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falderal : a moving images blog

Archive for the ‘Music videos’ Category

Duran Duran – My Own Way ; 1981/1982

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

Directors: Russell Mulcahy

I was a bit unimpressed with this video because “Girls on Film“‘s video was so elaborate. This video seemed like a combination of “Careless Memories” and “Planet Earth“‘s video with the German Expressionist-like background and the focus on band members. Not only that, but the dancers were also reminiscent of the dancers in “Planet Earth”, but I guess this is pretty explainable since the director is the same.

What I did like was the editing for this video and the Mondrian-esque bits added a fun effect to the video, which complemented the song. The quick cuts matched the beat of the music, so I thought that was pretty neat. Other than the editing, there weren’t any references to the lyrics in the song.

I like to imagine that this video isn’t much of a marketing tool (unless the goal was to sell eye candy, in which they did succeed, in my opinion) but something you’d watch while dancing to the song and eventually, it will just be playing in the background.

Hm… I think that’s really it. I feel rather underwhelmed and don’t know what else to say.

I was happy to see Nick smiling a lot in this video because he looks so cute when he does. As he gets older, he seems to smile less and less in the videos, which makes me feel pooped. Everyone looks better while smiling!
I was also amused by the parrot strutting on his synth and also making an appearance next to Roger’s drum set. I wonder what Nick would have done with the parrot took a dump on his synth. Immature thought but it was a thought that crossed my mind for a second while watching the video.

Duran Duran – Girls on Film ; 1981

Monday, July 1st, 2013

Directors: Godley & Creme
Original air date: July 13, 1981

For some reason when I rewatched this video, it left me cold. Maybe I ate too much lunch so my brain was dead, but I remember my first impressions when I saw the video for the first time. I remember thinking that it was quite funny, was a bit shocked by the suggestive scenes, and loved the model acting like a sumo wrestler because her hairdo amused me. However this time around, I felt nothing. Maybe I’m just thinking too much these days, which is taking out the fun in watching anything. Lately I’ve been feeling quite a bit of indifference to things that I’ve watched.

I liked how the video showed the camera and the band members back-to-back so that the viewers become aware that it’s not just girls who are on film, but the boys as well. I loved how John Taylor was getting primped up and Nick Rhodes was checking himself out in the mirror; I thought it was quite appropriate and was sort of like a role reversal in regards to how these behaviors and actions are stereotypically attributed to women. Sadly (for me), there are more instances of seeing other people than the band members, which means that my attention is drawn away from the band members (let’s not kid ourselves, all I wanted was Nick) and onto the characters doing various things. I thought it was quite hilarious how these women were shown as dominant and yet they are still subservient since they are playing these roles in front of the band members. It doesn’t help that the band members said that all they cared for was checking out the models — you can’t really blame them since they were in their late teens. Hell, I’m in my early twenties and I still fangirl. Interestingly enough, the males who are doing the “looking” aren’t the band members (they’re just performing) but they are the men who are eventually beaten up by the women. It’s a little bizarre how the set design makes it appear as if these female models and male actors are performing for the band members and yet it also appears to be that the show piece are the characters and the band members are just there to provide music for the scene. I guess everyone wanted to play the decoration role in this video.

I know that music videos don’t need to complement or have anything to do with the lyrics to the song, but I thought it was pretty tongue-in-cheek to show these one-dimensional female models/characters when the song (from what I understood) is sympathetic towards female models. The following lyrics

“Girls on film (she’s more than a lady)”

“There’s a camera rolling on her back, on her back. And I sense the rhythm humming in a frenzy all the way down her spine.”

“The diving man’s coming up for air cause the crowd all love pulling dolly by the hair, by the hair. And she wonders how she ever got here as she goes under again.”

made me think that the song was about how female models are seen as objects without any substance and how they are used by photographers. Yet here we are watching this video that shows women being objectified for our pleasure and we don’t really care for the women and what they have to go through. At the end of the video, we see these women retreating behind the scenes and having a good time so why should we really care for these women anyway, right? In this sense, I do think that this dichotomy created by the video and the lyrics is quite brilliant.

One more thing: I love Nick’s hair in this video! I am loving how his hair changes from video to video, although I am going to assume that his hair is going to be same throughout the travelogue videos. And I never understood why people thought John was so handsome until I watched this video. Look at him in the screencap!!! What a dreamboat.
I’m just going to give up using last names and refer to the band members by their first names from now on. I’m so inconsiderate, presumptuous, and rude, hahaha.

Duran Duran – Careless Memories ; 1981

Saturday, June 29th, 2013

Directors: Terry Jones, Perry Haines

Ah, “Careless Memories”! How I love this song because of the lyrics; they’re probably one of the few Duran Duran songs that I relate to and it’s probably the ~eternally angsty teenager~ side of me that makes me think fondly of this song.

Going to the video…

Call me mean, but I found this video absolutely hilarious. It was my first time watching it and I was surprised by what the video entailed. I enjoyed it so much because I loved how cheesy it was in so many parts (ref. Picture 1) — even the lighting added to the corny factor of this video. It was very similar to “Planet Earth” in that there isn’t much to look at except for the members, and I swear to God, I bet that all Duran fans watched this just to see Simon Le Bon’s overacting. I can’t hate the video for Le Bon’s acting because I felt like even he wasn’t taking the video very seriously and I always see Le Bon as a big jokester. There were so many time when I chortled and this video made me love Le Bon even more. He was so dreamy in the 80s and his hairstyle in this video suits him very well. I wish that he stuck with the hairdo since it’s so flattering on him (although between us, I not-so-secretly like Le Bon’s hair in the Big Thing era!)

