Music Video of the Day: Blue Monday by New Order (1983, dir by ????)


With Sunday’s release of the trailer for Wonder Woman 1984, the choice for today’s music video of the day is an obvious one.  The trailer is memorably scored to New Order’s Blue Monday and the song even trended on twitter as a result.  It’s a good song so here’s the video.

This is apparently the first of four different videos that were released, over the years, for Blue Monday.  Val previously wrote about the 1988 version.  This version is from 1983 and it’s definitely very much a product of the 80s.  The song’s timeless, though.

I know there’s several interpretation as to what this song is about.  I assume it’s about death but then again, that’s kind of my default interpretation as far as lyrics go.

Enjoy!

Here’s The Trailer for Wonder Woman 1984!


It’s here!

Here’s the trailer for Wonder Woman 1984, which looks wonderful!  I mean, seriously — Wonder Woman and the 80s!?  How can’t you love that?

Other things I like about this trailer:

  1. It doesn’t give away too much of the plot!
  2. Wonder Woman using her tiara as a boomerang!
  3. A battle in the White House!
  4. The clothes!  The cars!
  5. Chris Pine is back!
  6. The perfect use of New Order’s Blue Monday as the trailer’s soundtrack.  Hopefully, this won’t be a case where a song only appears in the trailer!

Now, just from looking online, I can see that some people are already trying to do the whole “here’s the political subtext of Wonder Woman 1984” thing but you know what?  There will be time for that later.  You’ve got a while to go before the movie comes out so, if you’re so obsessed with politics that you have to bring it into everything, you’ll have plenty of time to do that and bore everyone silly with your analysis.  For now, let’s all just enjoy the damn trailer!

Music Video of the Day: True Faith by New Order (1987, directed by Philippe Decouflé)


As is the case with many of New Order’s songs, the meaning of True Faith depends on who you ask.

True Faith has long been assumed to be about the sense of detachment felt by users of heroin, an interpretation that was denied by New Order’s bassist, Peter Hook.  As he told Songfacts, “‘True Faith’ features some of the best New Order lyrics in my opinion, but no, it is not about heroin, that is not something that any of our lyrics ever touched on. I think it’s clear to see though that the lyrics do reflect being under some sort of influence.”

However, in an interview with Q Magazine, lead singer Bernard Sumner said that, though he had never used heroin, he still wrote True Faith from the perspective of someone who had.

Regardless of what it’s about, True Faith is one of New Order’s most popular songs.  It’s my second favorite, after Blue Monday.

As for the video, it was directed by the French mime, dancer, and choreographer, Philippe Decouflé.  Starting with a slap fight to end all slap fights, it also features a person in green makeup hand signing the song’s lyrics.  According to Wikipedia, the video was inspired by an earlier video performance piece that was done by the Serbian performance artists, Marina Abramović and Ulay.  I’ll have to take Wikipedia’s word on that.

Philippe Decouflé went on to direct the video for the Fine Young Cannibals’ She Drives Me Crazy, as well as choreographing the opening ceremony of the 1992 Winter Olympics.

Music Video of the Day: Touched By The Hand of God by New Order (1987, directed by Kathryn Bigelow)


23 years before she made history as the first woman to win the Oscar for Best Director, Kathryn Bigelow directed this video for New Order.

The video features the members of New Order as you’ve never seen them before.  With the band’s long hair and the codpieces and the explosions going off in the background, you might think that an aging glam metal band is trying to rip off the British new wave sound.  Instead, it’s the members of New Order, wearing wigs and poking deserved fun at the bands like Poison, Cinderella, and Great White.

While New Order performs, Bill Paxton runs through traffic and makes out with Femi Gardiner.  Bill Paxton was everywhere in 1987.

Music Video of the Day: Blue Monday 88 by New Order (1988, dir. Robert Breer & William Wegman)


I turned on this video in order to write about it for Monday, but became so hypnotized by its imagery that I couldn’t write till today.

I felt it was critically important to watch several forgotten early-90s thrillers in order to write about this video.

