Music Video of the Day: Suicide Blonde by INXS (1990, directed by Richard Lowenstein)

Despite the title, Suicide Blonde is not about suicide.  (That, of course, still doesn’t make it any less difficult to watch Michael Hutchence sing a song with the word suicide in the lyrics.)  Instead, it’s about a woman who colors her own hair, literally “dyeing by hand.”  It was a phrase that Hutchence first heard used by his then-girlfriend, Kylie Minogue.  Minogue said she was going to dye her hair “suicide blonde” and Hutchence was so taken with the phrase that he crafted a song around it.

This video was directed by Richard Lowenstein, who directed several videos for the band and often made use of the type of composited imagery, in which the band members seem to travel across the screen separated from what else is happening, that appears in Suicide Blonde.


Music Video of the Day: How The West Was Won And Where It Got Us by R.E.M. (1997, directed by Lance Bangs)

This song is from one of R.E.M.’s more underrated efforts, New Adventures in Hi-Fi.  As to what the song is actually about, there are many differing interpretations.  That’s kind of the par for the course when it comes to R.E.M.  The most frequent interpretation that I’ve seen is that Michael Stipe is singing about himself and all of the things that he wants that are unattainable.  Or it could be that Michael is actually singing about all of us and saying that no one will ever get what they want.  I’ve read at least one message board post that claimed that this was yet another song about the death of Kurt Cobain.

The music video was directed by Lance Bangs, who is still directing music videos to this day and who is married to Corin Tucker of Sleater-Kinney.  Bangs was also heavily involved with MTV’s Jackass, a show that changed the culture for better or worse.  Incidentally, Lance Bangs does not appear to be related to Lester Bangs.


Music Video of the Day: Learning to Fly by Pink Floyd (1987, directed by Storm Thorgerson)

I usually wouldn’t ever consider sharing a Pink Floyd video, despite enjoying some of their music.  Roger Waters is simply too odious a figure for me not to feel conflicted about sharing any video that he was involved with.  Fortunately, Waters wasn’t involved with Learning to Fly, which was the first video that Pink Floyd released after Waters left the band and David Gilmour took over.

In fact, the song is almost a middle finger directed at Waters.  Waters claimed that Pink Floyd was moving too far away from being about the music and expanding minds so what did GIlmour do?  He composed a song about how much he enjoyed flying his private airplane.  Oh, I know that a lot of people will tell you that this song is also about Gilmour learning how to lead the band in Waters’s absence but come on.  We all know that it’s ultimately about David Gilmour having his own plane while you don’t.

The video, which features a Native American shaman and a man turning into an eagle after jumping off a cliff, is just pretentious enough to fit in with the Pink Floyd’s work during the Waters era.


Music Video of the Day: The Big Crash by Eddie Money (1984, directed by Martin Kahan)

In his video, Eddie Money returns to his roots.

Eddie was born in Brooklyn.  His father was a cop.  His grandfather was a cop.  His brother was a cop.  It was expected that Eddie would become a cop too.  Even while he was pursuing a career in music, Eddie joined the NYPD.  However, while he was still in training, Eddie was told that he would not be allowed to wear his hair long if he was a member of the NYPD.  That was the last straw for Eddie, who later said that he could not imagine spending the next 20 years of his life with short hair.  He left the force and returned to music.  Unfortunately, the band he was in suspected that he was an undercover narc and kicked him out.  Meanwhile, his father tore down and destroyed every Jimi Hendrix poster that Eddie had hanging in his room.  Perhaps realizing that New York was no longer going to be a friendly place to live, Eddie headed for California and the rest, as they say, is history.

In this video, though, Eddie is back in New York and working out the of the 18th precinct.  While he investigates crimes on the streets, a runaway is sucked into a dangerous lifestyle.  Eddie has longish hair in the video so he finally got to be a cop without having to cut his hair.

This video was directed by Martin Kahan, who also did videos for KISS, Scandal, Michael Bolton, and a lot of other people who probably would never have made it as a member of the NYPD.


Music Video of the Day: Breakin’ … There’s No Stopping This by Ollie and Jerry (1984, directed by Joel Silberg)

Drummer Ollie Brown and bassist Jerry Knight were two Detroit-based sessions musicians who were also members of Raydio, along with Ray Parker, Jr.  In 1984, Brown and Knight were hired to provide songs for the soundtrack of the upcoming breakdancing movie Breakin’.  There’s No Stopping Us was named after a line that was spoken by one of the characters in the film and it was meant to not only reflect what was happening in the movie but also Ollie and Jerry’s own struggle and determination to make it in the music biz.

The video is made up entirely of clips from the movie.  (The video’s credited director Joel Silberg also directed Breakin’.  It seems if anyone deserve credit for the video, though, it’s the editor who put it together.)  Jean-Claude Van Damme was an extra in Breakin‘ and supposedly, he can be spotted dancing in this video.  I think I spotted him at the 2:32 mark, dancing in a crowd, but I could be wrong.


Music Video of the Day: Heaven’s On Fire by KISS (1984, directed by David Lewis)

This is yet another KISS video from the era when the band was performing without their makeup because who needs a memorable gimmick when you can just be another overage hair metal band singing about banging groupies?

