Tuesday, April 6, 2021

1/100 Video - "Save a Prayer" - Duran Duran (1982)

No one made videos like Duran. 

With already a couple of catchy singles and epic videos under its belt, Duran Duran went on to top those with the sweeping ballad "Save a Prayer". 

The dreamy synths immediately draw me in before the flute takes over. 

Filmed among the pristine beaches and the ruins of Buddhist temples of Sri Lanka, the surreal video flows perfectly to the synth-pop gospel. Dancing children, crashing waves and five buddies on a trip. 

But it wasn't all sunsets and one-night stands. 

During the elephant clips, the intoxicated guitarist Andy Taylor apparently fell into water used as an animal latrine and ended up being hospitalized with dysentery. Save a prayer, indeed.

Monday, April 5, 2021

2/100 Video - "White Wedding" - Billy Idol (1982)

"White Wedding" by Billy Idol may not have been a 'punk' song in the purest sense.

But as a 13-year-old growing up in the safe confines of suburbia, this video is what defined the concept of "cool" to me in 1982. 

A rare track we both liked, my brother and I used to emulate Billy Idol's iconic move of unwrapping his head scarf with improvised towels while singing along to the first verse.  

"White Wedding" was a video with all the fixings: epic opening, ladies in leather, fist-shaking, growling, cult-like proceedings, great guitar solo, a motorcycle crashing through a church window, exploding toasters and screaming bordering on caterwauling. 

Who cares what the lyrics mean, "White Wedding" is all about the delivery.

Sunday, April 4, 2021

3/100 Video - "Wrapped Around Your Finger" - The Police (1983)

As a young teen I'd always been mesmerized by "Wrapped Around Your Finger" by The Police. I still am decades later. 

So mellow, yet so hypnotic. And Sting was so damn cool bouncing amid a labyrinth of candles.

Directed by Godley and Creme, the video was shot in slow motion while Sting lip-synced in time with the music - something that required an unusual performance.

The magic of Sting's melodic and lyrical prowess, Andy Summer's sparse effective guitar and Steward Coupland's intricate drum work all reach new heights on this textured tune.

From the lighting of that first candle, the video has always entranced me. 

The obscure literary references in the verses made me flip through the encyclopedias as Sting found a creative way to weave in such words as apprentice, Charibdes, Mephistopholes, tuition, fruition, and from the iconic bridge, alabaster.

And what a bridge! 

It never fails to give goosebumps. Both lyrically and musically, the tune picks up the tempo when the tables are turned on the master and servant relationship dynamics in question as "You'll be wrapped around my finger". Captivating stuff.  

The simple "I'll be wrapped around your finger" chorus shimmered. The synths are hauntingly beautiful.

And I'd love to chat with the folks who lit all the candles, what a job!

Those candles will burn forever in my mind, save for those that Sting knocks down at the end.

Fave lyric: "Devil and the deep blue sea behind me".

Saturday, April 3, 2021

4/100 Video - "Pale Shelter" - Tears For Fears (1982)

These last four videos are deeply embedded in my psyche;
 they were all released when I was between 13 and 15 years old.

"Pale Shelter" by Tears For Fears is one memorizing tune. 

The acoustic guitar in the intro pleasantly strums along with the ubiquitous synths creates instant magic.

I was a young teen when the song hit our shores. And I was always captivated by its video. 

Now it's massively nostalgic.

During the last chorus in the video, Roland and Curt are walking beside a school amid a shower of hundreds of paper airplanes being tossed out windows.

This scene always takes me back to Mr. McInness's aka Mister Magoo's Grade 7 English class at Prince Arthur Junior School when David Israel got caught for tossing a paper airplane out the window and whose name ended up on the blackboard's detention list as "David the Pilot".

Back to the video, I always wince when Roland gets the sharp end of a paper plane straight into his eye. 

Friday, April 2, 2021

5/100 Video - "The Perfect Kiss" - New Order (1985)


New Order are often best known for their unique blend of rock and electronica, and in my opinion, "The Perfect Kiss" is the best high-end example of their trademark sound. 

The video is a 10-and-half minute epic and a must-see. 

In the mid-80s, the band was known for avoiding making videos, music media interviews and for not being on their album covers. Here the 4 members are awkwardly revealed, notably the first two minutes of this intimate and claustrophobic performance video where there's no place to hide. And does the music ever shine.

Directed by the late great Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs), the video shows close-ups of the four band members playing various instruments. 

Although all four are bringing it, I think the excellent bass work is Peter Hook's finest moment.

The video also demonstrates how the group excelled at constructing a song piece by piece until it becomes a cohesive whole.

The diverse instrumentation and versatile musicianship is clearly on display:

- lead singer Bernard Sumner plays cow bells (along with usual lead guitar)
- bassist Peter Hook plays the drum machine
- the (usual) drummer Stephen Morris plays keys
- Gillian does her magic on the synths

The song has several intoxicating builds until a thrilling two-minute-long bass and synth finale wraps up one of the most exhilarating climaxes ever produced.

"The Perfect Kiss" also features samples of Amazonian tree frogs croaking and sheep bleating.

The music is complex yet the quartet look to be barely breaking a sweat. They were good.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

6/100 Video - "Around the World" - Daft Punk (1997)

I sometimes struggle with remembering lyrics, even to my favourite songs.

But I always remember the melody, the rhythm and the beat.

I guess you could say I prefer action over words.

In this video, it's all about movement representing the individual parts of the music.

The video "Around the World" by Daft Punk takes creativity to another dimension.

The choreography of each group of dancers matches a different instrument in the mix. 

Bass Guitar - Tall Grey Men

Drums - Mummies

Synth - Swimsuit Girls

Second Guitar - Skeletons

Vocals - Robots

And the characters walking around in circles are represented by parts of the music not being played.

Cinematic genius.