Visually, nothing caught my eye. That’s a lie, because I looked forward to close ups of Nick Rhodes throughout the entire video. There just wasn’t enough of him, which was a big, fat shame because he looked so good in this video! I want to pet his fluffy hair… and look at his sleeves!!! I want that blouse in my closet. I fangirled every moment Rhodes came on the screen because he looked fabulous and he smiles in this video too! No one can deny that the man has a beautiful smile — it’s just too bad that he rarely shows it in pictures (ref. Picture 2). I am starting to wonder if all I’m going to end up doing in my future blog posts is to mention Rhodes and what I think of him in the videos. I wouldn’t be surprised if I do.

On a serious note, the only ~cinematic~ things that caught my eye was the possible use of a crane to get a close up of Le Bon and the freeze frames of the flowers being shown. In all honesty, the freeze frame flower bits were the most interesting things in the video because of their suddenness, and it complemented the frustration mentioned in the lyrics.

What I noticed in regards to Duran Duran videos that I’ve watched was that if I like the song, I’m usually disappointed by the music video. I can’t really blame anyone for this, especially with such an early video, but the songs that I like usually have videos that I’m not too fond of. I got through “Careless Memories” easily because I thought that Le Bon made it really fun (I couldn’t help but dance along to the video) but then I think about “Save a Prayer” and how much I dislike that video (will talk more about that when it’s time to write about it). However, my fault is that I expect things without knowing what I want so I can’t even write a good criticism about this video. If someone asked me, “What would you have done differently?” I would just derp and run away.

Such were the thoughts when I watched this video.

Duran Duran – Planet Earth ; 1981

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

Directors: Perry Haines, Russell Mulcahy

Just to clear some things before going into the post, I am using original air dates and posting about music videos from information given to me by Katy of Ask Katy or information that I’ve gleaned from the Duran Duran Wiki.

Now that’s all cleared, onto the post!

I have been working on this post for 2 weeks now and I admit defeat. I am probably going to look back at this entry when I’m 40 years old and go, “What in the world?”

As for the video, I have mixed feelings about the “Planet Earth” video but in the end, I absolutely love it. Here is the thing. I love pretty things and people but then there is the other side of me that says, “You were a film studies major for Christ’s sake. YOU CAN’T JUST LOOK AT SURFACES.” But the thing is, as much as I like to learn, I also like to admire something that is pretty and not to think much about it. How I react to nice visuals changes from situation to situation and sometimes, I just want to like something for superficial reasons, and that is the case with “Planet Earth”.
On the one hand, I wish that the music video was more ~interesting~ (like their video for “The Chauffeur”), but truthfully, I love this video because I get to see the band members in their prime in regards to their looks. There are close ups of every member and I get to just feast on these pretty boys. And is there something wrong with that? There probably is and I’m sure much can be said about “the gaze” but all of that goes out the window after I see Nick Rhodes in a frilly shirt and a nice jacket. I share the same sentiments with Andy Warhol when he said, “Oh I really like their videos, they have the best videos. They didn’t have enough of Nick Rhodes on that peace record though; there’s a lot of Simon on it but Nick just comes in at the end.” — that’s how I feel about every single Duran Duran video. THERE IS NEVER ENOUGH NICK RHODES IN MY LIFE. Yes, it is the truth and I don’t care about content when there are pretty things to be seen. I think my guilt is assuaged because I find many of Duran’s videos to be about admiring nice things and that whatever I see in these videos are meant for my pleasure. I also found something on Ask Katy, which I found to be a bit funny. A fan asked why Roger Taylor is the topless one in the beginning of the video and he answered, “I can’t think of any reason why i [sic] was chosen for the opening shot other than I was the only one prepared to take my shirt off and bare all!” Yep, bare it all for us fans! Woohoo!

I think that’s really the worst though. The fact that I don’t tend to care much about my thought process and dismiss it alarms me a bit at times (as you can tell from this ramble and probably all my blog entries). I guess I can make myself feel better by saying, “I’m looking at manufactured pretty boys! I’m doing what I’m SUPPOSED to do.” I’m a brainless robot.

The video makes it so easy to consume the band members that critical thinking goes out the window when I watch the video. It starts with a topless R. Taylor and from there, it is a visual feast of the members, especially of Simon Le Bon. The lines that pop up next to the topless Le Bon draws the viewer’s eyes to Le Bon’s face so that all we can do is stare at him and sigh in contentment. I guess that this isn’t all that new with music videos, since older music videos that I’ve watched also featured the band members prominently.
I suppose that there isn’t much guilt in regards to consuming these pop stars because the music is so catchy and easy to take in. What I do find interesting is that in their earliest video, there isn’t much objectification going on in regards to women. Sure, there are those New Romantic dancers (male and female) and the woman who is next to Simon (ref. Picture 2), but she’s there for such a little while and most viewers are probably caring more about the band members than the woman. The woman may play the usual “decoration” role, but I can easily brush it off since the band members themselves are more interesting and decorative than the woman.

What I like seeing in moving pictures are references to the past, and I am thinking that the “Planet Earth” video took some visual cues from Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari (1920). I like to see this as a nod towards the role that music videos will play in Duran Duran’s career, in that the band is taking a risk in investing something that is new, which in turn will open doors for them. Dr. Caligari‘s set design was different than what was normally seen in silent films at the time and Duran Duran’s increasingly elaborate videos were something new too. Not only that, Duran Duran’s videos became highly associated with them, just as German Expressionism, and particuarly Dr. Caligari, became a hallmark and icon for German cinema. Also, the Expressionist style of Dr. Caligari came from budget issues, so I wonder if Haines and Mulcahy chose this style also for budget reasons too… Hmm…


Andy Warhol quote source: Fiona Russell Powell