Search This Blog

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Fromage-Fest - The Cheesiest Music Videos Ever

Since I made the decision to give up the Thursday Confessional, I have been trying to come up with a new theme for this and every Thursday from now on. And, it's been a bit of a challenge. So, for right now, Thursdays are sort of one of those “hodge podge” categories, where I'm talking about whatever happens to be in my mind at the time.

And what is going through my mind right now is music videos that used to air on MTV and MuchMusic before Snooki and her Jersey Shore pals took over the network.

When MTV premiered on August 1, 1981 (and when MuchMusic debuted in Canada on September 1, 1984), it marked the beginning of a brand new era in the world of music. Prior to 1981, music videos did exist, but they were more or less concert performances, or appearances filmed on television programs such as “The Ed Sullivan Show”, “American Bandstand”, “Solid Gold”, “The Midnight Special”, or “Soul Train”.

The very first video played on MTV was The Buggles' “Video Killed The Radio Star" (not this version though), and since then, thousands of music videos have been created.  Almost overnight, it became the number one method of promotion for a new single by an artist or a band.  Many musical acts took advantage of the medium known as music videos, and many were considered works of art.  Madonna and Michael Jackson were among some of the biggest stars of music video, as were Janet Jackson, Peter Gabriel, U2, and the Beastie Boys.

But for every "Take On Me", "Like A Prayer", and "Thriller" that was released, there were also videos that we wondered why they were even made in the first place.  Some music videos were so terrible that many of them stood out from the rest...and not in a good way.

So, for today's post, I thought that I would take a look back at some of the cheesiest music videos that I have come across in my thirty-one years on this earth in a blog post I like to call "Fromage-Fest".

Now, I suppose you might be wondering why I have entitled this piece "Fromage-Fest".  Well, I'll tell you.

In Canada, our version of MTV was called MuchMusic.  It was almost similar to MTV in that it played music videos non-stop (well, at least it did until approximately 2003), and it contained original programming that was music themed.  There were some differences between the two stations.  MTV had Total Request Live, MuchMusic had RSVP. (later changed to Much On Demand".  MTV had "Remote Control", MuchMusic had "Test Pattern" (ironically enough, the hosts of both shows are now deceased).  MTV had Martha Quinn and Mark Goodman, MuchMusic had Erica Ehm and J.D. Roberts (shown above).

And, yes, J.D. Roberts did grow up to become FOX News correspondent John Roberts.

At the beginning of the year, shortly after Christmas, MuchMusic used to have two annual traditions.  One was the annual tree toss, where they would take the Christmas tree that they had inside the main studios and throw it off the roof of the building into a dumpster.  The other was a retrospective look at some of the worst music videos of all time in a special entitled "Fromage" (which is French for cheese, in case you were wondering).

Oh, one more thing.  The Fromage specials were hosted by Ed the Sock.

Anyway, Ed the Sock was, to put it lightly, a dirty old sockpuppet.  He told it like it was, often with salty language.  If he hated a music video, he would make merciless fun of it, and explain why he was doing it.  These days, the Fromage specials have taken a back seat to a series of shows entitled "Video On Trial".  They're not bad, but I miss Ed the Sock's perspective because it was snarky...and deservedly so.

In fact, I'm going to try and take a page out of Mr. Sock's playbook (did I really just call him Mr. Sock?!?) and try to be just as snarky with some of these music videos.  Believe me, they need it. 

So, let's begin our look back at some of the cheesiest music videos of all time.  We'll start with one that got a lot of buzz last year.

VIDEO #1:  "Friday" by Rebecca Black (2011)

I'll just make one thing clear.  This isn't so much because of Rebecca Black that the video stinks.  Certainly the song isn't exactly Adele or Joss Stone here...but I'm cutting her some slack, as she is only a teenager, and I don't believe in bullying teenagers at all.  But the people who produced this video are fair game as far as I'm concerned.  Yes, I am well aware that the music video only cost $4,000 to make.  But I have a feeling that a better video would have been produced using a Smart Phone.  There was no need for the lame special effects, cardboard bus stop sign, constant auto-tune (I still would like to hear an unedited version of "Friday" so I can really listen to her vocal ability) and other oddities within this video.  I suppose I'm not surprised that so many people disliked the video, but in my case, it was less about the singing ability of Rebecca Black and more about the video production...or lack there of.

VIDEO #2:  "I'd Rather Jack" by the Reynolds Girls (1989)

Have you ever heard of the Reynolds Girls?  Me either, until about a few years ago.  Apparently they were sisters who scored a one-hit wonder in the United Kingdom in 1989 with this track produced by Stock, Aitken & Waterman.  I'm not entirely sure what "Jack" means as far as an adjective goes.  It could be something innocent.  It could be something obscene.  But what IS obscene is the accompanying video.  Go ahead and watch it.  It's like a bad train wreck, believe me.

So, where should I start with this one?  Apparently the message of the song is "screw your Rolling Stones and Dire Straits, I'd rather listen to something from last week".  And, in theory, the song does make a firm point about every generation having their own likes and dislikes of music.  Apparently the Reynolds Girls would rather "jack" than "Fleetwood Mac"...whatever that means.  It's just a shame that the horrible choreography distracts from that message.  I mean, seriously, in one scene it looks like they're trying to pick each other up using only their back muscles!  And in another scene, they actually give each other piggyback rides!  Who choreographed this mess, then three-year old twins Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen? 

Oh, and if you thought this video was the only dead horse people kept poking with a stick from the crew known as Stock, Aitken & Waterman, think again.

