Amazing Music Videos : Sabotage by Beastie Boys

Sabotage was the first single of the eclectic 1994 release Ill Communication. If I remember correctly, the hilarious video directed by Spike Jones is what propelled that strange hip hop/rock song to the top.

This parody of 1970s style cop shows was nominated for four MTV music video awards, but didn’t win any in the end. That doesn’t matter. It definitely deserves a spot on my amazing music videos list. Sure, the story makes no sense, but it serves its purpose well: providing the opportunity for 70s style dramatic cop & robber chasing, busting stuff open, jumping and sliding over car hoods… Utterly useless moves, but they are quite intense! Can you hear the squeeking tires from here? Are you nauseous from the over-the-shoulder camera action and all the zoom-in/zoom-out shots?

But the characters really are the icing on the cake. A nice little touch. Too bad that just when you’re done reading one’s pointlessly detailed info, he’s already exploded. And the secondary characters with their elaborate costumes and styles are super intriguing, but they get thrown over a bridge even faster.

Now, are our downtown streets well guarded by the intriguing Cochese and his boots, the chief and his axe, Bobby the rookie and his debatable choice of interrogation style, and the low-key Bunny?… Yes, I saw you Bunny, and I am grateful for your 2 second presence, since you seem to be the only not ultra violent fake cop around in this video.

If one of the Beastie Boys’ uncle had an old 1970s blue car that he didn’t mind seeing roughed up, then this video must have cost a ridiculously low amount of money, given that there are always garbage bins and cardboxes laying around. Well, you’d have to pay for the hotel room, a few props, and that guy’s salary for holding up trafic all day. And the person doing the editing of dozens of 3 second shots! But seriously, it always amazes me that so many memorable videos aren’t all about spending lots of money on cool visual effects. It’s all about the concept. The visual effects, or rather stunts, here, are old school to say the least, and it works perfectly well. That’s basically the concept.

So, thanks Beastie Boys, I laughed again, twenty years later, watching your video. And here’s a hint that your video marked a generation : for many years, people came to Halloween partys dressed up as your intricately defined characters. How’s that for an unofficial award!

Highlights : too many, so enjoy the whole thing. 😉

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Amazing Music Videos: November rain by Guns N Roses

This 9-minute long epic video of a classic song by American hard rock band Guns N Roses tells the story of a couple getting married surrounded by family and friends, in what seems like a beautiful dream, only to see it all come to a brutal halt when death tears the couple apart and drives the man insane (through raging insomnia). A bit dark and depressing you say? But is it, in fact, reality or a nightmare?

The video features Axl Rose and his girlfriend of the time, model Stephanie Seymour, as well as all of the band members who are seen attending the wedding, and performing live in a theater with an orchestra.

Remember how incredibly frustrating it was when radio stations would only play the first few minutes of the song and stop right before the intense part, which everyone loved most? But that did encourage people to watch the video in order to enjoy the entire song and see the poor lovers’ fate when everything crashes and burns (or rather drowns). The “November rain” video won the “Best cinematography” award at the MTV VMAs. Incidentally, it reminds me of the 80’s decade when videos were often structured as movies, telling a complete story with the singer/frontman(woman) as the protagonist (Pat Benetar and Cindy Lauper videos come to mind instantly). The themes addressed here, however, and the really dark undertones, are very 90’s.

“November rain” appears on the twin release “Use your illusion I/II” which were great subsequent albums to the fierce (and awesome) “Appetite for destruction” which introduced the band to the world. I’ll post about that CD eventually.

Andrew Morahan who directed this video, also directed several other GnR’s videos, as well as videos from many other artists including Simple Minds, Ozzy Osbourne, George Michael/Wham!, Pet Shop Boys, The Human League, and AC/DC. I have not seen all of his work, but, at first view, this video distinguishes itself as one of his most memorable ones. I believe it also introduced the band to a wide – really wide- audience; hearts softened as Axl played classical piano, smiled at the priest, and suffered after a lost love, and Slash acted like a cute goofy ring bearer… this after Guns N Roses completely tore the place apart with Appetite for destruction. But it’s ok, this is no easy power-ballad, “November rain” is a great song.

Ultimate highlight of this video for me: Slash going out of the chapel to play his solo in the middle of the desert. 😉

 

 

 

AC/DC’s Kindly Deeds

Do you remember the Simpsons’ episode when Homer says he likes AC/DC, to which Ned replies that he likes their “Christian cover band AD/BC”… This is of course followed by the two of them singing… Ah, I wish I had that hilarious clip. Oh wait, I do.

Australian hard-rock band AC/DC has been around for 40 years now, entertaining a monstrous number of fans, as illustrated among other things by their 1991 “Thunderstruck” video. Back then, I was almost scared at the sight of that… heh, I was still a kid though. It didn’t take too long for me to enjoy it.

Yup, no power ballads for these folks! Some see “arena rock anthems” as lesser rock songs, but as long as they’re good, that’s what really matters. And is there a song that rocks more than “Back in Black”?

AC/DC went through some tough times as well. After the tragic death of their friend/singer Bon Scott, the others members wondered if they would go on with the band, and finally chose to continue. Brian Johnson did really well as the new singer. Some people can’t even tell that there were two different singers, although, if you ask me, Johnson’s singing is a tad more high pitched…

Rock on!!

Led Zeppelin, rock legend

I heard Stairway to heaven in the car this afternoon, and by the end of the song, I was totally into it and singing out loud like an idiot. It reminded me that I had really taken my sweet time (60 posts) before adding links to Led Zep’s music on this blog.

Led Zeppelin has been immensely successful commercially, having sold over 300 million albums worldwide, according to many sources. I wonder if such a thing could happen now – I mean, there weren’t too many periods in time when a band that’s theoretically incompatible with commercial radio could still be a whopping commercial success : the 70s, the 90s, … and perhaps that split second when Radiohead’s Kid A reached no.1 in the 2000s.

But I digress.

Few bands have truly achieved the status of rock legend, but Led Zeppelin has. These incredibly talented musicians/performers teamed up in 1968 and found an innovative and distinctive style that keeps influencing artists to this day. However you feel about this band or its members (including their attitudes 😉 – like, is Robert trying to come on to me or to himself?), surely one can recognize the incredible influence Led Zeppelin had on heavy, psychedelic, blues and even folk rock, and metal.

Led Zeppelin is also well-known for its energetic live performances. Let’s check out a few of them from the comfort of our own homes, but if anyone out there has seen this band live and wishes to comment, I’d love to hear your take on it!