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Music Video Monday: “Heaven” Troye Sivan

Troye Sivan’s debut album Blue Neighborhood doesn’t qualify as a concept album, but it does explore a persistent theme of coming out and self-reflection on homosexuality. This one deals with a persistent unanswerable question and does feature what can be perceived as visual closure not evident in the lyrics. Enjoy!

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Music Video Monday: Nena’s Bilingual Balloons

Compared to some of the problems the world faces today, nuclear war induced by 99 red balloons seems innocuous. But it’s that very innocent incitement that made this anti-war anti-war anti-nuclear proliferation anthem a hit in the ’80s.

It’s worth remembering here on a Music Video Monday as it offers bilingual versions of its message (German and English) and two videos. Stepping back, even to admire heightened brooding of the 1980s (which I love) is always helpful. Enjoy!

“99 Luftballons” (Original German version)

“99 Red Balloons” (English Remake)

 

 

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A New Year’s Eve Party in a Post

“Is that crap almost over?”parents who are hiding out in the other room as their kids watch Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice ask themselves everyday, but also billions of people tonight wondering what time it is on New Year’s Eve.

For those in agreement about the latter notion, I figured I’d cobble some music video moments to make those final hours of 2016 a bit more tolerable. Some of these I featured on Music Video Monday posts, some are just good songs.

Let’s start by noting that Sarah Hyland can sing…

The kids in Stranger Things know how to pick music videos…

“I’m So Humble” from Popstar on The Voice

A Tribe Called Quest on SNL

George Michael sings “Somebody to Love”

David Bowie  “Changes” live, which features the lyric The Breakfast Club quotes.

Madonna & Prince “Love Song”

Now some Robin Packalen in English…

And since I’m working toward some BAM Award nominations, here are some  Best (Original) Song winners to add to the party…

2012 Ricky Koole “You Are the One” Kauwboy

2010 Never Say Never Justin Bieber (feat. Jaden Smith) The Karate Kid

2009 Quiero que Me Quieras Gael Garcia Bernal Rudo y Cursi

2008 A Capella rendition of Sweet Child O’Mine by Tom Davis, Kathryn Hahn, Lurie Poston and Elizabeth Yozamp in Step Brothers

2005 America (Fuck Yeah) Team America: World Police

2004 Vois Sur Ton Chemin The Cast (Soloist: Jean-Baptiste Maunier) Le Choristes

2003 Toi, mon amour mon ami Virginie Ledoyen and Ludivine Sagnier 8 Femmes

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Music Video Monday: George Michael

This one clearly, sadly, qualifies as an In Memoriam also. Though we all know that 2016 has featured some shattering losses, this is one I can write some about because George Michael did mean something to me growing up. While, yes, I enjoy Prince’s work (making this random post in early 2016), and Bowie’s there was not the connection on a personal level for me.

As is often the case, this connectivity hit home for me more later on than during my formative years. So far as the links I perceived at the time:

  • Yes, I had a jean jacket.
  • Yes, I did my own attempt at the wiggle-dance (far less convincing than my interpretive dance set to “Into the Groove” or my imitation of Axl Rose’s “snake” dance)
  • Yes, I even thought the boots worked for him if for no one else.
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Yes, this is a play but is not that far off my look (2nd from Left, front row, bandana-clad). 

As tends to be the case when one is young, impressionable, and wont to react in fear and revulsion at new things; I was repelled from Michael in part as he drifted from the ever-present limelight but also when he was coming to terms with his sexuality and dealing with depression,  into my early-20s stuggling with my own identity. It’s not a wonder that as I spent my purgatorial time in denial I went to knock his persona from that pedestal down some even if I didn’t know why.

My longing for discretion and so-called normality allowed more puritanical and uninformed impulses to dominate my sentiment toward him. Moreover, it made me make a mistake I am loath to make: confusing artist and man. Not to mention that posthumous reporting has shown he was frequently charitable but didn’t brag about it.

However, once I began to more fully understand, and embrace both myself, and understand some issues pertaining to gay culture and him personally (namely how he did didn’t run and hide from the scandal that officially outed him, but instead lampooned it), my view of him altered.

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With time away from tabloid headlines I was left to wonder: “OK, with all this new awareness in societal (which followed my own), why aren’t more of us saying ‘damn, he’s good!’

Hence, it comes as no surprise that I got a great kick out of his prominence in Keanu.

So this film showed he had some legs as someone who could be believably revealed to tough guys in a goofy comedy. However, he and Wham! made their  cultural impact along the way. Just take a look at the video for, and two parodies for “Wake Me Up (Before You Go-Go).”

Aside from that his videos were also statements: straightforward, restrained, and performance-driven for the most part, and iconic for it.

He was directly responsible for the impact of “Faith” as he directed it, a fact I just learned.

But these weren’t the only songs and videos of note. Here are some more…

Last, but not least, there’s the now-rare modern-era Christmas classic “Last Christmas.” The coincidence of his departing this world on Christmas Day is lost on no one.

 

If this isn’t enough to convince you he had a film legacy, consider the IMDb lists him on over 200 titles.

His art will live on, as will his impact, whether it was fully appreciated at the time doesn’t matter. What does is that he has made an impact, has been of influence, and continues to be.

Rest in peace, George. 

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Music Video Monday: Finn Wolfhard edition

What the world needs now is Stranger Things. Since Netflix can’t see fit to give that to us now, the next best thing we have are the kids in music videos. I recently wrote of Noah Schnapp’s appearance in an amazing video. Then I read Finn Wolfhard is now in a video, and I inadvertently watched an older one first. So here are both of them!

