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Music Videos
music cues, music associations, back-up singers, earthquake dances, Bizarro self-pardon,
and more than 40 top musicians, bands, and composers with YouTube links

music videos

Music Video Review
Make A Statement
June 30, 2018

This month I've reviewed 27 music videos with 8 additional music videos mentioned plus several movies in 14 posts for the Hopes and Dreams - Music Video Spectacular. I'm not done. Next!

The Cars' music video Drive takes a short ride of emotions.
The Cars - Drive (1984) with Paulina Porizkova
A group of people were listening to the unreleased music for the Heartbeat City album at Cars' manager Elliot Roberts' house in 1984. Next-door neighbor and actor Timothy Hutton was there. The next day Roberts asked Hutton what he thought of the new music. Hutton talked about Drive and what he visualized for a music video. Roberts talked with Ric Ocasek and the next day told Hutton they wanted him to direct the music video. For two days the next month Hutton was directing the video at Astoria Studios in New York, with The Cars and model Paulina Porizkova.

Starting from a pool table pocket, the video surveys a closed bar. A man sings while sitting at a table. A woman in a white shirt dress draws on the white wall behind her while sitting in a heap. Another man in a smoking jacket smokes a cigarette. The bar people are mannequin memories. The woman plays with her hair until she sees a masked figure. The man in the smoking jacket asks the woman a question. She answers emotionally. He responds angrily. The view from above spins them backwards. She sits and cries. She laughs but cries. The Cars are only mannequins on stage. Signs say, “Happy Hour 5-7pm” and “Oldies Nite.” The woman watches from a window and turns away.

It's one of those music videos that oddly needs the music to understand the visuals. When put together, the you in the song is the woman, Paulina Porizkova. She's the poor thing that needs to be cared for, driven home, picked up, and paid attention. The upshot of all of it was it brought Porizkova and Ocasek together, presumably to have him take care of her in all those ways.

4 stars

Waterfalls by TLC (1995)
Some music videos have high ideals, using their platform to address the issues of the day. 

In 1995, the HIV epidemic and illegal drugs were the subjects of TLC's Waterfalls directed by F. Gary Gray. In the slot canyons of the city, a mother pleads with her son. He leaves and his drug deal goes bad. As he lays on the sidewalk, his mother's spirit cries over him. Amidst the throaty lyrics, a couple has unprotected sex. He's not looking well. A picture frame slideshows a medley of her boyfriends. The son's ghost tries to hug his mother. The boyfriend disappears. The girlfriend disappears.

4 stars

From 2017, Logic's music video 1-800-273-8255 is about the lack of support for a young man struggling with acceptance due to his sexuality. Ultimately, he calls for help.

The video had 276 million hits, and calls increased to the suicide hotline.

1-800-273-8255 by Logic (2017)

3 stars (he took too long to call)   (He took too long to call.)

Sometimes the ideals are smaller in scale.

United Breaks Guitars is the 2009 story of how United Airlines baggage handlers broke musician Dave Carroll's guitar.  The full break down is at the United Breaks Guitars wikipedia page.

That's about it.

Dave Carroll - United Breaks Guitars

2 stars

Now we're at 31 music video reviews for a month that only has 30 days. One extra! And yet I barely mentioned Michael Jackson and am only now mentioning either Britney Spears or Madonna (Borderline & Vogue).

Music Association: Madonna - Borderline

Music Video Review
June 29, 2018

Stylo - the 1969 Chevy Camaro which gave itself 2 stars
A smoking, black 1969 Chevrolet Camaro sped down Ghost Town Road between Calico and Barstow, California. A big white star highlighted each of the two doors, while a wealth of bullet holes decorated the driver's door. Stylo in silver ornamented the front grill. The subsequent lack of air-flow required (let's say) a tri-butterfly hood scoop to feed an otherwise choking V8 engine. Murdoc drove, while 2-D rode shotgun (let's say). In the back seat, Cyborg Noodle dealt with a bullet hole in her forehead. They are chased by a cherry-red 1968 Chevrolet El Camino driven by a shiny-headed Bruce Willis, who gives the camera a look.

This is the 2010 Gorillaz music video Stylo, directed by Jamie Hewlett & Pete Candeland.

Where are they going? I don't know. Why are they being chased? I don't know. Why is Bruce Willis involved in this? Because he's Bruce Willis, dammit.

Some music videos are just campy fun.

