Ah, yes, the MTV Video Music Awards – scandelizing the public since 1984. Can you believe it’s been 29 years? Can’t wait to see what they cook up for next years’ 30th birthday.
Anyway, back to the reason for the award show in the first place – the videos!
It’s kind of sad that with all the reality shows and other filler material, MTV doesn’t show as many videos as it used to. Growing up in the 80s, MTV was big. HUGE. Unfortunately, we didn’t have cable TV at home (“We don’t want that garbage in our house!”), so every chance I got, I watched at friends’ and family’s houses.
The thing I like best about the videos from the 80s was the experimentation with form and style. Here’s a small taste of some of the more visually interesting music videos.
First up, the Norwegian group A-ha, and their song, “Take On Me.” It cuts back and forth between live action and a sketch animation method called rotoscoping. This won several awards in 1986 and is one of my favorites.
Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer” used stop-motion photography, including claymation and pixilation, to create a pretty mesmerizing video. It won a slew of VMS’s in 1987. Check it out:
I’m not fond of music videos that just show the singer or band performing on a stage. How boring is that? This is a chance for artists to complete their vision or simply play around and have fun.
In keeping with that, I present the Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This).” It’s obvious that in switching from mild S&M dress-up in the boardroom to formal chamber music in a cow field (with cows) , Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart had a blast with this video that won a VMA in 1984.
Finally, there’s the music video that tells a story. Love this kind. The clearest example of this is “Michael Jackson’s Thriller”, from 1984. With a running time of 13+ minutes and co-written, co-produced and directed by John Landis, it’s basically a mini film. I haven’t seen the whole thing in years and when I did for this post, I got sucked into it all over again. Enjoy.
What music videos made the biggest impression on you and why?