Monday, September 22, 2008

I Want My MTV

Let's face it, we can't imagine not having MTV nowadays.

But in the late '80s, the only source of music videos at that time (pre-MTV and Channel V in the Philippines) was the local channel RPN 9 with its one hour chock-full of music videos during those lazy Saturday afternoons. I would actually make it a point to stay in and watch the show. Fortunately, despite later warnings of turning into an ADD kid, I didn't.

One thing I did realize in the aftermath of my youth-- and pre-fast download speeds on the Internet-- is the fact that there some music videos that become your favorite despite the song and artist. I also wondered if people would eventually start collecting music videos the way kids would to collect playing cards or shoes.

Thanks to Youtube, my realization has come to the fore and we can now enjoy the aforementioned music videos. Thus, here's a handful of music videos that stuck to me all these years:

Cranberries' Promises

The first time I saw this video by this Irish band, I was essentially wow-ed by the song's hard-hitting tune and lyrics. But I also couldn't tear my attention away from the weird, ghostly storyline embedded in the music video. I suppose my later fascination of the Wild Weird West stories of Stephen King's The Gunslinger and Mark Sumner's dark magical West of sorcerers and shamans stem from this music video.

Garbage's Push It

What's not to like Garbage? However, this first song of Garbage from their sophomore album really blew down windmills in my mind, stomped them into the ground and told me sweetly, "Bite me". This was also the first time I saw the particular effects used in the music video, commonly used now in a number of horror movies. Some scary imagery there, plus Shirley Manson. You can never have enough of Shirley Manson.

The Cardigans' My Favorite Game

I'm sure most people know the reputation of this particular music video with its hyper-kinetic violent storyline. I admit I only knew about the safe edition until someone told me about the extended length of the video that had Nina Persson swerving all over the highway and overturning her car. Despite the fact that The Cardigans' was never a favorite band of mine (that is, not favored but not hated either), this is the quintessential driving song for me.

Madonna's Frozen

Whatever you think of Madonna, it doesn't matter in the face of this song and video with its surreal, haunting quality and fascinating special effects. And the dobermans look creepy, looking at you like they know what you're thinking. They're probably the same dobermans in The Exorcist.

So, if you had the option of collecting music videos (regardless of singer or song), what are your favorites?

Edited to add:
Sean reminded me of this great video by Fatboy Slim. Unfortunately I can't seem to get an embed so you'll just have to settle for a link.

Cats rule!


sharmaine said...

Most memorable is Meatloaf's I would do anything for love (but I won't do that). It kept showing on MTV the first time our house got connected with cable.

Pre-MTV, i.e. Video Hit Parade, was A-ha's Take On Me.

Pearl Jam's Jeremy was my first experience with an MTV Best Music Video.

dodo dayao said...

I'd pick Madonna's Frozen, too. That's what turned me on to Chris Cunningham's work. Much as I do like the album ,the song just lies there on record. It's much more vibrant and evocative as a video.

How about that ultracheesy (yet compulsively watchable) Macarena video? Those fat, old farts dancing around with those women? It's the surreal pinnacle of bad taste and I think it's like crack in that it's bad for you but you can't not watch it and get high. You can shoot me now. :)

Don said...

Only You- Portishead.

Hey, I think Madonna's Ray of Light is her best album yet. And that Chris Cunnigham video was eerily wicked!

And oh yeah, we have no cable kaya I can live without MTV!

JP said...

Three little pigs by Green Jello!

banzai cat said...

Here's a GWAC service: check out the videos mentioned!

Sharms: Hehe looks everyone's little dirty secrets are coming out. Anyone for Celine Dion's really long music videos also? (Thanks for the show title reminder, btw. Now that's a blast from the past.)

Yeah, I also liked the Jeremy video though as narratives go in the song, it's pretty straightforward. (Did you get to see the cut or uncut version?)

dodo: Chris Cunningham, eh? So that's the guy's work. And gotta agree with you: the effect of the song really relies on the video (which is kinda ironic-- unless it's the point).