Bruce Willis gives a look
Bruce Willis gives a look. If he were purple, he'd be Thanos.

You don't have to understand.

The Swedish Chef of the Muppets performs PopcornThe Swedish Chef from the Muppets doesn't always speak clearly enough for anyone to fully understand. I used to know a guy who looked like him. The Swedish Chef provided an instructional Popcorn music video with performance assistance by Bill Barretta in 2010.

Popcorn was once performed by Hot Butter and was made available through K-Tel's 22 Explosive Hits - original hits by the original artists - album. Except Hot Butter was not the original artist of Popcorn.

Gershen Kingsley was the composer of Popcorn on a Moog synthesizer. I used to know the president of Moog, but that doesn't change my revulsion at The Princess Bride synthesizer soundtrack by Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits. An old woman in the crowd of peasants cried out, “Boooo!

This is starting to sound like a VH-1 Pop-Up video... informative... in a word association kind of way.

Music videos often handle romance in a naturally campy way.

A man met a woman and invited her to take a ride on his yacht. So then he rowed her in a rowboat named, “Myott.” They capsized, a shark approached, and they end up on a deserted island about ten miles from Paradise Island.

The 1986 Huey Lewis And The News music video for Stuck With You, directed by Edd Griles, had everything: adventure, comedy, romance, and danger.

The junglescope filmed Roar by Katy Perry from 2013 has all of that too, plus 2.5 billion views. Directed by Grady Hall and Mark Kudsi, Roar was a strong message for women but at the expense of animals. Animals are not props, especially not elephants. Nature does not need to be out-roared.

Stuck With You & Roar

Music Association: Gorillaz - Stylo

Hopes and Dreams

Music Cues
Star Wars
June 27, 2018

Movie directors are like people... regular people... they do things in all sorts of different ways. Some directors just tell composer Danny Elfman to do what he always does at the regular price. Some directors tell composers or sound directors some specific music they want at specific points in the movie. Sometimes the music cues are given in a written form, sometimes it's pre-mixed digitally, or decades ago it was shared on tape.

Star Wars lore has a great deal of information and many documentaries about the making of Star Wars (A New Hope). The weakest points in the behind-the-scenes stories are about the final edits with Marcia Lucas and about the music cues given to John Williams. If I were interviewing George Lucas, I would have a gazillion questions about these two subjects (2 gazillion total). It has been said that George Lucas wanted Gustav Holst's The Planets as the Star Wars soundtrack, and John Williams talked him out of just using The Planets as a reference. Having read and heard about all the other aspects of the decisions behind Star Wars, I doubt it was that simple.

Here are some guesses about original music cues for Star Wars:
Star Wars - Main Title                          =    Erich Korngold - King’s Row 1942 film  (theme link, comparison link)
Star Wars - Rebel Blockade Runner     =    Gustav Holst - The Planets - Mars, the Bringer of War (1:24)
Star Wars - Dune Sea                           =    Igor Stravinsky - The Rites of Spring  (16:32)
Star Wars - Dune Sea (Sandcrawler)    =    Sergi Prokofiev - Peter and the Wolf (grandfather = bassoon)  (11:11)
Star Wars - Rescue of the Princess       =    Igor Stravinsky - The Rites of Spring (4:06)
Star Wars - Last Battle (X-Wings)         =    Leighton Lucas - Ice Cold in Alex 1958 film (1:20)
Star Wars - Last Battle                         =    Gustav Holst - The Planets - Mars, the Bringer of War (6:56)
Star Wars - Throne Room                    =    William Walton - Orb and Septre  (0:02, 1:45)
Star Wars - End Title                            =    Erich Korngold - King’s Row 1942 film  (0:53)

(The numbers in parentheses are time marks in minutes and seconds, with links to that part of the music on YouTube, for your convenience.)

I could easily be wrong about all of these inspirations. If nothing else, this list could further discussions.

Hole In The Wall from 1929 - Star Wars Leia's Cinnamon Buns Hair
Hole In The Wall film from 1929 with Cinnamon Bun hair might have provided inspiration for Princess Leia's hair.

