Sunday, July 3, 2011

More Music Video Reviews

Given the fact that I spent my entire high school career procrastinating by watching music videos, it's weird how boring I find most of them now that I have the internet to procrastinate with. This is especially tragic when it's my current favorite band's videos that I'm being bored by. of Montreal has made a couple of really awesome videos - "Heimdelsgate Like a Promethean Curse" is fascinating, and I actually once spent an entire evening repeatedly playing "Wraith Pinned to the Mist and Other Games" and sobbing - but most of their videos I watch only one time, can barely focus at all, and then never care to see again. So with their most recent video - "L'Age D'or". Just boring.

I don't know what it was about the music videos of my adolescence that made at least some of them far more interesting to me - but I guess I have some idea of what I like about certain videos. For example, I definitely know that I approve of videos with charismatic performers, just as I approve of live performances with charismatic performers. I know Kevin Barnes tries really hard to make an aesthetically interesting performance, but I'm not sure he really has that raw charisma. It's definitely something that's different from musical quality. But, whatever it is, it can really make a video. Let me list some examples:

-Save Ferris: "Come On Eileen" - I am far more likely to find male performers charismatic than female ones, but I think Monique Powell is really appealing in this video - I fell in love with their cover when I was a teenager just because she was so attractive in the video. It's hard to sum up what it is that makes her performance work so well for me, but I think her facial expression is a key part of it. She looks simultaneously so happy and kind of knowing. It's an intriguing combination that makes her much more interesting to watch than most singers. I'm able to stay focused and keep paying attention to the video because I want to see more of her expressions.

-Red Hot Chili Peppers: "Under the Bridge" - I don't even particularly like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, on the whole - occasionally I get curious about some of their other songs because I like the video for "Under the Bridge" so much, but none of them has ever worked for me the way this one does. But the reason for that is very clear in this case - in this video, Anthony Kiedis is an attractive man with long, straight hair and no shirt (well, at least for large portions of the video he has no shirt) who occasionally makes rather facetious-looking gestures. He spends the second half of the video running with no shirt on and his long, straight hair blowing in the wind (imagery that is so appealing to me that my best friend has actually recommended a movie to me purely on the basis of its including a scene with similar imagery). I really need say no more.

-David Bowie - "New Killer Star (live)" - Now, of course, as you may have noticed, I do in fact particularly like David Bowie. What's more, more or less everyone I know finds Bowie to be a particularly charismatic and attractive performer. It's therefore slightly embarrassing to me that I never find the younger Bowie particularly attractive, unlike everyone else and despite the way that I love his music. Somehow, though, I get over this problem with the older Bowie. Maybe it's because this 2003 Reality Tour was the only time I ever saw Bowie live myself. I usually really don't enjoy the kinds of concerts where you have to sit all that much (I feel like the point of live music is to get really into the music and dance around to it), but Bowie's concert was an exception. Just because he was that good a performer, that he was still inspiring even when he was tiny.

-Pulp - "His N Hers (live)" - When last I wanted to post this on my blog, I couldn't find it anywhere - now there are actually two versions up on youTube! This one, though cut short, is still worth watching, because, well, it's amazing, but the one I linked to first is the full song and is possibly the paradigmatic example of what artists who want to please me should be doing. The wasp bit! The way he ends the wasp bit! I have to be honest and admit that it's hard to pick apart how much it's true that what Jarvis Cocker does is perfect for my tastes from how much it simply is that Jarvis Cocker was the formative influence on my performance aesthetic, but man. I am not kidding when I say this is what all artists who want me to actually watch their videos should be doing! That little hand wave - "anyway, I'm getting away from the subject here." How do you even come up with such genius?

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