Music Video of the Day: Angels On My Side by Rick Astley (2016, dir. Michael Baldwin)

Happy April Fools’ Day!

It was practically a given that I was going be doing a Rick Astley music video today. I only considered doing Never Gonna Give You Up by Musical Youth for brief moment. That’ll have to wait for another day.

As you may or may not know, Rick Astley is making a comeback with his album called 50. The second single off of the album is for Angels On My Side. Oh, Rick. You sly devil. That also goes for everyone who worked on this video.

The video starts off, and we see that Rick Astley has been brought to a shipping yard to be executed by Guy Ritchie gangsters. But while they thought they were bringing Rick to a place of death, they were really taking him to a place of salvation. In other words, the gangsters have been rickrolled.

That salvation comes in the form of The Angels who emerge from a shipping container.

That’s when we find out what Rick has been up to behind-the-scenes all these years.

That’s right. Rick has successfully combined the backup dancers from Together Forever…

Together Forever by Rick Astley

with the T-Birds.

Grease (1978, dir. Randal Kleiser)

That, or director Michael Baldwin hired dance troupe Sparkle Motion, and Marianne Machin choreographed them. However, the connections between this, Together Forever, and Grease (1978) were clearly intentional.

The most obvious is that The Angels are with Rick forever–being angels and all.

There’s the kiss.

Together Forever by Rick Astley

Together Forever by Rick Astley

When you watch both videos, you’ll notice that she and Rick raise their eyebrows when they are kissed. In his case, they snuck up on him. In her case, she points to her cheek where she expects a kiss.

In the dancing you can see everything tied together when The Angles do this:

It would just be a standard dance move, but they happen to do the same thing at the end of Grease when they are singing We Go Together.

Grease (1978, dir. Randal Kleiser)

This is one of the few music videos I’ve ever seen that has credits at the end.

I would say “proper credits”, but I don’t see one for Rick Astley’s car in there. No really, that’s his actual car. Thanks to Michael Baldwin over on Promo News, we get several bits of behind-the-scenes information.

“One utterly remote dusty location, seven kooky dancers, two dangerous actors, several cold pizzas, no easy toilet access and looming sunstroke. That’s the glamour of music videos in 2016.”

“Despite the odds, it was a brilliant day and Rick was an absolute delight. We even used his car as a prop, which was completely covered in dirt by the time we all waved him off at the end of the day. I’d worked with the dancers, Sparkle Motion, before but always wanted to make something that featured them a lot more. And along came this perfect opportunity. Damn, I love those girls and Marianne, who came up with the routine, is an absolute legend. A real angel, even….”

They didn’t stop with the actual music video when it came to being clever. Take a look at the behind-the-scenes video below because you will see Rick get rickrolled by his own song while trying to talk about the video, and they never cut back to him to finish explaining it.

We do find out, before Rick is interrupted by Rick, that this was shot in Essex, UK.

There’s one last thing to notice. As Rick is walking away from the scene, The Angles pop in and out as the camera cuts.

I don’t know if that was intentional or not. It could have been since The Angels are otherwise invisible. Given when they are shown, I’m leaning towards that it was done on purpose.


Musical Sequence of the Day: “Notorious” from Donnie Darko (dir by Richard Kelly)

For today’s musical sequence of the day (which is a temporary feature that I’m doing until Val’s internet is working again and she can return to doing her music videos of the day), we have the “Notorious” scene from 2001’s Donnie Darko.

In this scene, Sparkle Motion performs onstage while, miles away, Donnie Darko (Jake Gyllenhaal) burns down the house of creepy motivational speaker, Jim Cunningham (Patrick Swayze).  Playing throughout this scene: Duran Duran’s “Notorious.”

Why does Drew Barrymore hate Sparkle Motion?

This is the second scene from Donnie Darko to have been featured in this series.  Check out the “Head Over Heels” scene here.

(And yes, one reason why I love this scene is because I very much related to it.  Sparkle Motion is perhaps the most realistic part of Donnie Darko…)