Darth Vader conducted the Rochester Symphony
Darth Vader directed the Rochester Symphony performing the Imperial March from Star Wars last year in Rochester, Minnesota. The audience appreciated Mr. Vader's work.
Star Wars death star

Music Association - Mecco - Star Wars Medley

Hopes and Dreams

Music Video Review
June 26, 2018

My favorite songs are never my favorite music videos. Too much of me is in my favorite music for music videos to try to capture. I could make (and I have made) my own videos to my favorite songs, but what would be the point of talking about them, since I certainly couldn't share them without violating publishing rights? Most favorite songs are stuck with the visuals of imagination.

I always have songs or clips of songs running through my head. It is how I communicate with myself (and others). Some people think. Some people talk. I play mental music. It's my way of thinking.

There is usually a music message in the mental music, a correlation with something going on with me even if not entirely conscious -- a music association -- like free association but with musical tools and scraps. It has provided a very relevant soundtrack to my life. Music is my soul, the building blocks and language of who I am. All kinds of music are used without discrimination, but lyrics are used much more than instrumentals.

If having 24/7 music associations running through your mind were a desirable feature, I would be the master craftsman of music. What has surprised many people who know me is that I am not constantly listening to music. It's tough to explain. I am and I do, it's just not music that they can listen to too. Oh, I could provide a running commentary of the music in my mind, but it can be hard to keep up at times and can be far more emotional than I appear to be.

This is why I don't criticize other people's music. It's like criticizing other people's heartbeats. It's their music. It's their heartbeats. I don't have to listen. And it makes them go.

It's weird.Morricone - Tchaikovsky - Beethoven

Music is the bread of my life, and humor is the butter or honey. At times, it almost seems the other way around, but I can't imagine functioning without music. Even in a coma, there would be fragments of songs.

So when you read my posts on music videos (posts that have already been posted) I hope you'll understand that what I don't explain is the humor. Explaining humor is poking a balloon with a pin. It is un-fun.

Fun with Classical Music
Classical music videos are not necessarily boring any more than contemporary music videos are necessarily interesting. Classical music can be fun.

When the Danish National Symphony Orchestra played the theme to the movie The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly, they had a body hanging from a rope as a nearby reminder to stay in key... even on the Wa-Wa's. Ennio Morricone's music conducted by Sarah Hicks is interesting to watch at least partly due to the vocal percussions, guitars, chorus, bells, and the guy on the wood boards. Morricone really threw the kitchen sink into this work, giving it a richness that in someone else's hands could have easily been a cluttered yard sale.

Wet fingers make the music of Pyotr Tchaikovsky's Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy on a glass armonica played by William Zeitler in 2007. The glass armonica is a weird collection of bowls spun on their side that was invented by Benjamin Franklin in 1761, based on the Italian word armonia, which means harmony. Franklin described it as having “tones incomparably sweet beyond those of any other.”  Tchaikovsky's Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy from the Nutcracker in 1892 sounds like it was written for the armonica, but it was written for the celesta, a piano-looking instrument which Tchaikovsky described as having a “heavenly sweet sound.” The Nutcracker only gained popularity in the late 1960s in North America.

Ludwig van Beethoven used Ode To Joy in the fourth movement of his Ninth Symphony from 1824. Beaker of the Muppets, performed by Steve Whitmire, took on Beethoven's Ode To Joy in 2008.

Music Association: Ludwig van Beethoven - Ode To Joy

Hopes and Dreams

Music Video Review
Simple Music Videosmusic videos
Not So Simple Origins

June 23, 2018

Some of the most iconic music videos are also the simplest: a face, a set of faces, a set in a white room, a set in white but not a room, and a set in a public bathroom.

A Face
A music video can be career defining. Sinéad O'Connor's Nothing Compares 2U was that kind of video. It's mostly just O'Connor's face as she passionately sings the song written by Prince, with a locked-off camera and a black background. The John Maybury directed video seems to be shot in one take, with added scenery video at the beginning, middle, and end, with shots from her I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got album cover. At about 3:50, O'Connor teared up, as she thought of her mother who had died in 1985 from a car accident.

