80's videos can be so cruel

In the post below you'll find a video of one of my all time favourite bands doing arguably their best song.

It is certainly clear that some videos from the 80's have aged well (Peter Gabriel's come to mind), but others that were supposed to be cutting edge - like this one - were more often than not just silly.

The video actually starts off at its low ebb, with shirtless band members moving around boxes and lugging around crosses in what looks like a badly lit basement. At least one of the band members is clearly and obviously preening. Bad haircuts all around.

And then we have our lead singer as the dancing red neo-primitive, squatting and bouncing in rythymn to something other than 'Lined Up'. He makes frequent reapearances throughout the video, each more spastic and slightly less irritating than the last, until he is slips from being eye-gougingly tragicomic to merely bizzarre.

Did I mention that this song has my favourite baseline ever? That they opened and closed with it at the live concert in Calgary? That for a time, they were part of my simple musical holy trinity of New Order and the Severed Heads?

By the time they make their way to images of the lead singer as hanging man from the Tarot deck, and as 'Death' from the Seventh Seal, we recognize that the dancing red guy wasn't so derivative afterall - at least for the time (I believe the video pre-dates Burning Man), but that the director was simply, utterly, lost as to what to do with Shriekback's video. Scenes of the band (shirtless again) at sunset (again) indicate to me both the bankruptcy of the directors vision, and his no longer latent homosexuality.

In fact it looks like the one distinguishable female in the video (at the very very end, two or three seconds of her bouncing in front of the camera), was probably forced on the director. Afterall, she's wearing three times as much clothing as the band, and is so poorly lit we can't even clearly see her puppies as they bounce.

To sum up; fantastic band (One all-time classic album: 'Oil and Gold', one excellent album 'Big Night Music', two anthem singles 'Nemesis' and 'Lined Up', the only good parts of the soundtrack to the movie 'Manhunter', and for a time, two bald lead singers), terrific song, but one gut bustingly bad video.


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