Every time I hear Siouxsie & The Banshees' "Kiss Them For Me" (1991), I fall madly in love with Siouxsie Sioux, but her performance in the video takes it all to another level entirely. I know nothing of the video's creation, but, in my mind, it seems the video begins with Siouxsie being instructed to do something she's not entirely comfortable doing. "You know, dance, move around," says the director, patting her on the bottom (hey, it was the '80s) as he returns to his place behind the camera.
There is a flicker of anger and rebellion in her eyes, but she knows the band is relying on her to play nice with others so this new album can be successful.
By the second verse, she's having fun with it, trying to reconcile the conflict within. It's one thing to dance to a song in your bedroom, much less in front of people. Imagine doing so for a music video where it's just you in the studio dancing and miming to your own song in front of a crew of strangers over and over again.
Obviously, by time Siouxsie is spotted in a swimsuit, beckoning to us from her heart-shaped swimming pool, it's starting to look a lot like Sioux is warming up to the idea of giving that Ciccone gal a run for her money.
This was the exact moment that Siouxsie & The Banshees sat poised on the razor's edge between cult band and household name and I am convinced they'd have gone on to be huge if not for that little tsunami called Nevermind that washed away everything that had come before.
Here the Banshees had gone to all this trouble to go "mainstream" only to watch in horror as "mainstream" became a flannel nightmare.
I never for a second liked Men At Work's "Down Under". It was a cheeky Margaritaville-style send up of Australian culture that Americans could not get enough of in 1981. Maybe one of these days we'll actually take a bite of a vegemite sandwich.
The previous single, "Who Can It Be Now", had been vaguely interesting on first listen, but then that saxophone starts to grate on us and that's the end of it. By comparison, Split Enz kept the saxophone at home whilst recording "I Got You" and it changed my world.
Not having MTV as a kid, this is my first time seeing the video for "Down Under". I can safely say that it encapsulates everything that keeps anybody from taking Men At Work seriously. I don't begrudge them their success, by any stretch, but its easy to see why, by the time the 80s got really interesting, they were no longer a factor.
Can you imagine there being "tension" at a Men At Work recording session? Me neither, yet, by the time the band got around to working on album #3, their rhythm section quit. Then their guitarist quit, leaving singer Colin Hay and Greg Ham...the fucking saxophone player.
Watching the video and remembering the year of its release (1981), It was obvious the bands they were emulating: Boomtown Rats, Madness, the Enz, but what of themselves were they injecting into the whole thing to make the trip worth taking?
And is that a coffin they're carrying on a beach near the end of the video? And what lies in yonder coffin, dare we ask? The band's career, perhaps?
Was this video directed by the same deliciously sick bastard who talked Siouxsie Sioux into going for a swim in a heart-shaped pool? (Sadly, no. Ed.)
One night as "the fam" piled into the rusty wood-panel station wagon and bid adieu to one of America's great amusement parks, my teenage ears perked up at the faintest wisp of a synthesized guitar being played at loud volume. On the horizon, the glow of stage lights and several hundred people can be seen.
"Mom, Dad, can we go see who's playing?"
Fierce negotiations ensued and this writer was able to negotiate a drive past the area where the concert was taking place just so I could soak up a few seconds of new wave history in the making.
Can't blame my parents for not wanting to stick around. They were exhausted from wrangling three crazed monkeys around an amusement park from the opening of the park's gates to the closing.bell.
I would wind up becoming quite a fan of the band's next album,
As for the video to "I Ran", all I've got to say is that it was hideously cringe-worthy in 1982. Luckily for them, I heard the song before I saw the band and how afraid of women Mike Score appeared to be when he had a full head of hair. I can't imagine what he must be like these days.
Having said that, I had that exact same shirt, and hair style, in tenth grade. best $19.99 I ever spent at Chess King.