A Set of Faces
A music video can launch an industry. Music videos were fathered by silent films with locally added music (piano, organ), cartoons designed to sell songs (Looney Tunes, Merry Melodies, Fleischer Screen Songs...), musicals, Blackboard Jungle, and The Beatles' A Hard Day's Night. But there was only one Mama. Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody was scheduled to be performed at Caird Hall in Dundee, Scotland, but the band was concerned about trying to lip sync such a complex song, so they created a video in the evening of November 10, 1975. Inspired by the drummer's idea to bring their second album cover to life, director Bruce Gowers started shooting after work at 7pm and finished in time to hit the pub before it closed at 11pm. Other than fading transitions, all video effects were done on film at the time of the shooting. The effect of Freddie Mercury's face cascading away (during the echoed words “magnifico” at 3:27  and “go” at 3:56) was video feedback by pointing the camera at a monitor. The honeycombed illusion (repeating between 3:18 and 4:12) was created by filming with a six-sectioned honeycomb lens. After five hours of editing and a total cost of less than $7,000 (£4,500), the video was aired on BBC's Top of the Pops. At six minutes from start to gong, the song did not fit the mold for a successful single. The success of Bohemian Rhapsody made record companies take notice of promotional videos. It also led to Bohemian Rhapsody by the Muppets and Bohemian Rhapsody on handbells.

A Set in a White Room
Life is a do over. Paul Simon's You Can Call Me Al with Chevy Chase was a replacement music video. The first video was a monitor view of Simon performing the song on the Saturday Night Live stage at Rockefeller Center. It was dull. You Can Call Me Al debuted on Billboard's Hot 100 at 83 and only made it to number 44 before dropping back down the 1986 charts. SNL executive producer Lorne Michaels helped Simon by talking to Chevy Chase. The revised video is set in a white room with pink lighting. The door at the back opens. Simon and Chase enter at the same time and briefly get stuck in the door. They sit down, shake hands, and Chevy Chase lip sync-interrupts Simon, taking over the song. Simon mostly sits and waits to join in on the chorus as a backup singer or to play an instrument. Simon leaves the room three times. Directed by Gary Weis, Chevy Chase's head is partly out of the frame several times in the video, as if the shots had been framed for the shorter Simon. At 1:59, Chase drops a cup of water through the drum holder. At 2:15, Chase catches the penny whistle tossed by Simon and pockets it. At 3:45, Simon fakes the impossible bass guitar riff. The impossible bass guitar sound was performed by Baghiti Khumalo on May 10th, 1986. Simon extended the sound by adding the recording forward and backwards. At 4:20, Simon cracks up at turning to sing into Chase's trumpet.

The story behind “and Betty when you call me, you can call me Al” came from a running joke between Paul Simon and his then-wife, Peggy Harper. They were at a party with fellow guest Pierre Boulez, the French composer-conductor. As Boulez prepared to make his exit, he tapped Simon on the shoulder. “Sorry I have to leave, Al,” he said with civility. “And give my best to Betty.

A Set in White but not a Room
Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It) by Beyoncé has her and two other dancers in black leotards and heels dancing in a white studio. A simple, choreographed dancing video inspired by the Bob Fosse-choreographed 1969 performance of Gwen Verdon and two other dancers in “Mexican Breakfast,” which had gone viral on the Internet in 2007. The 2008 Single Ladies, directed by Jake Nava, became its own Internet sensation with copies and parodies.

A Set in a Public Bathroom
As a location on a budget, nothing beat the Los Angeles city hall women's bathroom on a Sunday, partly because the men's room wasn't big enough for the crew filming Jewel's Save Your Soul. Geoff Moore directed the video and hired friends to play characters at $50 each.

Jewel told Entertainment Weekly, “The bathroom idea was my concept. I had read a bunch of treatments, and realized none of them were necessarily me. I grew up outdoors and in nature, and I found the only place in cities I could be alone was the bathroom. I would honestly go in there just for breaks. And I always loved the people watching. All different economic groups have to use the restroom: poor people, rich people... I would go into my little stall and be overwhelmed, and I had dirt from Alaska that I carried in a little Tupperware container, and I would smell it. And I had cottonwood balm that smells like the valley where I’m from, and it was just a little place of meditation. That’s why I made one of the stalls in the video an altar with candles and vines growing up the sides. It was my only way of centering myself.

Another good version of Save Your Soul was from a karaoke bar featuring Karen from frozen foods who only sings at Christmas parties.

Music Associations: Sinéad O'Connor - Nothing Compares 2U, Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody, Paul Simon - You Can Call Me Al, Beyoncé - Single Ladies, and Jewel - Save Your Soul.

Hopes and Dreams

Music Video Review
The Dark Side of the Rainbow
June 21, 2018

She's A Rainbow by the Rolling StonesWhat I've been doing is providing a spectrum of juxtaposition. To me, there are distinct categories and histories that help to understand music videos. While I'd love to just highlight the finer colors of music in action, national issues darken many discussions.

