If you’re holding your breath for the day MTV starts playing music videos again, let it go. It’s never going to happen, not while there’s still a heart-rending story, about some brat that didn’t get the teenage party of their dreams, to be told. Here’s an idea: you’re sixteen now. You’re a man/woman/mooman now. Get a stinking job.
But who needs MTV in the digital age? We’re here, the time’s right, and the videos are waiting for us. This week’s list was democratically determined by the Popdose Staff. The terms were simple. The songs that get the most votes get the spots, except for the #1 of the year. So set the way-way-back machine for 1989, rethink those ridiculous shoulder pads, mousse up that hair that’s starting to fall out and leave one of those five jackets at home. It’s time to rock.
Neneh Cherry – Buffalo Stance: Hip-hop was coming on strong in the late ’80s, and for pop-crossover fun, you could hardly do better than this track. Neneh’s brother from another mother, Eagle-Eye, had a hit called “Save Tonight.” I think we could have done much better than that.
Madonna – Like A Prayer: The first of three appearances by Maddy this week, “Like A Prayer” was derided for its sacrilegious visuals as much as her usually controversial lyric choices. The video was directed by Mary Lambert who, this same year, would direct the big screen adaptation of Stephen King’s Pet Sematary. All this leads one to ask, how much more awesome would this video be with homicidal, zombie children?
Bangles – In Your Room: Think unsexy thought, think unsexy thoughts, think unsexy thoughts.
The Cure – Lovesong: How much more awesome would this video be if they’d let us post it?!
(BOO. Rhino Entertainment has disabled embedding for this video. Go here to see it.)
Michael Jackson – Smooth Criminal: Even if he wasn’t to be the King of Pop, he’d always be the King of Pop Videos. Even if you couldn’t stand his music, there’s darn few of them that cared as much about the visual component as he did. That said, seeing him with a tommy-gun is like staring at a milk bucket under a bull.
Paula Abdul – Straight Up: Once upon a time, there was this wacky lady who, with her large African-American brother and her bitchy Eurotrash brother, promoted people of no major consequence to superstardom. She was a pop star too, once. But that was a long time ago. Now she collects cats.
Duran Duran – I Don’t Want Your Love: I guess they also don’t want any free promotion of the back catalog. Brilliant marketing, boys.
(Turd nuggets. EMI Music has disabled embedding for this video. Go here to watch it.)
Bobby Brown – On Our Own: Too hot to handle, too cold to hold, too good for FNV?
(Fart biscuits. MCA has disabled embedding for this video. Notice a trend here? Go here to watch it.)
Breathe – How Can I Fall: If you fail General Physics in high school, you might have a shot at the top of the charts. (The answer to the question was: gravity).
When In Rome – The Promise: When I get to Rome, I promise I’ll call you, What’syername. Oh, yeah, no doubt. My love for you is unparalleled, Crazy Cat Lady, oh, oh, oh. Just keep talking – the Italian Polizia should be here any minute.
Madonna – Cherish: It’s hard to believe Madonna was a sex symbol in this day and age, now that she has become a third-world baby snatcher that stalks the fresh vessels of youth unless the lamb’s blood is spilled on the door. But it’s true, and downright unavoidable in this clip directed by superstar photographer Herb Ritts.
Prince – Batdance: Holy crap, Batman! You mean to tell me there’s a Prince video that’s still been allowed to exist on the Internet? We better watch it fast before he changes his mind!
Young MC – Bust A Move: Here’s a little-known fact I just made up. The MC doesn’t stand for “microphone commander” or “emcee.” Mordecai Cornelius Young went on after recording this to invent the collapsible telescoping bear-scratcher. He was tragically cut down in his prime by a fatal bear scratch. How visionary.
B-52s – Love Shack: Tiiin ROOF! Sundae.
Boy Meets Girl – Waiting For A Star To Fall: See, now here are some folks that actually get physics. Better than you, you well-coiffed Breathe slackers. You’re going to grow up to be nobodies, just like your old man! Uh, men. Uh, random Back to the Future joke. Uh, nuts.
Madonna – Express Yourself: This video, loosely inspired by Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, was directed by David Fincher who, in his later years, would direct The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which makes perfect sense. Now I totally get the scene where Benjamin hides under the table, straps on a cone-bra and laps milk from a bowl.
And your Number One song for 1989 is…
Chicago – Look Away: Take one scantily-clad dog-walkin’ chick, add Chicago, wait 21 years – and presto. Bill Champlin quits. I’m not saying these are related events. I’m not saying they’re not.
And our Number One song for 1989 is, by a wide margin…
Tears For Fears – Sowing The Seeds Of Love: Trippy. This would be the last album, for many years, where Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith shared the TFF banner. Sowing the seeds of love – or acrimony? (This is the kind of stuff that’ll land me the New Yorker Magazine gig for sure!)
Next time, we take the headlong leap into the Nervous 1990s. Can you feel the enervation tonight? It’s Friday Night Videos! every Friday, with video, at night. Subtle, no?