We do not often post music videos around these parts, but when they are as good as Radiohead’s latest, for their single, “Burn The Witch,” well, we can make an exception. The shadow of Robin Hardy’s 1973 film is a long one, turning up in things as far apart as Edgar Wright’s Hot Fuzz and Roger Avery’s The Rules of Attraction and Julian Gilbey’s A Lonely Place To Die.
I started a weekly column where I highlight a music video that I vividly remember or just recently discovered. Last week I tackled the weirdness that is Bjork as directed by the great Spike Jonze. This time we are going way back in time to the first memory of a music video I ever had. I was 7 years old and my sister (a music freak) was staying with us briefly, staying up all night watching MTV. I was familiar with The Cars since my dad played their debut record constantly. They had just released a new album called Heartbeat City which he purchased on cassette. I can’t recall which video came out first “Magic” or the one that has stuck with me to this day featured below. “You Might Think” is one of my favorite songs of theirs, which is featured on a less than stellar outing from the band despite hit singles like “Drive.” Suffice to say, the record as a whole doesn’t hold up as strongly as their debut, but this landmark video (at least in mind) is still well worth a look. Yes it’s uber-80s in terms of content and effects, but it’s goofy and groundbreaking for its time. The reason I chose it for the simple fact that Ric Ocasek as a fly haunted my dreams just as much as Freddy Krueger did at the time. I had nightmares of being stalked by fly-Ocasek and watching it now, I can’t help but laugh at the fact that seeing that animated fly actually scared me as a kid. What memories of music videos do you recall from your childhood that made an indelible impression — good or bad? Here’s the very first for me, and I’m not ashamed to say that I still like this song despite what the video did to me as a kid. Stay tuned next week for an “I Love The 90s” edition of Music Video Saturday!
It should come as no surprise that my three favorite music video directors are Spike Jonze, Michel Gondry, and Mark Romanek. A lot of accomplished filmmakers started out making short films, collaborating with musicians back when there was one cable channel that focused solely on the music video art form. For me, music and film are the two things I love the most when it comes to expressing a vision. So I consider the music video to be the best of both worlds. My earliest memories outside of sitting through Spielberg and Zemeckis films in the theater with my dad, often involved staying up late to watch 120 Minutes, Alternative Nation, Headbanger’s Ball, and any MTV program dedicated to binging on videos. So I decided to explore this further by presenting a weekly find, either one I’ve never seen before, or a blast from the past that I think deserves another look. You will definitely find selections from the three names mentioned above including a list of my all-time favorite videos mid-year. For now, let’s talk about the brilliance of Spike Jonze as an inventive visual stylist whom I first adored when his breakthrough Weezer video won accolades back in the mid-90s. I know he still actively makes short films, and of course I consider HER to be one of the best films of the decade so far. I used to be a huge Bjork fan but as of late I haven’t been as crazy about her output, particularly the songs on this record. But I will admit to finding “Triumph Of The Heart” to be an interesting song to say the least, featuring beatbox vocal contributions from Mike Patton of Faith No More. And besides music and movies, I also love cats. Finding this Spike Jonze gem was a welcome start to my weekend, and hope that you feel the same. I wouldn’t necessarily put it up there as one of Jonze’s best, but it’s certainly worth a look for its sheer weirdness.
Of course we’re all about the movies around here. But we also have day jobs (some of us). And we also have to get to the theater in a car or bus with stereo/iPod jamming; which means the amount of actual minutes consuming music vastly outweighs our movie watching. So throughout the year we take note of what sounds get us from place to place, help us get through the daily grind and just generally enhance our well-being. In the past year, this is the aural landscape that we traveled through most frequently and at our happiest. Welcome to the RowThree Musical “Best Of” lists for 2013.
It’s not strictly the silver cinema for the RowThree staff. We do have some other interests as well. And since it’s that time of year, nothing easier than throwing together a quick top ten of quite possibly our second favorite art form around here: tunage. Adele might be artist of the year, but apparently the third row doesn’t see this. It seems Jack White might hold that prestigious honor with five mentions out of seven in the lists below; including two number one slots.
Outside of Mr. White, there are a couple of duplicate mentions below but for the most part it’s clear music distribution continues to outwit even some of the most die hard of music buffs as it’s virtually impossible to follow every single artist and new release out there. From local bar bands to stadium mega-rockers, it’s easy to find anything in any of the cracks the internet has to offer.
Here are the lists from some of the staff at RowThree. How about you? What have you got for us to listen to in 2013?