Yes Please Productions and ABKCO Music & Records created a music video 50 years late for the Rolling Stone's most joyful song, She's A Rainbow. Better late than monochrome.

Not all music videos are record industry productions. Some clever people matched up Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon album with the Wizard Of Oz from 1939. They created a video and called it the Dark Side Of The Rainbow. The album has to repeat about two and a half times to match the movie, but otherwise the juxtaposition is interesting... for at least the first hour.

Music Association: Rolling Stones - She's A Rainbow

Hopes and Dreams

Music Video Review
This Old Heart
June 19, 2018

This Old Heart by Rod Stewart and Ron IsleyThis Old Heart Of Mine was an Isley Brothers song twice remade by Rod Stewart. The second remake was in 1989 with Ron Isley. The music video of Rod Stewart and Ron Isley was directed by David Hogan. Not a great deal of care was taken in the making of this video and that might be why I've always liked it.

When I think of this video, the first thing I think of is Rod Stewart's dancing. I like Rod Stewart, I know some of his in-laws, but I'm being generous by calling his bug stomping “dancing.” I have sympathy for Ron Isley.

The second thing I think of are the backup dancers in green vinyl. They are steps above the models in Robert Palmer's Addicted To Love from a few years earlier.

Lessons were learned.

The backup dancers were not given weapons (the guitars) to bop the singer in the back of the head. And just to be safe, the models were moved waaaaaaaaaaaaay back. If Ron and Rod were in the Twin Cities, the backup dancers were in Wisconsin, for insurance purposes.

The backup dancer in the blonde wig was South African actress Musetta Vander. She was one of the three sirens in O Brother Where Art Thou. Vander was also Zander's teacher who was actually a preying mantis in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (oops spoiler -- men lost their heads).

The video doesn't take itself too seriously. It employs oodles of green screen cutouts as if it were the last lesson learned by film student editors. If you watch the video about six to ten times, you'll see little odd-ball moments like Rod and Ron marching to the side, and Ron looking to the director incredulously.

Music Association: Rod Stewart & Ron Isley - This Old Heart Of Mine
five star music video

Hopes and Dreams

Music Video Review
A Hit With A Guitar
June 18, 2018

Duran Duran's Rio album by Patrick Nagel
The Art of Patrick NagelPatrick Nagel was an iconic pin-up artist of the early 1980s. Nagel painted ink-black haired women with thin gray lines as highlights. The women of his paintings had chalk-white skin, cherry-red lipstick, four-to-six inch earrings, in front of angular cool backgrounds of Payne's gray or periwinkle in an acrylic marriage of art and Nouveau Deco graphic design. Nagel's work looks effortlessly simple. It appeared in Playboy, Architectural Digest, and on Duran Duran's Rio album in 1982.

His assistant Barry Haun once asked the tall, quiet Vietnam vet what it was like to be shot at, and Nagel replied, “You learn to not take it personally.” His health plan of cigarettes, coffee, cheeseburgers, candy bars, and Pepsi caught up to him when he offered to do aerobics for the American Heart Association. He jumped around on television for 15 minutes, left, and died of a heart attack in his car. He was 38.

Nagel's art influenced media after his death in 1984.


Thirawit Boonthanakit was born in Thailand, grew up in Kenya, and moved to New York in 1978. Boonthanakit was the Nagel-inspired artist of the 1986 comic book series Micra.


While Duran Duran was on hiatus, guitarist Andy Taylor joined Robert Palmer (who quit his graphic design job in 1968) for the 1986 Riptide album. The album featured the song Addicted To Love, which was supposed to have been a duet with Chaka Khan.
Micra 3 art by Thirawit Boonthanakit
For the music video, British photographer turned director Terence Donovan stylized five women with Patrick Nagel art-inspired hair and makeup by Martin Pretorius. The models were told to act like mannequins but were also given guitar playing instructions and wine. The musician instructor quit after an hour. Standing in place and having her makeup retouched, model Mak Gilchrist accidentally hit Robert Palmer in the back of his head with her guitar, causing him to hit the microphone with his face.

The overall look of Robert Palmer singing in front of Nagel-like models was repeated for Palmer's music video's I Didn't Mean to Turn You On (from 1986 with 9 models), Simply Irresistible (from 1988 with 13 models),  and Change His Ways (from 1989 with animated model ducks). The style of these videos was repeated and parodied over and over by many others.

