Music Video of the Day: Shadow Of A Doubt by Sonic Youth (1986, dir. Kevin Kerslake)


The title is from a Hitchcock movie. It looks like the consensus is that the song is based on Strangers On A Train (1951)–more Hitchcock. I haven’t watched either film recently.

While the music video is gorgeous, I can’t find anything on it other than a quote from Kevin Kerslake in the book, I Want My MTV:

It was a point of honor among bands on 120 Minutes to not show up in regular rotation on MTV. They wanted to be the bad kids on the block, who showed up for those two hours on Sunday night and ran riot. At that point, indie rock was thriving. You had great underground labels like SST and Rough Trade, and they’d give you complete freedom. I wanted to do something totally new. I’d shoot Super 8, and play with the color palette to make it more psychedelic. The punk rock ethos really drove the visual content, even if you weren’t working with punk bands. My first music video–“Shadow Of A Doubt,” for Sonic Youth–used horrible quality, super-grainy performance footage. It was fantastic.

The part with the performance footage doesn’t do a whole lot for me–except to provide a strong tie between song and video by putting the harder part of the song in there. I like what Kerslake did before and after that the most. It makes me think of a very colorful, indie, and simplified version of one of those collage-style videos that Jim Blashfield made for And She Was by Talking Heads or Don’t Give Up by Peter Gabriel & Kate Bush. It gives the video an ethereal quality that I love.

It’s very appropriate that this was on 120 Minutes back in the 1980s. This is exactly the kind of thing I would have expected to see on late night cable back in the 1980s and 1990s.

Enjoy!

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One response to “Music Video of the Day: Shadow Of A Doubt by Sonic Youth (1986, dir. Kevin Kerslake)

  1. Pingback: Music Video of the Day: Halloween by Glass Candy (2011, dir. Alberto Rossini) | Through the Shattered Lens

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