Friday, November 25, 2016

Election 2016 Video Mix: Bruce Springsteen - Born in the U.S.A.

Bruce Springsteen was a hit machine in the 80's. One of his most famous songs addressed the mistreatment that Vietnam Vets received when they returned home. Springsteen's target of the Vietnam War and its effect on America, struck a chord with the public, as it hit #9 on the Billboard Hot 100, #8 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks, and #5 on the UK Charts in 1984.

For a music video about Vietnam Vets, America's treatment of them, and the Vietnam War - we as an audience are given very little substance. Save for a couple moments near the tail end of the video, the music video is mostly a concert clip with unrelated videos scattered throughout. I really expected a better video out of Bruce here. This song has so much substance and it should be backed up by a more powerful video.

* 1/2 Stars out of ****

Election 2016 Music Video Mix: R.E.M. - It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)

Is the world ending? Who knows? But R.E.M. managed a minor hit with their socially conscious 1987 single. The single hit #69 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #39 on the UK Singles Chart (this time in 1991). The single was also featured in the classic 90's movie Independence Day.

The music video features a boy, a dog, and a dirty abandoned house. It is extremely boring and offers no end of the world scenario. Understanding that this video was probably shot on a tight budget, couldn't the band at least use some stock footage of disasters to scare us?

1/2 Star out of ****

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Election 2016 Music Video Mix: Michael Jackson - Man In The Mirror

Michael Jackson asks each and everyone of us to look within ourselves and become better people while making a difference in the lives of others. This socially conscious song was a huge smash in 1988. It hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, #1 on the Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales, #1 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles charts, and #2 on the Adult Contemporary Charts.

This music video is a very powerful one. It does not feature Michael Jackson or some crazy special effects, but rather historical clips right out of the 20th Century. We see past and present struggles that people around the world are facing, noble and dangerous individuals who have tested our humanity, and later a degree of hope in a rather dangerous world. Everyone from Martin Luther King Jr., JFK, RFK, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan to Adolf Hitler, Muammar al-Gaddafi, the KKK - are featured in this video. The video includes the whole Earth, from the Ethiopian droughts in Africa to deep underwater in the effort to save our whales.

This video allows us all to reflect. Though it is not 1988 anymore, this world faces different problems that are in need of solutions. The United States is divided as a nation and is due for some much needed healing. There are still those starving and suffering, ISIS is a worldwide threat, economic security has become government dependency, drugs continue to infiltrate our neighborhoods, and international alliances are constantly being tested.

I think the late Michael Jackson would still agree that it's never too late to start with the man in the mirror.

*** 1/2 Stars out of ****

Election 2016 Music Video Mix: Metallica - One

The election might be over, but our music video mix is just getting started! Metallica will power home one of their most famous music videos with "One." This anti-war song is based around the concept of a soldier returning home from a war without any limbs or sight. The video received heavy rotation on MTV. The song hit #35 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #13 on the UK Singles Charts.

The music video uses clips from the movie Johnny Got His Gun (which the band actually bought the rights for) and does a pretty good job mixing the song in with these clips. The music video is a long one (at 7:44) and isn't exactly a masterful stroke throughout. The Metallica jam session is pretty uninspiring and doesn't really elevate the music video. The music video is saved by the movie clips and how well they are intertwined into the song's narrative. Though the video won't win any awards here, it certainly gets its message across.

** 1/2 Stars out of ****

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Election 2016 Music Video Mix: Duran Duran - Meet el Presidente

The 2016 Election is here and what better day to kick off the politically charged music videos. Duran Duran's 1987 single "Meet el Presidente" hit #24 UK Singles Charts, #70 on the Billboard Hot 100, and #40 on the Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales. The song is strongly rumored to be about the tough female UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, yet no one knows for sure.


The music video is a standard stage act with a couple of nation flags mixed in once and a while. Nothing to brag about. And nothing truly political! What a shame.

* 1/2 Stars out of ****

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Halloween Mania VI: Sheena Easton - Telefone (Long Distance Love Affair)

Another spooky video is brought to us by Sheena Easton! Her 1983 single "Telefone (Long Distance Love Affair) hit #9 on the Billboard Hot 100, #9 on the Hot Dance/Club Play, and #15 on the Adult Contemporary Charts. The music video is a rare one, but we have it here!

(Click below for an HD version of this rarity!)

Sheena Easton's video is one of the better videos in our long list of Halloween Mania videos. It begins with her in a castle waiting on her true prince charming. Frankenstein's monster and Dracula do their best to earn her love, but she plays hard to get. Eventually she runs out to the graveyard where she encounters the duo as well as Quasimodo, and King Kong! Shot in black & white, the video is play on the classic Universal Monsters. The actors who are playing the Frankenstein monster and Dracula are dead ringers of their classical counterparts. We even get a cameo from The Addams Family's Thing! Sheena Easton's performance is okay in this video, but beautiful as always. The production is a little on the cheaper side, but it does well with what its got.

Though the video is definitely cheesy and isn't going to win any awards, it is a nice little charm for this and any Halloween season!

*** Stars out of ****

Halloween Mania VI: Ramones - Pet Sematary

The Ramones scored one of their biggest radio hits with 1989 single "Pet Sematary" to the film of the same name. The single hit #4 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks.

The cool song is matched with an average video. The band jams around a graveyard while clips from the film are mixed throughout. It does promote the movie, though it could do more. Nothing too exciting about this production, but at least they are jamming in a cemetery while talking about one.

** Stars out of ****