Robert Palmer died in a Paris hotel room from a heart attack after recording a television retrospective in 2003.

Robert Palmer and models play Addicted To Love in 1986..........

Music videos and TV appearances introduced a problem with music that radio never had -- seeing the musicians.

Replacing the band with models was one way of addressing the reality of musicians. It made some sense in the years before Vevo and YouTube.

André 3000 of Outkast took that to a whole other level (see previous post). This year's Girls Like You by Maroon 5 took that to a whole other level (see June 1st post).

And all of this has to make more sense than Bizarro-President Trump's immigration policy of separating 2,000 children from their parents and warehousing the children in former big box stores.

Music Association: Bonnie Tyler - It's A Heart Ache

Hopes and Dreams

Music Video Review
June 16, 2018

As a writer who makes his own greeting cards, it's weird that I was in a store recently looking at greeting cards. Even weirder still was my looking at Father's Day cards and Graduation cards without good reason for either. Back and forth I read between the neighboring card sections, until I lost track of which cards were which. I found it easy to turn a Father's Day card into a Graduation card with just a few words or letters changed.

Dad or Grad card Dad or Grad card

The original card says:
One Great DAD
You're the kind of dad who's always there with just the kind of love and support his family needs.
You're exactly the kind of dad today is meant to celebrate.
Happy Father's Day

The slightly altered card says:
One Great GRAD
You're the kind of grad who's always there with just the kind of love and support their graduating class needs.
You're exactly the kind of grad today is meant to celebrate.
Happy Graduation Day

I also drew a graduation cap on the camouflaged deer, but otherwise the revised card was nearly alike to the original.

If I were to categorize my favorite music videos, many of them have look-alike backup singers or backup dancers. Backup singers and dancers are often lost on stage at concerts but can be perfectly supportive of the bands in music videos. Not always, sometimes they wack the singer in the back of the head or they become a preying mantis or something, but I'll get to all that in a later post.

Often the backup singers and dancers look alike to some degree and have a less-than-Olympic level of synchronization. They don't always dance like they have had a rehearsal. They are not necessarily of one mind.

One of my favorite music videos and my first DVD ever was Hey Ya by Outkast, directed by Bryan Barber. The music video has backup singers, The Love Haters, who are dressed alike, to help them look alike, which was easy because all three were played by André 3000 (plus all five band members). It wore him out. He started by playing lead singer André “Ice Cold” 3000, the most dynamic of the eight performers and ended with guitarist Johnny Vulture being cool sitting on a stool. The back story was the royal green Love Below band was leading the American music invasion of Britain. More than 100 screaming female extras were cast as the audience, who stayed past their parts to watch André performing the song some of 23 times from start to finish.
Outkast - Hey Ya directed by Bryan Barber from 2003
Thank God for Mom and Dad
for sticking to together
'cause we don't know how

[the bridge - André 3000] - Hey, alright now
Alright now, fellas...
now what's cooler than bein' cool?

Hey Ya became the most downloaded song on iTunes in 2003, when iTunes became Windows-compatible, making it the first song with Platinum (one million) downloads.

It led to a revival of the Polaroid company, who gratefully and gently reminded customers that shaking a Polaroid can damage the picture.

Music Association: Outkast - Hey Ya
five star music video

Hopes and Dreams

Music Video Review
Bridge of Change
June 14, 2018

MPR raccoon rescued
The MPR raccoon (#MPRraccoon) that climbed a 24-story St. Paul building (with nap and stretch breaks) was rescued and will be released on private property in the southwest suburbs (not necessarily a paisley park).

The MPR raccoon seemed like an ideal photo-op for a nature photographer, yet my motto is usually let nature be natural. You know... wild not zoos, support habitats, no radio-collars... hang on while I swat a mosquito... so instead last night was a last hour visit to the 24th Street pedestrian bridge over 35W. The 24th Street pedestrian bridge, with its elevated view of the Minneapolis skyline, will be closed tomorrow and torn out. Something lower - less scenic is planned.

Minneapolis skyline from the 24th St bridge
people say good-bye to the 24th St pedestrian bridge over 35W

Watching the sunset from the bridge were people on bikes, people in strollers, some dogs, and people with cameras... not just cellphones... actual cameras, while drivers below honked “Hello.”