I felt it was better that Lisa do it because of Tobe Hooper’s passing.

Or I’ve been having difficulty eating and sleeping, which really caught up with me on Sunday afternoon.

Unfortunately, it’s the fourth one, and it’s still going on as I write this, so I may be in and out for awhile. We shall see.

Anyways, Lisa jumped in yesterday and spotlighted the one music video I’m aware of that was directed by Tobe Hooper–Dancing With Myself by Billy Idol.

If I had to wager a guess as to how he ended up directing that video, then I figure it probably went one of two ways:

  1. He was a fan of Generation X (Idol’s band prior to going solo), and ended up getting in contact with Idol to film the video. Then he brought on the cinematographer who shot The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) and did uncredited camerawork on The Funhouse (1981)–Daniel Pearl.
  2. Or it went the other way, and prolific music-video cinematographer Daniel Pearl suggested they hire Tobe Hooper.

No matter what the reason, I’m sure Hooper and Pearl having collaborated before had something to do with it.

How they ended up shooting it on a set from a production of Ann Jellicoe’s punk rock-themed play The Sport Of Mad Mad Mother is a mystery to me.

Something else that’s a mystery to me, is how and why there are at least four different music videos for Blue Monday made in 1983, 1984, 1988, and 1995. Not versions of the song. Actual videos made for those different versions. No, I am not going to try and track them all down right now.

I could embed an okay-at-best cover version of this song that was done by HEALTH for the movie Atomic Blonde (2017) to try and tie it to something recent, but I’d prefer to embed the video of Orkestra Obsolete playing Blue Monday using nothing but instruments from the 1930s. I find that much more interesting, and by doing so, I won’t be lying by implying that movie is the reason I’m doing this video.

For me, the dog is the biggest selling point of this video.

I’m not sure if I want to know how it got so good at balancing.

The dog’s name is Fay Ray. Not only can this dog balance on a chair that is balanced on another chair, but she was able to catch the tennis ball her mouth.

Lead-singer Bernard Sumner couldn’t do it.

Yes, I’m sure they pulled it away at the last second. Nevertheless, it did appear to nearly hit Gilbert, so there seems to have been a fair amount of randomness to that part of the video. I’m kinda disappointed that he didn’t snatch it out of the air with his mouth.

Director and photographer William Wegman owned Fay Ray along with three other dogs named Batty, Chundo, and Crooky. They would all go on to teach kids the alphabet in 1995’s Alphabet Soup.

Wegman did sketches for the video, and the other director, Robert Breer, is the one who did the hand-drawn animation.

While I’m not sure I want to know about the training Fay Ray went through, I am curious as to what Gillian Gilbert is looking at in this shot.

The only other thing I have to say about this video is that I am completely perplexed as to why it appears to be comparing the dogs ability to balance with her ability to balance.

Maybe you’ll have better luck figuring out the video than me.

Maybe you’ve read Breakfast Of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut–where they got the title from.

Or maybe you’ll just sit back and enjoy it as I do.

Information on the song, and it being re-invented over and over is easy to find on Wikipedia and Songfacts.

Enjoy!

Music Video of the Day: Bizarre Love Triangle by New Order (1986, dir. Robert Longo)


From the book, I Want My MTV:

Michael Stipe: Robert Longo was one of the premier painters coming out of New York. We wanted to upset the visual language of videos, and that’s what we got with “The One I Love.” He was referencing Renaissance paintings, rather than Madonna. I saw the video he did for New Order’s “Bizarre Love Triangle”–he interrupts it about two-thirds of the way through with a scene out of a movie, where a woman stands up at a table and says, “I refuse to believe in reincarnation, because I will not come back as a bug or an insect,” a guy goes, “Well you’re a real up person,” and then it slam-cuts back into the song. I don’t think anyone had ever interrupted a song, cut to something, and then cut back to the song.

That’s quite the memory Stipe has. He still misquoted the video, but he was really close. That part actually goes like this:

“I don’t believe in reincarnation because I refuse to come back as a bug or as a rabbit.”