Facts “Retro Oceans” 

Pup “Sleep in the Heat”

DISCLAIMER: It’s a sad dog movie.

 

 

The Movie Rat

Music Video Monday and an Update

Recently I created a political blog on this domain to have as place to vent in that arena and free my focus for cinema, it would be cathartic. It will not be included in typical update notifications

Why the idea of a political blog, and doing more in general, has come back to the forefront of my thoughts is not just because of the unprecedented craziness of the 2016 election cycle but is one that’s a bit older and I’ve come to embrace.

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Long before the lie of WMDs in Iraq was exposed I was debating doing a serialized story on a daily basis called Why We Fight giving a nod to the Frank Capra film series produced by the US Government about World War II. This version would have been about the nightmare I and others felt it would be, not to mention the tenuousness of our aims and the flimsiness of our pretense for war.

At that time, I had no platform to have it ready for, our involvement in Iraq was not televised to the extent that Vietnam was, so we didn’t live with it in the same way, and I would’ve run out of steam. Keeping a daily idea going from 2003 thru 2010, when active combat ended, is a bit like Sisyphus trying to get that boulder up a hill.

Perhaps the main reason that wouldn’t have been the most suitable idea for a series is that it would be a portrait of despair at a dystopian present with no prescription for remedy. Remedy is the operative word. There are dysfunctions in our democracy that we can cite until we’re blue (or red) in the face but unless we’re willing and able to discuss and push representatives for changes to try and address them it’s nothing but a bunch of bluster, I will add a bit about how to most successfully make that push today.

So that blog will be an attempt to seek active solutions. It will start with a pep talk tomorrow to get the dejected off the matt, and move into calls for action soon thereafter. In the meantime, enjoy this contribution for Music Video Monday.

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“Life During Wartime” from The Talking Heads concert film Stop Making Sense directed by Jonathan Demme, a song whose lyrics have inspired stories of mine in the past and gotten me through some difficult days. Enjoy!

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Music Video Monday: 30 Minute Break- Luka State

Introduction

I’ve debated starting this theme for a few weeks, and I ultimately decided I would as it would encourage me to looks for options that actually fit what I’m aiming for. If one pays too much attention to Top 40 type music you tend to see a dearth of creativity in the music video form. The music video is spawned from short films and can be as creative if not more so than their predecessor. Far too often it does just become singing heads. I want to try and buck that trend and find ones both new and old that do something somewhat outside the box, at the very least have some sort of visual narrative. Here we go.

30 Minute Break by The Luka State

This is another great one that puts its narrative, a portrait of a couple in crisis, from and center and does not offer facile closure but leaves the par at a crossroads. It also features a great performance by actor Thomas Brodie-Sangster.

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Music Video Monday: Vahva by Elastinen (feat. Robin)

Introduction

I’ve debated starting this theme for a few weeks, and I ultimately decided I would as it would encourage me to looks for options that actually fit what I’m aiming for. If one pays too much attention to Top 40 type music you tend to see a dearth of creativity in the music video form. The music video is spawned from short films and can be as creative if not more so than their predecessor. Far too often it does just become singing heads. I want to try and buck that trend and find ones both new and old that do something somewhat outside the box, at the very least have some sort of visual narrative. Here we go.

Vahva by Elastinen (feat. Robin)

This is a video by Finnish rapper Elastinen featuring international Finnish pop sensation Robin. The video has some great lighting, uses all exteriors, features an interesting motif of still photos hanging from a line alluding to the past, and crosscuts from the singing to a narrative that reflects some of the somberness of the lyrics but also offers a ray of hope.

Here’s an amateur translation of the lyrics.

After your last departure, I thought I was tasting death

But those who knew better told me ‘that which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’
Now I should be unbelievably strong
and my feet should stay firmly on the ground
even though every breath I take reminds me of you

The music plays alone
I don’t want to go and listen to it anymore
Now life is slipping away (from me)
And I can’t break the current
Every hour is eating away at it

Others you can separate from,
Some you just cling to
And then there are those
Who become a noose around your neck

But I believe that everyone eventually meets
Someone you star will lead you to
But what happens to those who lose their guide?

The music plays alone
I don’t want to go and listen to it anymore
Now life is slipping away (from me)
And I can’t break the current
Every hour is eating away at it

The music plays alone
I don’t want to go and listen to it anymore
Now life is slipping away (from me)
And I can’t break the current

The music plays alone
The empty room salutes with its echo
Now life is slipping away (from me)
And I can’t break the current
Every hour is eating away at it

Enjoy!

 

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Music Video Monday: Treat You Better – Shawn Mendes

Introduction

I’ve debated starting this theme for a few weeks, and I ultimately decided I would as it would encourage me to looks for options that actually fit what I’m aiming for. If one pays too much attention to Top 40 type music you tend to see a dearth of creativity in the music video form. The music video is spawned from short films and can be as creative if not more so than their predecessor. Far too often it does just become singing heads. I want to try and buck that trend and find ones both new and old that do something somewhat outside the box, at the very least have some sort of visual narrative. Here we go.

Treat You Better – Shawn Mendes

In the afterword in Stephen King’s End of Watch he makes a note that the National Suicide Prevention hotline number he included in the story is real. Similarly, Shawn Mendes’ video Treat You Better which crosscuts between his plaintive lyrics and soaring vocals to an abusive relationships in all ways possible. It ends with a title card with a site and number for the National Domestic Abuse Hotline. Rhythmically and aesthetically its as sure-handed in its message as it is powerful.

Enjoy!