A long while ago in god’s age of 2013, I did a brief review of MTV channels I watched. It was sort of enlightening to see what videos the premium video channels would play but it didn’t really answer what exactly MTV et al. were selling. (I was also really fucking wrong about HAIM. So wrong.) Obviously the main MTV channel couldn’t give a shit about music videos, which you already know. (They do run music videos in the very early morning, in case you needed to see Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” on a television channel at 5am.) That said, the channel they famously founded in the late 80s for the purpose of airing music videos while MTV expanded their content still runs videos at more reasonable times in the morning. This is the examination of VH1 + Music. (Oh god that music block name.)
Bleachers — “I Wanna Get Better”
I watched VH1 for about an hour plus and this video played three times. Someone must be putting some dough in VH1’s coffers. (It’s RCA.) Unfortunately, the most I learned about Bleachers, the less I felt the happy response I do have to this song. Pop songs about the struggle with depression should be a new norm. Pop songs are about idealized delusion anyway, so at least have an anthem for the post-Robin Williams set. The video directed by Lena Dunham doesn’t really present this all that well.
Nico & Vinz — “Am I Wrong”
much african desert imagery
band was founded in norway
Stopwatch: Neon Trees – “Sleeping With A Friend”
To explain, Stopwatch is a regular segment VH1 does where a band performs 60 seconds of one of their songs. Now to Neon Trees, I fucking hated “Animal.” This is better. Maybe I won’t get told by the lead singer to go back to bed.
OneRepublic – “Love Runs Out”
Here’s the thing, OneRepublic is awful. But for some reason, their new songs at least figure out that a back beat is more fun than maudlin bullshit. This is still not good as the lead dude oversings like hell and ruins a good thing, basically. The video is nice green screen, I guess.
Charli XCX – “Boom Clap”
I have a massive crush on Charli XCX. This song is no good. So I could talk about Charli’s lovely hair, which is crazy good. Unf.
Pharrell feat. Miley Cyrus — “Come Get It Bae”
You remember how you watched the video for John Legend’s “You and I” and started weeping because it was a well done portrayal genuinely inclusive of all types of women? Well, this is if that video was just traditionally attractive women (and Miley Cyrus) were dancing for Pharrell. It’s like peppy dancing version of Exterminating Angels. Kind of gross. Oh, the song’s not terrible. Finally someone is figuring out limited Miley is generally pretty great.
American Authors — “Believer”
The indie pop movement in mainstream pop is so fucking tiring and actually makes me actively hate the artists that led us down this path. Every song is four shitty white guys with a song obsessed about a hook and nothing else. Which I guess is just integration with some of the more poppy of the independent set. This isn’t THAT much different than Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. but was Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. actually good? I’m starting to doubt that. Oh, the video? Looks like if Bridge to Terabithia was a piece of cowdung.
Meghan Trainor — “All About That Bass”
Look, this song is great and it’s cute as hell. It’s fantastic that we’re actually talking about weight in pop music and that Meghan Trainor could be a legitimate star. I also like that the song admits that skinny women have as much of a problem with body dysmorphia as others do. But here’s my question. What is the difference in bass and treble? Is it the rumble? The movement? What is bad about the treble? Most people hear the treble and like the treble. Still a good song, though.
Clean Bandit feat. Jess Glynne — “Rather Be”
I kind of hate appropriation of other cultures in music videos. It usually ends in an alarming fashion that doesn’t really help the party being appropriated. In this case, it is a British electronica group appropriating Japanese culture. And yet? This isn’t bad. The use of the Japanese here is in the context of a modern society. This reads a bit like Avicii’s “Wake Me Up” video in the basic theme of normal life being wrecked by dreams of a super house concert extravaganza. But unlike the “Wake Me Up” video, it doesn’t use conventionally attractive white people as “the ones suffering from normal life.” Song’s a little stronger, too.
Kongos – “Come With Me Now”
I heard this song through the most surprising of places: as the “theme song” to the WWE Extreme Rules pay-per-view event. You see, WWE takes a random song that seems like it would be popular and that I guess “fits” with the fictionalized violence the best. Sometimes they are way off, like when they choose any Kid Rock song past 2005. But apparently they were right on the money here as far as a song that became a hit on the pop charts and that they probably got at a good price at the time. Oh, you wanted to know about the song/video? It’s alright, I guess.
(Stopwatch: Chvrches — “The Mother We Share”)
Not quite as well polished as the video version I got super obsessed with for a short time last time we talked about videos.
Ed Sheeran – “Don’t”
Please explain Ed Sheeran. Is his appeal that he talks about shitty subjects with ridiculous singer-songwriter earnestness? Did we need another Jason Mraz when the current one’s trying to stay relevant? Either way, this song is a massive departure. For one thing, it sounds like a pop song circa 2002 and not an easy listening song circa 1991. And then Ed is sort of rap-singing? Ah fuck everything.
John Legend – “You & I”
This video makes me cry so much that I’m going to ignore the incorrect grammar in John’s song title. Also, he had this exchange about Ferguson, Missouri. You are all forgiven for “All of Me.” Because holy shit. Also LAVERNE FUCKING COX. And when everyone smiles, I lose it. You’re a good dude, John Legend. Stay in all of the lanes. We need you in pop music.
Kiesza — “Hideaway”
80s ballad with electronic trappings and an attractive redhead in suggestive suspenders. I mean, it’s pop music in 2014. So whatever. And this is her album cover. Apparently the label is just a New York independent. Not bad. I get the appeal.
Magic! — “Rude”
lol. nope. Never needed a Max Landis expy to suddenly go all Bob Marley with a rebel boyfriend song.
Colbie Caillat – “Try”
So the new trend is to do that John Legend video over and over again with diminishing returns. John Legend’s video is effective in that in as the video goes on, the images of womanhood fit incredibly with the message. And to Colbie’s credit, her song is simply about liking yourself as opposed to a nebulous narrator having to like you. But it’s Colbie Caillat so it doesn’t work the way it should. Colbie shows women taking off their makeup/extensions/et al. and the obvious realization is that these women are all still beautiful. This is strong. But I also kind of think it doesn’t hit home the message if we’re seeing an obviously attractive Colbie Caillat taking off her makeup to reveal a normal looking (but still conventionally attractive) lady. I mean, it’s a good effort and if the “dude singing about women” vibes throw you off of John Legend’s work, then this might be your speed.
Childish Gambino — “3005”
I like this song a good bit. I wish Donald Glover would not be obsessed with the rap career path and most of his songs feel like he is trying far too hard to shed his comedic image. But “3005” is an interesting effort. I will say that it is curious that a video that essentially ends with Donald Glover’s character’s (assumed) suicide to air so soon after the raw nerve of Robin Williams’ passing and I don’t really know if Donald Glover looking dead eyed is a thing we needed. But, you know, that’s the world, man.