I’ve got a few short posts lined up for this afternoon. Hopefully I can get everything cranked out around nap times. First off, I’ve been watching a lot of VH1 Classic this week. It’s always fun to see the video for a song you liked 20 years ago but now realize is total crap. Even better is when the video is God-awful. Two examples:
Glenn Frey – “You Belong To The City”. Remember this one? It was the featured song in the first episode of season two of Miami Vice. I really thought the song was the shit, and it was a big reason why I listened to my Miami Vice soundtrack tape every afternoon when I got home from school in the fall of 1985. I had my white, unstructured blazer, a pastel shirt, and some faux linen pants to wear to adult gatherings. Fortunately I realized that wasn’t the kind of thing you wear to school in Raytown, MO. Perhaps I should have, though. I might have gotten my ass kicked, but people would still be talking about it! Anyway, getting back to the video, it’s really, really bad. It pretty much consists of Glenn Frey walking around New York at night, smoking. No less than eight cigarettes are lit, handled, or smoked during the four plus minutes of the song. Throughout the city, he just happens to pass TVs on which we can see Crockett and Tubbs from Miami doing their thing. At one point, a taxi nearly hits Frey, who was crossing with the light. He tosses a few choice words at the cabbie, then his cigarette to complete his point. As he prepares to walk away, he notices an attractive lady in the cab. Later on his endless trek through the city, he spies said woman in a club. He enters, takes a seat across the bar from her, and orders a drink. Behind him is a TV with, you guessed it, Miami Vice showing. Talk about product placement! Strange Man #1 approaches Attractive Woman and attempts to light her cigarette. She rejects him, and they argue. Clearly there is a history here. Mr. Frey takes this all in, finishes his drink, and exits to hail a cab. A hand settles on his shoulder; it’s Attractive Woman! They get in a cab together. As the song ends, he exits what we must assume is her apartment building. It was quite a night for Glenn! I’m not really sure what the point of the video was, other than smoking a lot and stopping for a drink will get you laid by an attractive person you don’t know. Oh, and Miami Vice was cool in 1985.
Quarterflash – Harden My Heart. Remember these guys? Soulful pop music that almost always had the word heart in the song titles. And the lead singer played saxophone. This could be the single worst video in the history of bad videos. The lead singer continually runs through a long, dark hallway. Bare lights hang from the ceiling, various painted doors are on each side. She’s wearing a black leotard and black tights. She should not be wearing such tight clothing. From time to time, she is replaced by a child that looks like her, singing her lines. Eventually, she sits on top of some kind of gravel pile with three youngsters that look like her, all singing. Well, one of the kids is singing with her, the other two are only singing every few lines. I guess a couple more takes or more time rehearsing the lines wasn’t in the budget. During the chorus, the entire band stands in a semi-circle in a darkened warehouse. The floor has been flooded with a couple inches of water, and the band is surrounded by men on motorcycles wearing helmets with visors and tuxedoes. After a few moments of remaining stationary, the motorcyclists start driving in slow patterns around the band. At the end of the song, the lead singer escapes from the long hallway into the aforementioned gravel pit. A bulldozer runs into the “hallway”, which was just a particle board chute, and destroys it as in a KC Bobcat commercial. That’s pretty much what happens, I tried several times to think of better ways of describing it and came up with nothing. It’s totally bizarre, lacks any details to help explain what’s going on, and as far as I can tell, has nothing to do with the song. Early 80s videos were full of absurd situations, but most of those were at least funny or artistic. This was probably the strangest and dumbest video I’ve ever seen. And the song sucked too.
Be watching this space for more critiques of bad 80s videos.