Stylus Videodrome, Volume III
hose at the Pop Playground headquarters refuse to believe it, but image is actually just as important as the songwriting. Just ask Trevor Horn. In accordance, we take a quick look at some of the prominent music videos every now and then and report on them. We call it the Pop Playground Videodrome. Enjoy.
Gwen Stefani- What You Waiting For?
Twenty years after the supposed pinnacle of the music video "Thriller" we still can't adequately fill the shoes of the medium’s very title: music video. Even Michael Jackson freely describes his video as a fourteen-minute short film, something so far, as he might say, "beyond" the art form. As if the label 'music video' is creatively constricting. But at long last, we may have something great on our hands. "What You Waiting For?" does what Jackson may have set out to do, finally aligning the music with its supposed visual narrative. This is a short film, yes, Alice in Wonderland to the fullest, but you can't understand until you watch—you must watch—Gwen’s sexually flustered panting when she’s thrown into her dream and into lush greens. "What You Waiting For?" the song is bright colors and surreal bric-a-brac just as "What You Waiting For?" the video is coquettish rhyming and disco sustenance. At this point, "Thriller" is downright antiquated: there is no needlessly long introduction and there is certainly not a dance breakdown to carry the visual weight. Ha suru no? I sigh with admiration and wish every video was this alive.
Simple Plan- Welcome To My Life
Simple Plan elaborately challenge the prevailing music video formula and play their song in front of a stand-still traffic jam. Intercut with scenes of the lead singer sitting atop what appears to be an oil rig of some sort, this video radically undercuts the way things have been done in music video history. Who knew that Simple Plan had it in them? Not me. Not me.
It’s always a fascinating thing to see a U2 music video for me. They are undoubtedly one of the only bands in my personal music pantheon that has videos that make the songs better than they should be. This one is no exception, what with its rapidly oscillating landscape, sandblasted figures and dizzying special effects. It’s all very disorienting and epic with images attached and, predictably, on record, it’s all just a big disappointment.
NORE- Oye Mi Canto
Representing Puerto Rico in every way imaginable, NORE introduces reggaeton to the US hip-hop market. The question, of course, is whether it’ll be as game changing as Sean Paul’s “Gimme the Light” or Missy Elliott’s “Get Ur Freak On”. Only time will tell about that, but as far as the video goes, it hardly breaks out what you might imagine from NORE. Girls. Bikins. Lots of flags from various countries that produce reggaeton. Cameos. Etc. Etc. Etc.
Hope of the States- The Red the White the Black the Blue
Predictably overwrought, but not predictably animated. Sitting alone in a field with one tree and a snowy field to accompany him, a lone piano player plunks out the main melodic theme to this dirge. Fascinatingly, as the song goes on, various musicians come up to that same hill—away from a broken and smoking train wreck—to accompany him! It’s the Simple Plan video all over again. OK, with electric towers walking over to a cliff like lemmings and falling off, too.
The Concretes- You Can’t Hurry Love
Now, you see, if you’re going to animate, this is the way to do it. Fashionable people, rock stars mostly, populate this quick and fashionable video that acts as a trainspotter heaven. Brian Eno and a whole host of others make this an exquisitely art Deco-inflected gem.
By: Stylus Staff
Published on: 2004-12-01