Listen, it’s John Carpenter. As a month, October pretty much belongs to John Carpenter and there’s never a more appropriate time to share a music video for one of his songs. Interestingly enough, Night is one of Carpenter’s rare compositions that is not also a part of a soundtrack.
It certainly sounds like it belongs in a movie though, right?
For all the analysis that has been dedicated to this song and Neil Tennant’s reasons for writing it, Tennant himself has said that the song itself isn’t as a serious as everyone makes it out to be. As he explained it in a 2009 interview with Andrew Sullivan:
“People took it really seriously; the song was written in about 15 minutes, and was intended as a camp joke and it wasn’t something I consciously took very seriously. Sometimes I wonder if there was more to it then I thought at the time. But the local parish priest in Newcastle delivered a sermon on it, and reflected on how the Church changed from the promise of a ghastly hell to the message of love.”
Not surprisingly, the video is full of religious imagery, along with representations of the seven deadly sins. In the video, Tennant’s fellow Pet Shop Boy, Chris Lowe, plays Tennant’s jailer while the judge is played by the distinguished British actor Ron Moody. An Oscar nominee for playing Fagin in 1968’s Oliver!, Ron Moody also came very close to being cast as the Third Doctor on Doctor Who. Though the role was offered to him, Moody turned it down to focus on his film career. Instead, Moody’s friend, Jon Pertwee, received the role and Moody would often later say that the decision to turn down Doctor Who was one of his biggest mistakes.
This video was directed by Derek Jarman, the experimental British director who is perhaps best known for his adaptation of Christopher Marlowe’s Edward II. A political activist and a pioneer in the British gay rights movement, Jarman would sadly pass away just seven years after directing the video but he left behind a body of work that continues to be influential to this day. Along with directing Laurence Olivier in his final performance (in War Requiem), Jarman is also often credited with having “discovered” Tilda Swinton.
It’s A Sin was one of the Pet Shops Boys’s biggest hits. Would it have been a hit without this video? Probably. But the video definitely didn’t hurt.
I like Burn, even though it’s not exactly subtle song. I mean, Trent Reznor has never exactly been the most low-key of songwriters but Burn is a bit heavy-handed by even his standards. That said, it’s got a good beat and you can dance to it and it’s fun to music to play while you’re setting a fire or trying to freak out a boomer.
The video was apparently included on a special VHS tape of Natural Born Killers. And now it’s on YouTube so watch it while you can because I have a feeling this video will probably get yanked down for copyright reasons in another month or so. Stuff like that just makes me want to burn it all down. The video pretty much follows the Natural Born Killers aesthetic. It’s a type of style that’s good for music videos but a bit much for a 2 hour-plus film. Natural Born Killers is one of those films that I always get bored with before it ends but the soundtrack’s pretty good.
Alice Cooper singing about freedom is exactly what we all need to hear today.
This song was the first and only single off of Alice Cooper’s seventeenth solo album, Raise Your Fist and Yell. Despite celebrating freedom and being promoted by the music video above, the single failed to chart in the United States. However, in the UK, it reached #50 in the charts. Maybe across the pond, it was better appreciated that the video featured Rambo on guitar. (That’s actually Kane Roberts on guitar. Roberts co-wrote this song and is a legitimate rock and roll great. The presence of Roberts makes it easier to forgive the fact that Kip Winger played bass on Freedom.)
This song came out at around the same time that the Senate was investigating rock music and there was a strong push for warning labels to be put on albums. This song was Cooper’s response to the Tipper Gores of the world. “Stop pretending you’ve never been bad,” the lyrics say before going on to take a stand for freedom of speech.