February 9, 2005

Video Killed the Radio Star

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At four in the morning, when I should be reading, the television offers only three things: polish stoneware for sale, mammarian opulence of the Midwest (courtesy of Girls Gone Wild!) and music videos. Because QVC does not accept Cornell card and because I’m not a thirteen year old male with mother issues (thank God), I turn to music videos.

After indolently gaping at the boob tube (haha I said tube!) for who knows how long, I sat dumbfounded by sad, shiny faces until Motley Crue’s “If I Die Tomorrow” came along.

Devoid of its music, with words like, “There’s no one else since I found you,” the lyrics might be mistaken for a composition churned out by the same machine that spews out American Idol. The accompanying visuals however, elevate the deceptively sophomoric lyrics into a more than awesome ocular translation of not only the band’s pop resurrection but also of post-modernist funk. An ethnically dislocated girl, epitomizing post-colonial discontent, sits in the middle of a minimalist exhibit while the rest of the presumably corporate, black-wearing world walks by speedily. The post-colononial mascot gets sucked into the paintings around her, transforming the pretentious black and white abstractions into first, a Lichtenstein hallucination and then onto a series of surrealisms, recycling ubiquitous pop images of the nineties. In this one instant, the music video, at least for me, saves the song. That being said, here are a few honorable mentions (and one or two dishonorable ones) from my hours of MTV Late Night.

Damien Rice, “The Blower’s Daughter” Although a song merely featured in a soundtrack for the film Closer, the video for the song “The Blower’s Daughter” manages to visually uphold the song’s eerie blend of acoustics and strings and Rice’s vocal materialization of stalker-ish lyrics. Despite the video’s obligation to include scenes from the movie and its unimagined usage of stock images of a sepia-toned world with an empty field animated only by a clich