We’ve tried every way we can think of for a place in which people can talk about TV shows, music and even books or sports within the confines of RowThree. We had a separate blog with guest writers for a time. It died a slow and horrible death. Then we tried a little chat bar at the bottom of the page and everyone seemed confused and no one was ever on at the same time. Within about a week we realized that wasn’t working at all and had to remove it. So then we just went with something as simple as an occasional post on a random topic that we felt was warranted. This is fine but we still found that random post comment sections were still getting “hijacked” with comments on the Olympics or comic books or concert venues. Hey, we love the enthusiasm, but we want someplace for you guys to be able to do this that doesn’t require you to guess where to post your thoughts or just pick a random spot to do so.
Why don’t you just implement a forum?, you might ask. Well long story short, we just don’t want to.
But we think (and hope) that we have finally found the solution to our MorePop struggle. We’re introducing “Outside the Realm.” These are posts having to do with Music and Television that are fairly specific. You can browse a list of posts until you find the topic you want to talk about and leave your thoughts in the comment section and hopefully get a conversation started. Outside of the realm can be found by clicking either of the two links at the very top of your screen marked “Music” and “Television.” Once there, this will make a lot more sense.
Much like the Peak Oil analogy, the concept where all the easy oil-wells (cue The Beverly Hillbillies theme, or wailing Middle Eastern aria) have been tapped and exploited and now we either have to drill way off into the ocean, or remove copious amounts of sulphur to get good, usable hydrocarbons or by brute processing force, extract it from the sticky tar sands. Thus several treatments of Superman, Batman, Spiderman, and the popular mutants of the X-Men have yielded their massive cash bounties, nowhere more greater than the summer of 2012 where The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises reaping box-office windfall (albeit at very high production and marketing costs).
The origin story has been done to death (albeit, The Amazing Spiderman trotted it out once again.) And with it (hopefully) passing, it invites more complex things like the tableaux of societal anxiety in the Nolan Batmans, flirtations with classical tragedy in Ang Lee’s Hulk, period-pieces like Fist Class and Captain America, the universe-slash-continuity building with Marvel Studios across many different characters or even the risky The Last Temptation Christ experiment in Superman Returns.
My question to you is this, with smaller comic book properties such as Ant Man in production, but really, just a slew of sequels and spin offs (Ironman, Thor, Wolverine, Robin) or team ups (Avengers 2, Justice League, Guardians Of The Galaxy) or the eventual reboot of Batman, do you think we’ve hit the peak of Box-Office, at this point, and that the slide (slow or fast) down the curve (with ever increasing budgets to make these things) will convince the major Hollywood Studios to start looking for another trend to get on board with for their big summer tentpoles? Or do you think that things are here to stay, and a more experimental, extracting black gold from the tar sands approach will yield the continuation of a golden age of Comic Book Superhero Films?
A primer of both the optimistic and not so optimistic views from last year, The Great Comic Book Movie Debate:
“Beware the court of owls, that watches all the time,
Ruling Gotham from a shadow perch, behind granite and lime.
They watch you at your hearth, they watch you in your bed,
Speak not a whispered word of them or they’ll send the talon for your head.”
When I initially wrote my first impressions of DC’s New 52 for this column, there was only one issue per series out. Now we’re up to issue 11, just about all the books have finished at least one arc, I’ve dropped some from my reading list, and added others. After issue 1, I had Scott Snyder’s Batman series as my fourth favorite out of what I’d read. With more issues and time, it’s become pretty clear that the Court of Owls/Night of the Owls Batman arc is easily my favorite thing in the entire New 52. Re-reading the whole thing yesterday in preparation for this post only confirmed that. It’s really well-structured, with strong continuity and works incredibly well both in individual issues and the arc as a whole.
The New 52 relaunch included four Batman-centric books, plus a myriad of other Bat-family books. At first, you wonder why there’s a need for Batman AND Detective Comics AND Batman: The Dark Knight, not to mention Batman & Robin. Checking them all out, though, they each have a slightly different approach to the Batman mythos. Batman is dark and fairly realistic in tone, the clear parallel to Nolan’s Batman movies. Detective Comics takes a much more old-school comic approach, with colorful and larger-than-life villains, more along the lines of the video games Arkham Asylum and Arkham City. I’m not quite as familiar with Batman: The Dark Knight, but it seems to hit somewhere in between, with its first arc concerned with a Bane-derived fear toxin. Meanwhile, Batman & Robin is almost a family drama, focusing on the relationship between Bruce Wayne and his son Damian, the current Robin. I’ve enjoyed all these books to varying degrees, but Snyder’s flagship Batman is head and shoulders above the others.