Looking into Your Past
I like having something going on in the background when I’m working or cooking. Often it’s the kids’ television shows – their most recent obsession is the Disney shot Gravity Falls. The best of those shows, like that, Phineas and Ferb or the old cartoon my daughter adored Animaniacs and Freakazoid were the best for adults because they also included adult humor.
I have to admit . . . Spongebob has grown to be like fingers on a chalkboard for me.
Yet when their shows had run their course and my stereo was acting up I decided to flip through channels and couldn’t find anything.
So my kids found VH1 Classic. Now…mind you…I don’t know that I could call many of the music videos that came from my teenage era classics, but the kids flipped to it.
I believe the first video was Def Leppard’s Rock of Ages.
I think the first reaction from my kids was: “whoa! Did people actually think this was good, Dad?”
I wasn’t sure how to explain “oontagh gleeten glouten globen” to them. I didn’t know what the hell it meant. I tried to explain that the old-style superimposed faces and freeze frames were essentially state-of-the-art at the time. But I had no choice but to admit…it’s really bad. I could see every shot from the movie Spinal Tap reflected in it.
Then came Money for Nothing.
This, at least, they could relate to as it looks like a videogame, albeit a videogame that was powered by a Commodore Amiga from 1990. They missed the whole “I want my Mtv” point because, let’s face it, Mtv hasn’t actually played music videos since 1990, either.
“Geez, I don’t know how video could have killed the radio star from all this,” said my daughter, sarcasm dripping from the kitchen.
I couldn’t convince them that John Landis had directed a mini-film like American Werewolf in London in Michael Jackson’s Thriller when all they know is that prisoners in the Phillipines are now copying it on YouTube.
Finally, having had it with their derision turned off the TV and pulled up YouTube on the Google Chromecast and played them this:
I wasn’t a fan of the song or the band . . . but even I remember the video being brilliant. Hand-drawn, pulled together, it was even today a bit mesmerizing.
It was here my son, the stopframe guru, lover of Ray Harryhausen and The Boxtrolls and Paranorman and all things motion capture was captivated.
“That, my children, is what a good music video can do. Catchy Peter Gabriel tune…amazing video that took weeks to make in stop-frame animation.”
They agreed that this was pretty cool and that few new videos, even in today’s special-effects driven world, weren’t as interesting.
But they had a point…for every Sledgehammer there were Warrant videos with porn stars dancing with cherry pie in their laps. For each live Pink Floyd performance there was a Ratt video. There may have been the Police’s Every Breath You Take but that was followed by Styx’s Mister Roboto.
But as they were telling me how terrible the soundtrack to my childhood was I informed them that their YouTube world had given us Rebecca Black’s Friday along with Psy’s Gangnum Style (yeah I probably spelled that wrong, don’t care) and everything by Kanye West.
It was here they bowed to their father’s logic.