Small gold-fuzzy bumblebees were on the west end of the bridge, trying to kick people off. Apparently they think it's their bridge.
RunDMC - Walk This Way featuring Steven Tyler
In music, a bridge is an interlude between two main parts of the composition. The guitar lick in Aerosmith's Walk This Way is not a very good example of a bridge. The music video of Run-DMC's Walk This Way is a good example of a bridge between Rap music and Rock music, rising stars and setting suns. The 1986 video shows a seemingly solid wall between two practicing bands: Run-DMC and Aerosmith. Technically, it's not Aerosmith, just Steven Tyler and Joe Perry with other musicians in the shadows. It's the Aerosmith that Run-DMC could afford. Both bands practice their versions of Walk This Way. Tyler breaks through the wall and ends up performing with Run-DMC. The Jon Small directed video effectively empowered Aerosmith for a new generation, as it was Tyler who broke the wall, not Run-DMC, who were more like Tyler's backup singers.

Music Associations: Aerosmith - Walk This Way & Run-DMC - Walk This Way

Hopes and Dreams

Music Video Reviewupside-down and moving music video sets
Earthquake Dance
June 9, 2018

Elaine May was talking to Mike Nichols on-stage at the Walter Reade Theater in New York.

They talked about making movies, the Weinsteins, Giuliani, a Presidential administration ignoring Truth, and possible changes through the upcoming Congressional elections. It was 2006.

For awhile, Nichols dominated the conversation by asking four to five-part questions, with a whining voice clearly appropriated by Bill Maher. When Nichols finally lets her respond, what does he do? He gets out a white tablecloth from his pocket to wipe his eyes and nose.

About twelve minutes later Elaine May says, “We adapt very quickly to being treated very badly.

Right. That is partly the salvation of humanity... and its horror.

We should expect the best and hold people to a higher standard than they give us, instead of accepting school shootings, Presidential tantrums, democracy breaking, and calling it the New Normal. Who is more wrong: the people who freak out on planes or everyone who accepts bad behavior from airlines and airports?!? A dear friend in his 90s was on a flight to Hawaii to see his family. The flight attendants took away his oxygen tank. His health deteriorated rapidly, and he died within months.

Music videos dance in an upside-down world.
  • In 1951, Stanley Donen directed Fred Astaire in Royal Wedding, which has Astaire dancing on the walls and the ceiling to the song “You're All the World to Me.” Elaine May has been dating director Stanley Donen since 1999. Donen says he has proposed to her “about 172 times.
  • In 1986, Stanley Donen directed Lionel Richie's music video “Dancing on the Ceiling,” which used a bigger room and had more people dancing on the walls and ceiling but wasn't half as good. The light fixture, furniture, and doors of Royal Wedding made the room more believable, more normal.
  • In 1997, Jonathan Glazer directed the “Virtual Insanity” music video for Jamiroquai, with what appears to be a giant moving floor, but really it's the walls and the ceiling and the camera that are moving as one piece.
  • In 2016, Damian Kulash and Trish Sie directed the “Upside Down & Inside Out” music video by OK Go. The band and two acrobats are floating and spinning in zero gravity on many Russian S7 Airline parabolic flights.
In hindsight, it turns out we were always “head over heels” and “head over feet.”

Music Associations: Alanis Morissette - Head Over Feet
                            & Tears For Fears - Head Over Heels

Music Video Review
June 6, 2018

Think by Aretha Franklin from The Blues Brothers

President Trump thinks he can pardon himself, and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has reacted saying, No one is above the law. Trump started asking around if he could pardon himself at least as early as last July. The President really ought to think.

Bringing us to the second best song from the 1978 movie The Blues Brothers, Think by Aretha Franklin. It's a strong song. Sure, her lip-syncing is off, but she's concentrating on hitting her marks, while explaining things to Matt “Guitar” Murphy. Freedom means enjoying a system of checks and balances.

Music Association: Aretha Franklin - Think

Music Video Review
It's A Cartoon World
June 4, 2018

It's a cartoon world when the President thinks he can go pardon himself. (That's not what we told you to go do to yourself, Donnie.) He says what he thinks, and he's wrong, but he doesn't listen, and never learns, and continues to be wrong. He is Mr. Opposite. Everything he says and does is the opposite of right. When he is unsure, he contradicts himself to make sure he's wrong at least half the time.

He's like that character in Superman comics. No, not Superman, not Clark Kent, not Jimmy Olsen, not Lex Luthor... Bizarro.

