Saturday, July 16, 2016

Top 10 Favorite Music Videos from the 1980s (Part II)

Here's my top five music videos from the 80s:

5. Judas Priest “Breaking the Law” (1980)

Why I Love This Video:

Rob Halford has hair! I like the shot of him in the backseat of the car dramatically delivering his lines. This shit could be out straight out of a Spanish soap opera.

When Judas Priest storms the bank totting the guitar cases like guns. It's a fun and cheesy touch. Plus, I love the symbolism. Like Def Leppard’s “Rock of Ages” as well as one of the songs in my honorable mention, the rock guitar overtly symbolizes a weapon. In “Breaking the Law,” their music is akin to the truth that the strata of conservative, older British citizens didn’t want to accept about the social problems tied to their youth and lack of employment opportunities. The shattering of the man’s glasses at the 0:48 mark alludes to that, methinks. 

I love how the band is basically delivering a sermon about youth angst tied to unemployment. “Breaking the Law” finds the young rock gods railing against authority, against conformity. This is rock ‘n’ roll at its root—or at least what it should be. 

When Halford holds up the gold record and shatters the security cameras between the 1:37 – 1:42 mark.

It’s kind of thrilling when the band piles into the car for the getaway just before the guitar solo. It looks like it was fun to film.  

The shot of Halford and the band playing in the back of a car on the freeway (or whatever they call them in Britain) is pretty fucking cool. That’s no green-screen-studio shot! This is raw. This is rock distilled.

Favorite Part:
When the sleepy guard—the video’s supposed authority figure, infected and perverted by the shattering spirit of rock—picks up a cardboard cutout of a Jackson V guitar and proceeds to execute what might possibly be the cheesiest and awesomest air guitar solo committed to film. For me, the absolute delightful peak of the song is seeing him rock out to the Priest. 

Top 10 Favorite Music Videos from the 1980s (Part I)

Launched in 1981, MTV quickly helped to shape our popular culture with their music video programming. The 1980s churned out a number of outstanding and bizarre videos. Here’s my top-10 favorite videos from that era.

10. Rick James “Super Freak” (1981)

What’s a top-10 list of 80s music videos without one from Rick James? A piss-poor one, I say!

Why I Love This Video:
Rick James’ smile and wink at the beginning of the video; he was a dirty, charismatic motherfucker.

His glittery vest—or is it a blouse?—is fucking amazing. You know Marie Antoinette would have loved that shit.

From an aesthetic standpoint, I think the stark white background was a great choice. It’s a simple backdrop but it allows everyone to stand out in close-up shots no matter what color their skin is. (And it works great with the group shots, too.)

The scene of Rick in the back of the limousine with his ladies starting at the 1:44 mark. It looks like a mobile plain of heaven. (The boy from Buffalo, NY, did well!)

The way Rick James wields his big white bass like it’s an extension of his dick. (And man, that bass looks regally sweet.)

The cutaway to an archival clip of The Temptations is nifty.

Favorite Part:
The lewd tongue lick at the 2:09 mark when he sings “I’d really like to taste her” is pure Rick James; in a way, he was a part of the musical-sexual evolution bands like The Kinks started in the 1960s with songs like “You Really Got Me” and “All Day and All of the Night.”