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.
I still try my best to remain loyal to a number of bands and musicians that continue to put out new music. I certainly don’t get as excited about what’s new, but for 2015, I would like to try my best to keep up and attempt to listen to at least four new records each month and avoid needing to binge at the end of the year. With that said, I would love for you to comment with what you’ve been listening to each month to celebrate the other art form we probably love almost as much as film! Here are the four new albums I’ve heard this past month, besides my own of course (shameless plug) which you can download for free!
The big list of awesome movies from the third row’s 2014 experience is just around the corner – we’re just waiting for some last minute screenings to show up in the next week or so. In the meantime, we’ve had some time to sift through all the tunage from 2014 and along with other movie-blogging friends have put together this nice list of great sounds of 2014. There are 1000 movies released each year, but there are tens of thousands of albums. So by no means did any of us get to them all, but here’s a sampling of all our favorite listens over the last 365 days.
Leaving out Yankovic’s polka medleys and any albums post “Running with Scissors” (I stopped relating to most of his songs/parodies after this point), here are my top five favorite “Weird” Al Yankovic parodies and originals (yes plebeians, Al writes some of his own stuff). Al is one of the very few musical artists of whom I pay real attention to the lyrics. These parodies I enjoy mostly for the cleverness/funniness of the lyrics and the originals I like partly because of the cleverness of the lyrics but also the pretty decent song writing as well.
5) One of those Days – Just a bunch of ridiculously terrible things that happen to a guy having “one of those days.” Played in kind of a rock n’ roll, swingy blues style.
“The bank called me up and told me I’m overdrawn;
Some freaks are burnin’ crosses out on my front lawn.
And I can’t believe it all the Cheeto’s are gone!
It’s just one of those days.”
4) You Don’t Love Me Anymore – A super slow, Jim Croce-esque song about a guy can’t take a hint when his girlfriend does a lot of creepy/slutty/ridiculous things including trying to murder him several times in outlandish fashion.
“I think it’s kinda cute the way…
you poison my coffee just a little each day.
I still remember the way that you laughed…
when you pushed me down the elevator shaft.
Oh if you don’t mind me askin’ what’s this poisonous cobra…
doin’ in my underwear drawer?
I gotta funny feeling, you don’t love me anymore.”
3) Buy Me a Condo – I think it’s his only reggae song. What would happen if Bob Marley gave up being a Rastafarian and moved to Manhattan to be a yuppie.
“Gonna cut off me dreadlocks;
Trow away all me ganja.
I’ll have a Tupperware party;
Maybe join me a health spa.
I’ll get a bowl of plastic fruit and a microwave oven too.
And I’ll have the neighbors over… for a weenie barbecue.”
2) This is the Life – Another awesome song mostly for its genre; ragtime (with insertions of hip-hop and metal). It’s also the song during the opening credits to one of my favorite movies from 1984, Johnny Dangerously. Just about a guy who is financially rich. Very rich.
“I buy a dozen cars when I’m in the mood;
I hire somebody to chew my food;
I’m an upperly mobile dude. This is the life…
One thing I can guarantee,
the best things in life they sure ain’t free;
such a thrill just to be me. This is the life.”
1) Dare to Be Stupid – Didn’t always get all of the lyrics to this as a kid but now I get it. It’s got a Devo-inspired musical sound (which is pretty unique) and the lyrics are just a series of living life in the opposite manner of what many popular cliches tell us. It also appears in Transformers: The Movie. Plus it’s the true nature of Al in that is plain and simply… weird.
“Burn your candle at both ends, look a gift horse in the mouth.
Mashed potatoes can be your friends…
Dare to Be Stupid.”
Honorable mentions: Twister, One More Minute, Cable TV
5) I Want a New Duck – Parody of Huey Lewis’ “I Want a New Drug”
“I want a new duck. Not a swan or a goose.
Just a drake I can dress real cute, think I’m gonna name him Bruce.
I want a new duck. Not a quail or an owl.
One that won’t mope too much, one that won’t smell too ‘foul’…
One that won’t raid the ice box; one that’ll stay in shape; one that’s never gonna try to migrate or escape…
or I’ll tie him up with ‘duck’ tape.”
4) (This Song’s Just) Six Words Long – Parody of George Harrison’s “I Got My Mind Set on You”
“Oh you gotta have music; you need really catchy music.
This song has got plenty of music; but just six words child.
And so I’ll sing ’em over. And over and over and over. And over and over and over. Mm-mm. And over and over and over and over and over and over again.”
3) Amish Paradise – Parody of Coolio’s “Gangster’s Paradise” – Also one of the only (maybe the only) songs, that the original artist didn’t approve of or like after it was done.
“We been spendin’ most our lives livin’ in an Amish paradise.
I churn butter once or twice livin’ in an Amish paradise.
It’s hard work and sacrifice livin’ in an Amish paradise.
We sell quilts at discount price livin’ in an Amish paradise.”
2) I Think I’m a Clone Now – Parody of Tiffany’s “I Think We’re Alone Now”
“Look at the way… we go out walking close together.
I guess you could say… I’m really beside myself.
I still remember how it began (gan-gan-gan),
They produced a carbon copy man (man-man-man),
Born in a science lab late one night,
Without a mother or a father, just a test tube and a womb with a view.”
1) Pretty Fly for a Rabbi – Parody of The Offspring’s “Pretty Fly for a White Guy”
“When he’s doing a Bar Mitzvah, now that you shouldn’t miss
He’ll always shlep on down for a wedding or a briss
They say he’s got a lot of chutzpah, he’s really quite hhhhhip
The parents pay the moyl and he gets to keep the tip”
Honorable mentions: Here’s Johnny, Taco Grande, Theme from Rocky XIII, I Can’t Watch This
Got something to say about music that doesn’t fit into any of the other categories in our music section? By all means mention it here!
Is there some sort of specific category we’ve left out that should be here? Shoot your idea into the comment section below and we’ll see about getting it started for yous.
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There isn’t much room for this type of music these days. The world moves too darn fast. Who has time for 25-minute acid odysseys or singing about your woman leaving you?