Taking Music Literally

TV stations hardly show music videos anymore, which is a pity, really. I always liked the art form, especially when the videos tell a story or have some sort of coherent narrative.

But you can’t help but notice that a lot of times, the narrative doesn’t have anything to do with the actual song. What does Stone Temple Pilots’ “Sour Girl” have to do with terrifying teletubby-like demons? What does “Safety Dance” have to do with… uh, anything in its awesomely wacky ren fest video? It’s just confusing.

Luckily for you folks, there is a cure: the literal music video. (Warning: these do have some relatively mild profanity. If you don’t like that, please do not watch them. Thanks!)

My favorite is Total Eclipse of the Heart. I’ve seen this video before, and it’s full of wonderful 80s cheese, but I never noticed how very little sense it actually makes. “Staring at the swim team gets you killed by a gang” is a pretty representative sample of what occurs in this video, as narrated by someone who sounds close enough to Bonnie Tyler to be pretty funny. (I may have linked this before; if so, sorry!)

Then there’s another 1980s classic, Take On Me, an iconic and pioneering music video that… doesn’t have a whole lot to do with the song, but it’s cool.

The video for the Barenaked Ladies’ fast-talking hit One Week also didn’t make sense, especially when combined with the lyrics of the actual song.

But if you want to go really far back, really really far back? They didn’t make sense then either.

There are quite a few of these out there; some are definitely better than others.

1 Response

  1. I was reminded recently of one of my favorite 80’s video was “Mexican Radio” by Wall of Voodoo. My favorite scene was when the woman had a big pot of beans and the head comes through singing towards the end. Does it get any better than that?!

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