Literal pop

Do you remember the 80s, when MTV actually played music videos, and pop bands all had weird concept videos that didn’t seem to have much to do with the song, but were just productions to make you look at them? How about this: imagine if the lyrics of the song actually told the story portrayed in the video. You might get something like these renditions of Tears for Fears and A-ha. I laughed. Especially at “I’m gunna kick some ass with my own pipe wrench.” Pipe wrench fight!


  1. Orson Zedd says

    Haha, saw this two days ago. Damn I miss those 80s music videos. Ones that didn’t suck.

  2. spgreenlaw says

    The whole pipe wrench fight bit is hilarious, though I have no idea why. Also: BAAAND MONTAAAAAGE.

  3. shonny says

    PZ, you shouldn’t make fun of A-ha. Serious Norwegian.
    Oh, but then again, after seeing the video, maybe you should.

    One thing I like about Beethoven, Bach and Mozart, – no bloody videos with their music. Maybe it’s just that I am getting old, – preferring birdsong to traffic noise.
    Though, complete Beethoven, 100 CDs for 100 bucks, – that is a good deal. Complete Mozart, 170 CDs at same price. See Amazon France.

  4. says

    I love the pipe wrench fight too, but I think they misinterpreted the video– I’m pretty sure our sketchy hero does not have a pipe wrench of his own, and in the shot where you see one in the foreground it’s actually being wielded by one of his attackers.

  5. craig says

    I always thought it was funny how they flat-out ripped off the “slam against the hall walls to return from horrible alternate reality self to physical normality” effect from the movie Altered States.

  6. Bride of Shrek OM says

    Tragically this is my era music and I just bloody loved A-Ha in the 80’s. Damn, I even had a cat called, yes you guessed it, A-Ha. The neighbours must have thought I was a right moron calling A-Ha out every night about 5 pm at the tiop of my lungs….even sadder in the 80’s confession time is that I thought Adam Ant was a big spunk and made myself a jacket to look just like him. Mum finally flipped when I started wearing face makeup like Boy George and refused to be seen in public with me. Like thats a BAD thing when you’re 14!!

  7. Cerberus says

    I think Frank Zappa’s “Be in my Video” was the definitive smack down of that era. But it was still absolutely hilarious. Hmm, pipe wrench fight versus dance the blue again, tough call.

  8. scooter says

    And the answer is:

    That is the most vacuous piece of meaningless fluff that I’ve ever not escaped because it was on this blog, and I was waiting for the punchline or a direction or what we call in the media science lab…… not more of the same.

    The fourth grade whirly gurly thin vocals were unable to rise above the bullshit drum machine lack of soul, syncopation, counterpart or harmony that underly the art of music.

    This is an extrapolation of the babbling wanderings had white boys never been exposed to Black people.

    This makes ABBA sound like James Brown.

    This is the soundtrack of the premise of Idiocracy when the women are singing of love, on Vodka, screwing their own fathers, because they lost track of who was who.

    This is the removal of everything music has contributed to the human soul and the uplifting of the human spirit.

    This piece of garbage noise is why seemingly sane adults suddenly commit suicide.
    Jeff Tamblyn ‘Kansas vs Darwin’ on Texas radio

  9. True Bob says

    Shorter scooter: meeeyow!

    I thought that was a pretty good send up. LOLed at “my own pipe wrench” and “band montage”. Cute.

  10. Eric Paulsen says

    Here I thought it was mere pop music from my youth only to read that it is the musical equivalent of aural cancer. Thanks for the laugh PZ.

  11. says

    Still one of my favorite videos from the eighties. Rotoscoping also made the film A Scanner Darkly, based on the Philip K, Dick novel, much more watchable than a film featuring Keanu Reeves wandering around looking mildly dazed might otherwise have been,

  12. Ada says

    The Tears for Fears one is not available in my country… whatever that means. And I thought everyone liked Denmark!

    Fortunately the other one still worked. LOVE it!

    I didn’t think PZ was making fun of a-Ha anywhere. Did I miss something? I hope not, because I still like a-Ha….

  13. Glen says

    Hated and despised much about the ’80s (starting with the president), but there were some pretty good music videos. (Amid much dreck). My favorites tended to be from the Police, both for quality of music and video.

  14. foxfire says

    OT: If Microsoft Outlook suddenly refuses to send a message because the contact is not in your address book, add it if you want to send your message.

