imagine it sounding like it does if it wasn't written for the screen as much as for the sound.

The Replacements - Bastards of the Young I've posted this video before; bear with me. 'Bastards of the Young' won't win any 'best music video' polls because the video's entire raison is to protest the existence of music videos. In 1984, that was a message few people were willing to hear.


Ben said...

I've always loved 'Bastards of the Young,' but I never knew it had a music video. I guess this explains why I've never seen it on MTV.

Anonymous said...

Its fun to play the "try to guess what drugs they were on when they made this video" game. Coke for the first video, pot for the second video, nicotine, caffeine, and booze for the third?

Josh said...

Stevie Nicks was a lot prettier than I gave her credit for. Also, what's the instrument that solos at the end of the song - is it an electric banjo?