VIDEO #3:  "I Want You Back" by Bananarama (1988)

I was prepared to give the band a pass because this was the first video that the group shot after the departure of Siobhan Fahey, who was replaced by Jacquie O'Sullivan.  To re-record the song to replace Siobhan's vocals with Jacquie's was no easy task.  But then it was complicated further with a rather...interesting video.

You know, Bananarama had some rather awesome videos during their career.  "Venus" was fantastic.  "I Heard A Rumour" was probably one of their best songs with a video to match.  "I Want You Back" was  It felt like I was watching three different videos at once, none of which were related to each other.  Bananarama as the Supremes would have been a fine concept on its own.  Instead, we have the Bananas dancing in front of a boring blue background, random 60s garbed dancers, and some guy in a go-go cage doused in neon body paint.  I really could have done without that last one, thanks.

This next video is again, a Stock, Aitken, Waterman production, and this one pains me to add in, but I have to do it.

VIDEO #4:  "Hand On Your Heart" by Kylie Minogue (1989)

You know, contrary to what you might think, I do like quite a few Stock, Aitken & Waterman acts.  Bananarama (prior to "I Want You Back") were quite good.  I think that Rick Astley (aside from the Rickroll phenomenon) had a great set of pipes, and even disco diva Donna Summer recorded with the famous trio.  Of course I have a soft spot for Kylie Minogue (who also happens to be a celebrity crush that I have), and most of her songs are fantastic.  But then I watched this video, and I was like, HUH?

Now, I will give Kylie a few allowances.  This was filmed in the period after her cutesy-poo "I Should Be So Lucky" phase and before her "Better The Devil You Know" sex kitten phase.  Consider 1989 Kylie's "puberty" phase in regards to her music.  Not a girl, not yet a woman.

Oh, wait.  That's Britney Spears, never mind.

Really, there's nothing wrong with the song itself.  The video is a bit weird.  Is it just me, or does the whole video set look like it was stolen from Legoland?  Even the colour scheme of the video makes me think that it belongs in a Lego kit.  Though, I must admit, the matching dresses that Kylie periodically changes out of are a nice touch.

And, really, what is up with that annoying CGI heart that flies around Kylie like an annoying tsetse fly?  Whose bright idea was that one anyway?  That's one heart that I would gladly break myself if I could.

You know, I seem to be unfairly picking on the female artists (and Stock, Aitken & Waterman).  Let's shift gears a bit by choosing a bad video by a male rock band.  Oh, here's one.

VIDEO #5:  "Rock Star" by Nickelback (2007)

I'm well aware of the fact that Nickelback is probably one of the most hated rock bands in the entire world for reasons that I still have yet to fully understand.  Believe it or not, I don't really have that much hate for the band.  I'll even admit that there are a couple of Nickelback songs that I can admit I like.  This is NOT one of them.

Well, I hope some of you can see the video, because apparently it is blocked in Canada (imagine that, a video by a CANADIAN band blocked in Canada).  Just one more reason to hate this video, I suppose.  Here's a LINK to a "hopefully" unblocked video.  The main problem I have with this video is simple.  Getting a bunch of people to lipsynch your song instead of performing it yourself.  Bad idea.  Getting celebrity guests such as John Rich, Kid Rock, Nelly Furtado, Wayne Gretzky, Gene Simmons, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Ted Nugent, and the Naked Cowboy to sell out to appear as themselves lipsynching a Nickelback video?  Worst idea ever.

VIDEO #6:  "Short Skirt Long Jacket" by Cake (2001)

Though I'd rather have people lipsynching to a popular song than TALKING THROUGH IT!!!  It's really unfortunate as well, because the song is fantastic, had a great beat, and I could easily listen to the whole thing on a road trip a bunch of times.  But I would keep my opinion to myself until AFTER THE SONG STOPPED PLAYING SO I COULD REALLY ENJOY IT!

VIDEO #7:  "Saturday Night" by Whigfield (1994)

I imagine that not a lot of you know this song, but those of you in Canada who picked up a copy of the MuchMusic compilation "Dance Mix '95" will know that this song was the first song listed.  I admit that as a fourteen year old boy who was really into techno and Hi-NRG music, I listened to this one a lot...but the video was disappointing.  It was just Whigfield singing in front of a mirror and styling her hair and getting dressed.  By the end, I didn't know whether I had watched a music video or a commercial for Avon.

VIDEO #8:  "Viva Forever" by the Spice Girls (1998)

I'll admit that I was never really a huge Spice Girls fan to begin with.  The only song that I ever liked of theirs was "Too Much".  And, yes, I am aware that the band had to scramble to make a video for this single because it was the first one after Geri Halliwell decided to quit the band.  This does not excuse the terrible video.  First, it seems contrived for two boys to go running after what looks like a possessed Corn Flakes mascot.  Then there's the fact that the Spice Girl fairies look like evil witches (Claymation is not flattering on them at all).  And, oh yeah, they abduct one of the boys by trapping him inside a giant Rubix Cube, and then having his friend sacrificing him to the great gumball machine in the sky.  Yeah, like that happens every day in England.  Does it?

VIDEO #9:  "Use It Up Wear It Out" by Pat & Mick (1990)

I have no words.  I really don't.

So, that's my list...and I tried to mix it up a bit so people of quite a few nationalities could be represented.

Now, I open the floor to you.

What are some of the cheesiest music videos that YOU have seen?

No comments:

Post a Comment