    First noticed on 10/20/08 around 1 am PDT.

    Pass the word.

    To the geniuses who came up with this “improvement” (all for the sake of National Security, perhaps?), in the spirit of Thomas Pain and Thomas Jefferson, two words:


    October Surprise, anyone?

  15. Faid says

    The part near the end where it says “he’s alive” should be “Altered States ripoff” instead. But noone would get it I guess.

    Sorry, I have to chase some kids off my lawn now.

  16. varlo says

    As a relic of the big band era almost anything past 1952 leaves me cold. This one and its ilk leave me frozen to near absolute zero.

    Varlo the Dull

  17. firemancarl says

    It’s each year around the holidays that the hard man grows soft, so I will admit that “Head Over Heals” by Tears for Fears is one of my favorite songs. Jebus! I must be getting all sentimental and shit.

  18. BobbyEarle says

    Varlo @23

    As a relic of the big band era almost anything past 1952 leaves me cold.

    Say it ain’t so, Varlo…Miles, Dizzy, be-bop, the Cool???

    Naa, I know you love this stuff.

  19. Ouchimoo says

    And here I thought you were an avid Digg user or something. Pfft that is soo last week! No really it was all over Digg last week.

  20. 24fps says

    Who cares whether all the words match up? I could just sit there and look at Morten Harket all day…

  21. says

    My wife showed me that a week ago — TOO FUNNY.

    I love “Hey, what are they doing with our magic frame?”

    and “This guy’s going to get an ass-full of pipe wrench!”

  22. jpf says

    While looking through the other videos by the creator, I saw this: Ant Trapped Inside Computer Screen. It’s an ant that somehow got behind a LCD screen and is crawling around. On it’s own that would only be mildly interesting, but under related videos, there’s six other videos of the same phenomena. Also a number of comments saying this happened to them too. I’ve heard some ants are attracted to electric fields and will infest computers if given the chance, does this happen with LCDs a lot too?

    And here I am still using an antless CRT like some sort of sucker. I want a screen pet!

  23. Sandi Hj says

    Love it! My daughter attended Skogfjorden Norwegian camp, a language immersion camp, through the late eighties and early nineties. American candy, music, books were all contraband and so they listened to Scandinavian music. Since she loved camp, she loved all the extremely cheesy Euro-pop of the era, and this brings back a lot of fun memories. A big improvement, I must say.

  24. Mark F. says

    I had to stop watching this in order to avoid spewing my lunch all over my desk from laughing so hard. That is SO TOTALLY AWESOME (see I’m throwing in the gratuitous “Valley Girl talk”).

    I have to say “Take On Me” has always been a guilty pleasure song- the video was pretty revolutionary for it’s time too, but this version really is hilarious.

  25. says

    They couldn’t have very well made a video about the song, now could they? Most popular songs have vacuous lyrics, and Take Me On was no exception. At least this was a creative video, and not just a bunch of hoochy mammas shaking their asses. That said, I also loved the parody.

  26. stogoe says

    People need to stop bagging on music just because they didn’t grow up with it. Seriously, it just makes you look like a jerk.

  27. says

    At least this was a creative video…

    Yep. This.

    There was something wonderfully un-self-consciously arty about some of that stuff. For a few years, it seemed, there were people doing a five minute thing over a bit of pop with, apparently, absolutely no fear that anyone was going to hassle them if they temporarily went mad and thought, for that five minutes, they were Ingmar Bergman.

    And good things happened from that, here and there. Sure, you’d probably be mocked by the too-cool-for-pathos crowd for even suggesting the story line this decade, but I still love that B&W unrequited circus love story done for U2’s All I Want Is You (obligatory YouTube link here). Shamelessly.

  28. robbrown says

    Holy crap that was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen. I agree that was a guilty pleasure song and video…and the sketchy rotoscoping was indeed revolutionary.

    My story about that song….when I first caught it on mtv, I told everyone about it (catchy song, but amazingly cool video), but didn’t see it again. Asked about it at a record store, they looked it up and said the song had peaked at like #60 and was now at maybe #90. So I ordered the single, which came in in a couple weeks. It was maybe 2 months later that it suddenly shot up to number 1 and was played to death, and then the technique was copied in tons of commercials etc.

  29. alcoolworld says

    One of my favorites is from a Canadian sketch comedy show, “The Vacant Lot”

    Let the pigeons go!!!