This video begins with Paul Stanley’s hands on fire.  Judging from the rest of the video, which features scenes of KISS performing mixed with scenes of KISS entertaining their fans, those hands probably weren’t the only thing that felt like it was on fire by the time filming on this video was completed.

Over on the imdb, director David Lewis has exactly two credits.  One is for this video.  The other is for directing a Linda Ronstadt television special.  Both of them came out in 1984 so it appears that Lewis went straight form Linda Ronstadt to KISS.  That was probably quite a journey.

Speaking of journeys, KISS eventually put the makeup back on.


Music Video of the Day: It’s A Mistake by Men At Work (1983, directed by Tony Stevens)

Like yesterday’s music video of the day, today’s entry is an anti-war song from 1983.  This time, it’s from Australia’s Men at Work and, as opposed to yesterday’s earnest video from Europe, the video for It’s A Mistake takes a darkly satirical approach to the song’s themes.

After starting out with toy soldiers and stop motion animation, the video segues into the members of the band portraying children who go from playing war to being invited into a tent by an American officer, where they discover a bunch of other officers having a party.  War is all fun and games when you’re not the one doing the fighting.  When the children grow up and all pursue different careers (businessman, activist, doctor, and road workers), they’re still drafted to serve in the military.  Whilst the soldiers fight, the generals gather in an underground bunker and one of them accidentally launches the nukes while trying to stub out a cigar.

Despite or maybe because of it’s anti-American sentiments (even Ronald Reagan gets a satiric shout-out in the song), It’s A Mistake actually charted higher in the States than in the band’s native Australia.  In Australia, it peaked at 34 while in the States, it hit 6.

The video was directed by Tony Stevens, whose entire directorial output pretty much consisted of music videos for Men at Work and Midnight Oil.


Music Video of the Day: In The Future To Come by Europe (1983, directed by ????)

In 1983, the Swedish heavy metal band, Europe, released their first album.  It was called Europe.  The first album is always the easiest to title.

In The Future To Come was their very first single and this was their very first video.  The video features the band performing on a windy plain and singing about the possibility of the world ending as a result of a nuclear war.  This was a theme to which they would return in the best-known song, The Final Countdown.  Joey Tempest was only 19 when he wrote this song and it very much reflects a 19 year-old’s worldview but, at the same time, Europe rocked.

For those curious, here are the lyrics for In The Future To Come.  It should be remembered that these lyrics were written at a time when many people agreed that nuclear war was an inevitability.  In the 80s, many believed it wasn’t a question of whether or not it would happen.  Instead, it was a question of when it would happen.

So many tears ago the people on this earth
They were laughin’
They didn’t think of anything else
Than love and peace
But generations failed to see
That they were causin’
Trouble for the future
They didn’t know that one single war

Would continue to increase
But I’ll be beside you
‘Cause I want to hide you

I’ll cover my pain
Or I’ll gone insane
Oh Lord where will it end
When tomorrow is done
Oh Lord can we stop to pretend
That we can survive in the future to come

As long as you can see
As long as you can feel
There’s no cause for alarm
As long as you can touch
As long as you can more

It ain’t too bad
But one day or another
This world would maybe
Be destroyed forever
A holocaust maybe be spread
And drive us all mad


Music Video of the Day: Coming Up Roses by Elliott Smith (1995, directed by Ross Harris)

Today’s music video of the day is Coming Up Roses, Elliott Smith’s first solo music video.  Elliott Smith would go on to become one of the most influential indie musicians of the 90s, though he never seemed to get the recognition that he deserved when he was alive.  Even his Oscar nomination for composing Miss Misery for Good Will Hunting was overshadowed by all the bombast surrounding Titanic and My Heart Will Go On.

This is a simple video, one that will look familiar to anyone who has ever seen an indie video from the 90s but it feels very appropriate for Elliott Smith and his style of music.  This video was directed by Ross Harris, who was himself a former child actor.  Remember Joey, the little kid who was invited up to the cockpit in Airplane?  That was Ross Harris.

Here are the lyrics for Coming Up Roses, composed by Elliott Smith:

I’m a junkyard full of false starts
And I don’t need your permission
To bury my love under this bare lightbulb

The moon is a sickle-cell
I’ll kill you in time
Your cold white brother alive in your blood
Like spun glass in your sore eye

While the moon does it’s division
You’re buried below
And it’s coming up roses everywhere
You’ve gone red roses fall in love

The things that you tell yourself
They’ll kill you in time
Your cold white brother alive in your blood
Spinning in the night sky

While the moon does its division
You’re buried below
And it’s coming up roses everywhere
You’ve gone red roses

So you got in a kind of trouble
That nobody knows
It’s coming up roses everywhere
You’ve gone red roses.

Music Video of the Day: Deep Deep Trouble by Bart Simpson (1990, directed by Gregg Vanzo)

Since yesterday, I shared Do The Bartman, I guess it only makes sense to share the 2nd Simpsons music video today.  Deep Deep Trouble is more of the same but, for those of us who remember when The Simpsons was funny, it still generates a feeling of welcome nostalgia.

Deep Deep Trouble was written by Matt Groening and DJ Jazzy Jeff and it’s easy to actually imagine this as one of the Fresh Prince’s songs from the Parents Just Don’t Understand era.  Bart, of course, was voiced by Nancy Cartwright.  The video was directed by Simpsons animated Gregg Vanzo.