Bizarro is a creature of destruction and opposites, either a villain or a hopeless idiot, take your pick. There is no in between.

Bizarro is a creature of destruction and opposites, just like President 45

Take On Me by A-Ha 1985The related music video for today is a crumpled cartoon distortion of reality in the squiggled lines of black and white absolutes, from 1985, A-Ha's Take On Me. We get dragged into a rotoscoped motorcycle race and chase by Steve Barron, who had also directed Michael Jackson's Billie Jean and Money for Nothing by Dire Straits. That's Steve Barron, not to be confused with Steve Bannon, who dragged us into a whole crappier crumpled cartoon (pardon my language).

Music Association: A-Ha - Take On Me
five star music video

Music Video Review
The Internet World Votes
June 2, 2018

The entire world is not on the Internet, but a whole lot of the world is.

The top YouTube videos are almost exclusively music videos. And the top YouTube video by far with 5 billion views is Despacito by Luis Fonsi, featuring Daddy Yankee, and directed by Carlos Pérez.
Luis Fonsi & Zuleyka Rivera in Despacito
Despacito is a video celebration of Puerto Rico and Latin American culture, showcasing the La Perla neighborhood of San Juan, while focusing on Luis Fonsi and Zuleyka Rivera. The rocky Atlantic coast, the colorful buildings, graffiti, chickens, dominoes, haircuts, and dancing are the daytime backdrop, while Fonsi and Rivera pose in the foreground. At nighttime, it's all about the dancing. Zuleyka Rivera is a telenovela actress and the 2006 Miss Puerto Rico and Miss Universe, who gave birth to her son in 2012 here in Minnesota.

The lyrics of the Latin pop-rap song are about a man... let's say, romancing a woman with innuendo: “Let me trespass your danger zones, until I make you scream, and you forget your last name.” It's either romantic innuendo, or it's comedy, or it's sexual harrassment. It all depends on the place, the people, and the moment. Despacito means slowly.

The music video was filmed in December 2016 and was released in January 2017.  By August 2017, it had 3 billion views. On September 20, 2017, Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico as a Category 4 hurricane with gusts of 113 mph hitting San Juan. La Perla was largely destroyed. To make a bad situation worse, FEMA had plastic tarp contractor problems and longstanding rules preventing them from giving aid to storm victims who don't have title to their homes as is often the case in La Perla. The music video became more of a record of what once was. And slowly became more of a description of FEMA and hurricane recovery.

Slowly might also describe money from YouTube, which doesn't pay creators based on views even though it charges advertisers either by views or ad clicks. Either way, if Luis Fonsi and UMG - Universal Music Latino aren't making millions, they should legally knock on YouTube's door.

The Four Most Viewed Videos on YouTube:
1. Luis Fonsi - Despacito (2017, director Carlos Pérez)  5 billion views
2. Wiz Khalifa - See You Again (2015, director Marc Klasfeld)  3.59 billion views
3. Ed Sheeran - Shape Of You (2017, director Jason Koenig)  3.54 billion views
4. Psy - Gangnam Style (2012, director Cho Soo-hyun)  3.16 billion views

Music Association: Luis Fonsi ft. Daddy Yankee - Despacito

Music Video Review
Maroon 5 - Girls Like You
June 1, 2018

Maroon 5 - Girls Like You with Rep. Ilhan Omar
Music videos can go in two directions. It can be all about the music or all about the video. Maroon 5's Girls Like You is the sort of song that is good, but the music video elevates it.

Adam Levine sings while a camera spins around him with a variety of famous women rotating out from behind him.

The women are Camila Cabello, Phoebe Robinson, Aly Raisman, Sarah Silverman, Gal Gadot, Lilly Singh, Amani Al-Khatahtbeh, Trace Lysette, Tiffany Haddish, Angy Rivera, Franchesca Ramsey, Millie Bobby Brown, Ellen DeGeneres, Cardi B, Jennifer Lopez, Chloe Kim, Alex Morgan, Mary J. Blige, Beanie Feldstein, Jackie Fielder, Danica Patrick, Minnesota's own Ilhan Omar, Elizabeth Banks, Ashley Graham, Rita Ora, and Levine’s wife and daughter.

Cool video. The best I've seen in a while.

The video was released yesterday and was directed by David Dobkin.

Music Associations: Maroon 5 - Girls Like You & Smithereens - A Girl Like You

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