And re: Macarena- dirty little secrets. ;-)

Er, is it this one?

don: Hmmm, not sure if I've heard that particular song or seen the video. Though given it's Portishead, shouldn't be surprising.

Have you seen Chicane's "No Ordinary Morning" video? That was also weird in a European sense. But then again, that's also normal in a European sense. ;-)

(And now that I think of it, it does remind me of the Cardigans video.)

jp: Hahaha I remember that one! And the the YOUR ASS IS MINE! line is priceless!

Don said...

here's more:
Tori Amos- Spark
Tori Amos- A Sorta Fairytale (this one's a winner!)

and Bjork's entire videography, particularly the Chris Cunningham helmed 'All Is Full of Love'

Don said...


oh yeah, i've seen that video. i really liked the song too. kinda reminds me of summer nights.


dodo dayao said...

That's the one, man. God, cheesy and how relentlessly entertaining! :)

Cunningham's a must. His video of Aphex Twin's Come To Daddy is a nasty piece of Ballardian freakout.

My own stack of favorites would probably look something like this, though I doubt if any of these cropped up regularly on MTV - - -

Choice of Weapon - Fatboy Slim
Just - Radiohead
Sabotage - Beastie Boys
Six Days - DJ Shadow
Sugar Water - Cibo Matto
Sentimental Journey - Yuki
Burning Down the House - Talking Heads
Maps- Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Hungry Like the Wolf - Duran Duran
Vidrar Vel Til Loftarasa- Sigur Ros
Astro- Radiocative Sago Project
Subterenean Homesick Blues- Bob Dylan

JP said...

Oh! The Tool videos. All of them - stunning stuff especially Prison Sex and Schism.

Sean said...

I am a significant fan of animation in music videos, the pinnacle of which would probably be Pearl Jam's Evolution. Linkin Park's Points of Authority and A-ha's Take On Me are also worth mentioning, and Daft Punk's entire Discovery album is one of the few music-related items on my to-watch list.

Anything that uses special effects in a fairly subtle manner will also get my attention -- Jamiroquai's Virtual Insanity and Aerosmith's Pink are two of my favorites there. Fatboy Slim videos are always interesting to watch -- I'll offer Right Here, Right Now for your list.

Beyond those, I tend to like anything with a setting and a story of some kind. Michael Jackson's Smooth Criminal is the only thing I can think of at the moment, though.

banzai cat said...

don: Well, I've never really latched on to Tori Amos' videos the way I do to her songs. Maybe because they were never showing while I was watching?

(and how come the guy here looks familiar?)

Her videos do look surreal enough-- though not compared to Bjork'!!! (Too many videos to cite! Especially the big bear! Arrgh!)

dodo: That Aphex looks freaky though I don't have audio running in my office PC so don't know how it all sounds.

As to your choices, two thumbs up for anything by Radiohead (especially High and Dry, the exploding bomb version), Sabotage by Beastie Boys (fan-fucking-tastic funny video), and Astro by Radiocative Sago Project. Fatboy Slim's Weapon of Choice is an instant classic but you can't go wrong with Christopher Walken.

Unfortunately, I can't seem to assay '80s video without feeling embarrassed though but I would love to watch anything by Sigur Ros.*sigh*

jp: Weird. The Schism video reminds me of modern art installations...

... but can't seem to access Prison Sex.

sean: True in that animated music videos are a class all their own. I distinctly remember being mesmerized by the Jamiroquai video. And if we're going to throw Fatboy Slim videos at each other, I'm going to go with The Joker:

Cats rule! :-D

Don said...

haynako I suggest you guys collect the Director's Label DVDs na lang. Ako I already have Anton Corbjin, Chris Cunningham and Jonatahan Glazer hah!

banzai cat said...

There really is for music videos?!? 8-O

Ryan said...

you're so 90s, joey. hehe.
i'm always disappointed in the video quality of youtube

banzai cat said...

But the '90s were OUR period, my friend. :-D

As for quality, I can't say as am always willing to settle for pirated copies anyway. ;-)