Saturday, March 25, 2017

March Madness: The Alan Parson's Project - Don't Answer Me

The Alan Parson's Project scored a decent hit in 1984 with their single "Don't Answer Me." The single hit #15 on the Billboard Hot 100, #4 on the Adult Contemporary Charts, and #15 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks. Their music video was a comic book style affair that was nominated for "Best Experimental Video" at the 1984 MTV Music Video Awards.

How this music video lost "Best Experimental Video" at the 1984 MTV Music Video Awards is a shocker. The video has a simple storyline about a guy who saves a beautiful woman from an abusive boyfriend, but it is the presentation that fascinates. With a mixture of cel animation, stop-motion animation, and Claymation mixed into a 1930's backdrop - the viewer is treated to a very fun and cute adventure.

This music video is usually lost in the discussion of great 1980's music videos, but it is a gem nonetheless.

**** Stars out of ****

March Madness: The Rolling Stones - Undercover of the Night

The Rolling Stones hit #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #11 on the UK Singles Charts with their 1983 hit "Undercover of the Night. The music video to the song was nominated at the 1984 MTV Music Video Awards for Best Concept Video. It also was limited in exposure due to its violence. We review the video today!

The music video features a young couple watching a movie that takes place in South America. The movie stars Mick Jagger, who is kidnapped by a gang of criminals led by Keith Richards. They wear some cool masks and are involved in some nice action sequences. There is some adventure, even though the story seems rather bland. This music video might have worked better with a little dialogue and more structure. Is the video controversial? Not really by today's standards nor by 80's standards either. The action and material would have fit in your standard Miami Vice episode.

Overall, a pretty good concept video with some decent adventure that lacks the execution to make it a true classic.

*** Stars out of ****

Saturday, March 11, 2017

March Madness: ZZ Top - Eliminator Trilogy (Gimme Me All Your Lovin', Sharp Dressed Man, Legs)

ZZ Top delivered one of their most successful albums in 1983 with the release of Eliminator. The album was huge hit and was met with critical acclaim. Off the album, three music videos were made that told a story. These music videos were known as the Eliminator Trilogy. Today we take a look at each video and give them our review score.

The first song converted into a video was "Gimme Me All Your Lovin'. The song hit #37 on the Billboard Hot 100, #2 on the Top Tracks, and #10 on the UK Singles Charts in 1983. The music video was nominated for Best Direction at the 1984 MTV Music Video Awards.

The first music video in the trilogy, features the Eliminator racing down some Texas road, only to stop at a gas station. A young man working at the gas station is shocked to see three beautiful ladies come out of the car. The ladies flirt, drink Coca-Cola, and give him a ride in the Eliminator! ZZ Top appears as spiritual guides throughout the video. The video has some nice sex appeal and humor to go with it. It isn't anything ground breaking in terms of quality, but it does seem to set the stage nicely for the next video in line.

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

The second song to be honored in the Eliminator Trilogy is "Sharped Dressed Man." This single hit #56 on the Billboard Hot 100, #8 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks, and #22 on the UK Singles Charts. The music video won Best Direction at the 1984 MTV Music Video Awards and was also nominated for Best Group Video and Best Editing in a Video.

The second music video in the Eliminator Trilogy has to be up there for "ultimate male fantasy in a music video." The music video is fast paced and intense, just like the song. A young man struggling to prepare for his job opening car doors for celebrities, has his luck changed when the Eliminator comes by. Out of the car come three beautiful women. Instantly, overnight he is getting the love and adoration of three women and any other woman that comes his way. His social status instantly transforms as does the clothes he wears. Throughout the music video, ZZ Top appears as spiritual guides to encourage the young man. They also appear as a band in one of the clubs. Very cool, playboy type video.

**** Stars out of ****

The final song to be honored in the Eliminator Trilogy is "Legs." This single hit #8 on the Billboard Hot 100, #11 on the Cash Box chart, #13 on the Hot Dance Club Play chart, and #16 on the UK Singles Charts. The music video won Best Group Video at the 1984 MTV Music Video Awards and was also nominated for Best Editing in a Video.

This time instead of the "ultimate male fantasy" approach, it features a nerdy girl who is picked on and humiliated by the town locals. Of course, the Eliminator comes by with three beautiful ladies to the rescue. They transform the nerdy girl into a smoke show and she gets her revenge on the locals. Again ZZ Top appear as spiritual guides. This video went for more humor and with the female empowerment through sex appeal approach. A pretty good video for the most part, but not as entertaining as "Sharped Dressed Man."

*** Stars out of ****

Saturday, February 25, 2017

February Love Songs: Survivor - The Search Is Over

Survivor scored a 1985 hit with the reflective love song "The Search Is Over." The song peaked at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the Adult Contemporary Charts.

Charismatic front man Jimi Jamison carries the music video as a man reflecting on his true love. He wanders the streets, pool halls, and memories thinking about how in the past he didn't really need her - but coming to the ultimate conclusion that he couldn't live without her. The bluish tint, the shadows, the noir attitude - really enhance the video as it creates the feeling of loneliness. While some of the scenes with the other Survivor band mates feel out of sync with the narrative, the ending packs a nice closure as the song ends.

***Stars out of ****

February Love Songs: Honeydrippers - Sea of Love

The Honeydrippers, led by Robert Plant, landed a major hit in 1984 with the remake of the Phil Phillip soul staple "Sea of Love." This reinterpretation of the classic love song hit #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the Adult Contemporary Charts.

The music video follows a couple who meet at "The Sea of Love" and their exploits there after. I am assuming the Sea of Love in the music video is the Mediterranean Sea, but I could be wrong. I have no location of where the music video was filmed - though it has been suggested it was in Ibiza, Spain. Besides watching the couple frolic around, the video features Robert Plant in a fixed pose throughout the whole video next to some guy in a speedo. Not the most memorable 80's music video.

** Stars out of ****

Saturday, February 18, 2017

February Love Songs: Van Halen - When It's Love

Van Halen delivered a lovely power ballad with their timeless hit "When It's Love." This 1988 single hit #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the Mainstream Rock Charts.

Sammy Hagar and the boys belt out a great rendition of "When It's Love" as they play at a nearly empty bar. The video is well shot and you can tell that Sammy has great hair. The problem with this video and many others like it is that it doesn't deliver on the "love" aspect of their song. For a video five and half minutes long the best we get are quick shots of a couple dancing and then another of a couple kissing. Kind of a disappointment. This song deserved a better video!

*1/2 Stars out of ****

February Love Songs: Chicago - Will You Still Love Me?

We continue this month with some more beautiful love songs and the videos that accompany them. Chicago hit #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #2 on the Adult Contemporary Charts in 1986. It was their first major hit following the departure of legendary singer Peter Cetera.

The music video is a bit of let down. It features the band on a soundstage performing the song with intermittent sequences of beautiful models looking good. The models do their part while the director adds flashes of weird bluish visuals to keep the video from being a bore. The biggest gripe is that the music video features no hint of love or romance. The song is wasted on video which emphasis more on models (who look bored) and weird bluish visuals, then on romance.

*1/2 Stars out of ****