“You know, you’re a real ‘up’ person.”

I can’t find out who the third person in the room is, but the other two are well-known.

The first is Jodi Long. She’s been in a bunch stuff, and is still acting today. She was in Paul Schrader’s Patty Hearst (1988), which Lisa reviewed yesterday. I didn’t pick out this video to go with that review. I didn’t know till I went to write this that there was even a record of who these two people are.

The second is E. Max Frye. He has done numerous things over the years. You probably know him best as co-writing the screenplay for Foxcatcher (2014), which earned him an Oscar nomination.

Stipe says that this part is from a movie. From what I’ve read in other articles, that part was shot for this video. If this was a film, it is still undocumented on IMDb. The only time I can find on IMDb where Long and Frye worked together was on the film, Amos & Andrew (1993). That film was written and directed by Frye.

Nightflight’s profile of New Order videos had this to say about Bizarre Love Triangle:

For the video for “Bizarre Love Triangle,” released in November of 1986, New Order turned to New York-based director and visual artist Robert Longo, who claimed that the music of Joy Division and New Order were very influential on his work.

Longo would end up giving New Order a very experimental film as a promotional video, with fragmented vertiginous fast cuts, infused with color, which were then merged together visually competing ideas.

One of those ideas included men and women in business suits are seen falling through the air, something he’d based on his own set of lithographs called “Men in the Cities.”

Another of the other ideas Longo pursued was the use of visually appealing panels of Longo’s own art, which are then interrupted by a “bizarre love triangle,” a black and white melodrama scene with Asian actress Jodi Long and Oregon-based screenwriter and filmmaker E. Max Frye arguing emphatically about reincarnation.

They also go on to say that the shots of the band were filmed when they performed live “in the hills of Italy.”

Director Robert Longo appears to have made only one feature film. He directed Johnny Mnemonic (1995).

The video was produced by Michael Shamburg. Shamburg produced quite a few videos for New Order. He’s also has producer credits for a lot of well-known movies such as The Big Chill (1983), Reality Bites (1994), Gattaca (1997), Garden State (2004), and Django Unchained (2012).

According to Peter Hook of New Order in the book I Want My MTV:

We met Michael Shamburg when he filmed us playing in New York, and we gave him more or less complete artistic freedom to do our videos. Michael’s a big producer now–he did Pulp Fiction and Garden State–and he introduced us to interesting directors: Robert Longo, Kathryn Bigelow, Philippe Decouflé, Robert Frank, William Wegman, and Jonathan Demme.

Enjoy!

Music Video of the Day: The Perfect Kiss by New Order (1985, dir. Jonathan Demme)


Rest in peace, Jonathan Demme.

New Order is a band that was formed by the remaining members of Joy Division after the death of lead singer Ian Curtis. To most people, they are probably best-known for their song Blue Monday. That’s how I know of them. I think this is the first time I have heard another song by them.

Obviously the video is notable for the fact that it runs just short of 11 minutes with credits. Visually, there is a disconnection between the members of the band, and themselves with their instruments. There isn’t even a shot of the whole band together till halfway through the video. There’s a solemn mood about the whole thing–from the walls, to the looks on their faces. It was apparently shot in the band’s practice room. You can see a Joy Division poster in the background, which adds even more sadness to the whole thing.

From what I have read, this was a live video. That would explain why their isn’t a lot of glamour here. Maybe if this were on a stage, and in front of an audience, then it would. But this is just in their practice room. There is a nice article over on Billboard magazine’s website that goes into more detail than I can, but it boils down to the same thing. It is a noteworthy live video that captures New Order–warts and all–performing an exhausting composition live, alone, and far from any kind of glamour or artiness of a Blue Monday ’88 or Regret. If I had to guess, the disconnection was intentional in order to visually convey the separation of the different artists’ parts in the song, the concentration that purges the individual to a well-oiled machine, and the fact that some of the song was performed on the fly, while other parts were pre-programmed.

Enjoy!