The Power of the Music Video
A Plus Side to MTV??
14.3.03 by Azaroth

In todayís world, the music video is almost a more important tool in selling albums than the songs themselves. Years ago, a songwriter, such as Don McClean, could not only write their songs, but they could also perform them and release their own albums. Nowadays, it is very difficult for many songwriters to perform their own music.
This is due to one very sad and very superficial fact. Physical appearance. I mean, who wants to look at Will Jennings sing "My Heart Will Go On" when you can watch Celine Dion? Not that Celine is much to look at...unless youíre into giraffes that marry 400 year old men.

This problem in the music industry is very well illustrated by two women. They were at one time known as the Weather Girls. They are two "healthy" women that record a monster hit in the 80ís called "Itís Raining Men." They originally recorded as Two Tons of Fun. Martha Wash, one half of this duo, was crushed by the MTV world in the late eighties when a group called C and C Music Factory hired her to lay down some vocal tracks. Once it came down to video time, they tossed some skinny little skank in the shot instead of her. Martha has been able to overcome these issues and has been a successful recording artist over the years. She is the exception to the rule, though.

Now, videos arenít all negative. They can, in fact, bring new and more intense meaning to a song. They can also ruin a good song. Letís look at the power of the music video by examining 4 videos.

First, Alanis Morrisetteís "Head Over Feet." I remember the first time I ever saw this video. I wasnít too big on Alanis. I heard that this video was the dumbest video of all time. I was sitting at my computer typing up a few noted and the video came on. It is a black background with her head in the center of the frame. She stared right into the camera and sang the song. There were times when she would mouth something different, or she wouldnít sing at all. It hit me and it hit me hard! She was singing to me. I realize, of course, that she wasnít REALLY singing to me, but it had that effect on me. I went out and bought the album after that. Man, there was no way I would have even considered buying that album before seeing that video. Now thatís powerful stuff.

Then, thereís Pearl Jamís "Jeremy." When the album, 10, came out, I was really into Pearl Jam. Their first two videos were live videos. Eddie Vedder said that they werenít going to be like all the other bands and have these produced videos. They were gonna show the Ďrealí Pearl Jam. Live. When I saw that the World Premiere of "Jeremy" was coming up next, I got excited and set my VCR. Then I saw the crap that spewed forth on my TV. A produced video? Whereís the rest of the band? What the F is going on here??? Needless to say, I have not bought a single Pearl Jam record since that day and I NEVER will!!

An example of a video giving new meaning and making it more fun, would be Blink 182ís "Rock Show." In his one, they take the check that the record company gave them to make the video...and they just blew it! They took a bum to get made over, and then took him to a strip club. They got strippers to wash a guyís car. They toss bundles of cash off the tops of buildings. Oh, and thereís the occasional shot of the band actually playing the song. Just a cool video that shows that these guys are a blast! Man, what Iíd give for just half that fín check!!

Finally, a video that could have taken a song to the next level, but stupid MTV producer types ruined it. Puddle of Muddís "She Fucking Hates Me." This is just a cool concept for the video. A bunch of people in the middle of relationship problems just letting loose by singing the song. The kid in the middle of class is genius! He just lets it go!
And the fast food clerk going crazy right in front of the customer. Who hasnít wanted to do that?? I sure as hell have! BUT...the stupid band is in half the video. Sometimes, the band isnít the point. The video was telling a great story, and the shots of the band just broke the flow. They werenít bad shots...itís just that the video would be even better without them.

So, while MTV has really changed the face of music, it hasnít all been bad. Yeah, a lot of it has...but that another story for another day.

This is my old project, THROWDOWN.

A group of friends and I put together this little project in 2003 as an outlet of out collective rage and anger about the subjects that each of us cared about. I was the editor-and-chief and games writer back then.

It was a blast to do and it to be involved in a great collaborative effort using the strengths of my friends was simply amazing. I hope you have fun reading our work as much as we had in creating it.

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