The death of the music video

There’s a lot of things that bother me about television these days.  Aside from Showtime and HBO channels (and the occasional great show on regular network television), everything is a reality show.  Everything!

What bothers me most is that channels like MTV, MuchMusic and MuchMoreMusic (alas, I do fall into that channel category now!) play like 80% stupid reality television, and the rest is left to music videos.  These days, you’d be hard pressed to find a really great music video that breaks new ground.

I loved music videos growing up – especially videos from artists who knew how to use the format and be fearless and innovative.  For me, it was an event if Madonna or Michael Jackson released a new music video.  I remember scanning MusiquePlus (allo, Quebec!) for full days at a time just so that I could catch their latest.  Oh, to have time to burn!

These days, you have someone like Lady Gaga, who mind you can actually sing well, but makes herself known for her unique videos.  I agree – they are definitely talk worthy and memorable, but to me there is nothing new going on with her – she’s not reinventing the wheel here – unlike the artists that have come before her.  I think the reason why people do talk about her videos so much is the very fact that there is a drought where original music video art is concerned – of course someone like her is going to stick out!

So, it is because of this that I have decided to think of my Top Ten favorite music videos.  Here are four of them now (in no particular order):

Alanis Morissette – Hand In My Pocket

This is a shitty remix of a simple, great song.  But, the images from the video remain in tact. I love this video for many reasons – representation of a kind of middle America, the choice to shoot the vid in black and white and the simplicity of movement.  It feels like a memory.

Kanye West – Love Lockdown

This is officially the last great music video I have seen.  Haunting, such a white set, a constantly moving camera, stark African imagery.  Beautiful.  Amazing song.

Madonna  – Bedtime Story

I’d be hard pressed to just pick one Madonna video that is great.  She has so many.  This is probably in my top two faves of hers.  As someone wrote in the comments on this YouTube page, this is not a video – it’s a work of art.  Mark Romanek (this video’s director) is a revolutionary in the music video genre.

Janet Jackson – Got Til’ It’s Gone

Before that travesty at the Super Bowl and thereafter, Janet used to make some amazing music videos as well.  This is by far my favorite of hers.

 

Stay tuned for more….

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Why I hate the “Glee” GQ Photos

I love “Glee”.  Ever since the show premiered last May, I was hooked.  Here is a show that manages to be funny, poignant and smart at the same time.  I’ll never forget watching the pilot episode and having the same feeling that I had when “Freaks and Geeks” (my beloved)  first aired – quirky, unique, new….and will be cancelled in no time.  I’m glad to say that I was wrong about that aspect concerning “Glee”.  Now in its second season, the show is showing no signs of waning in popularity.

What makes the show so great is its representation of the underdog.  The characters on the show are all misfits in some way, and they have the power of song to overcome any personal obstacles that they have in their lives and manage to soar higher.  The show plays with stereotypes (the cheerleader, the jock, the nerd etc.) and manages to be subversive in its depictions.  Great stuff – can go on and on about how much I love the show.

So, imagine my shock to see stars Lea Michele, Dianna Agron and Cory Monteith posing for these photos for the latest issue of GQ:

Huh! What is happening here!

WHAAT!??? What is she doing?!?!

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

I hate these photos, and the media coverage about the uproar regarding them is only making my annoyance for these photos worse!  I had to write something down.

I truly feel that these photos are the complete antithesis of what the show is about (therein lies the joke, perhaps)!  Listen, I consider myself a pretty open minded guy, and I do acknowledge the changes in my view on things since I’ve become a father.  But, these photos are ridiculous and completely horrible for young people to see.  Yes, yes, I know that these three actors are not really teenagers – but they are portraying teenagers on TV but actual teenagers are looking up to them – and if they see these girls in such provocative poses and clothing, well then it must be “cool” to do the same.  This is not empowering – this is sheer stupidity.

Had these photos been shot with a nice dose of irony, well I would have been the first person to rally around this whole thing.  But this depiction is not ironic at all.  It’s a testament that we still have a long way to go as a media savvy society and its depiction of men and women.  A long, long way.

Thanksgiving 2010

It’s Monday evening. and Thanksgiving weekend has come and gone.  Another great one.  My lovely inlaws came to visit and we made our way to Chudleigh’s apple farm once again this year for some apple picking.  We had taken Lea last year and sort of placed her in different camera shots near an apple tree, holding an apple etc.

Man, this year was a totally more hands on experience – which was great.  Lea was walking around, picking apples, tripping on apples, eating apples.  Observing my little girl doing all these things, I couldn’t help but remember Thanksgiving 2008 when Mara and I got the positive results of our pregnancy test.  Where has the time gone?!

So, Thanksgiving will always have a big meaning for me – and watching Lea grow is truly the treats of all treats.

She’s starting to add to her repertoire of words as well.  We can now add “juice” to the mix.  This morning, as my sleep filled eyes squinted towards the TV and picked an episode on Treehouse (a television staple in our house now), she turned to me and sweetly said “No.”  I laughed hard – boy, did that wake me up!

This particular weekend, over the last little while, has always meant a lot to me.  The autumn in the air signifies comfort and hibernation at the same time, and it makes me think of many different things.  Happy thoughts, sad thoughts – they all seem to come to a head over Thanksgiving.  I do have so much to be thankful for.