Former Monkee Micky Dolenz was the guest on Jim Kerr’s morning show. Just thought I’d mention that. And congratulations, Jim Kerr, I no longer hold a grudge against you for that ridiculous “Strange News” story from a couple months ago. Especially since this morning I also heard you and Maria make fun of a similar “study”…something about how married men’s lives suck more because they’re married. Y’know, the same old crap a bunch of quacks have been trying to feed us for years. Thank you for totally not even pretending to take such a “finding” seriously. And thank you also for having someone as awesome as Micky freakin’ Dolenz on your show.
So something kinda awesome happened on Q104.3 this morning. September 21, 2011
Top Ten Queen Videos September 12, 2011
Okay, so I know I’m a day (or two) late. It was hard work narrowing down so many awesome videos to the ten best, not to mention putting them in order. But here it is, the top ten Queen videos.
10. “It’s a Hard Life” (The Works, 1984)
We start off here with a video that is inexplicable and camp-tacular (even by Queen’s standards). This may not be the band’s most popular video (in fact, at least one or two of the band’s members openly despise this video), but in my personal opinion, its weirdness is what makes it so charming. Looking like the mutant love child of a Shakespeare comedy and that one scene from Labyrinth, we see Freddie Mercury prancing around in what is almost certainly the weirdest outfit he’s ever worn (and for a man who’s not exactly known for dressing conservatively, that’s really saying something) and wearing a really strange wig in some scenes for no apparent reason, and Brian May playing a wicked solo on a skull. Also, look closely for John Deacon walking around with his noble steed, a stuffed unicorn head on a long wooden stick.
9. “The Invisible Man” (The Miracle, 1989)
There’s only one thing that pisses me off about this video, and that’s this: no matter how much time I waste playing video games, not once have I ever gotten to the point where Queen emerge from my closet and dance around my room. Talk about false advertising! The kid in this video is basically the luckiest kid ever (the only possible exceptions being the kids in the video for “The Miracle”). He even gets to wear John Deacon’s badass cowboy hat. Lucky! And yes, the song sounds eerily similar to the theme from Ghostbusters. Let us speak no more of this.
8. “Liar” (Queen, 1973)
If you need any more convincing that “Bohemian Rhapsody” was not, as is sometimes falsely claimed, the first music video ever, at least know this: it wasn’t even Queen’s first. “Liar” stands out from most of the videos in this list in that it is a simple performance video. There’s no storyline, no characters outside of the band, nothing but the band performing on a brightly lighted stage that probably isn’t in front of a real audience. Even the outfits are pretty low-key for a band that could have been considered part of the “glam rock” scene that was emerging in England around that time. Still, stripped of the gimmicks they’d come to be known for both onstage and onscreen, Queen have an undeniably magnetic stage presence. Despite its length of six and a half minutes and its simplicity, the video for “Liar” never bores.
7. “Princes of the Universe” (A Kind of Magic, 1985)
Don’t ask me why, but movie tie-in music videos generally annoy me, especially when the totally awesome song was written for a possibly-not-so-awesome movie, thereby making it so that there isn’t a non-movie-tie-in version of the video that I can watch instead. However, I’m going to make an exception for “Princes of the Universe,” a song that was written for Highlander and which, to my knowledge, doesn’t have a video that leaves out all those movie clips. I haven’t even seen Highlander (but I do want to, for precisely three reasons, the Queen-filled soundtrack being one of them. The other two, by the way, are Clancy Brown and kilts. But mostly Clancy Brown). Doesn’t matter. The fact is, movie tie-in or not, this is one of the most epic music videos ever. If anything, the connection with the movie makes the video all the more epic, because of the way it includes the band in the action of the movie, placing the band in the same setting as what I’m guessing is a pretty important scene in the movie. There’s even a brief moment of interaction between Freddie and the film’s hero. If that’s not epic, I don’t know what is. As an added bonus, I don’t think anyone ever looked cooler with the wind blowing through his hair than Brian May.
6. “Save Me” (The Game, 1980)
The video for “Save Me” is as gorgeous and moving as the tender love song it illustrates. Half live-action performance video, and half animated narrative, this is perhaps Queen’s most beautiful video. I’m at a loss to describe this video further than the fact that it features a dove motif (I’m a sucker for bird symbolism. Actually, I’m a sucker for birds in general), so I’ll say no more about it and let the video speak for itself.
5. “Bohemian Rhapsody” (A Night at the Opera, 1975)
Seriously, did you think I’d be able to list the top ten Queen videos without including this song? While not my favorite Queen video by a long-shot (though still, within the spectrum of music videos in general, it ranks pretty darn high), “Bohemian Rhapsody” is undoubtedly the most influential, to the point that some people are still under the impression that it was the first music video ever. If you’ve been paying attention to this blog (or even to this particular post), you’ll know this assumption to be false, yet the very fact that this is a widely-held belief shows how much of an impact the “Bohemian Rhapsody” has had on the history of music and the art of music video. And perhaps, while not the first music video ever made (remember, Bob Dylan had 10 years on them), it may be one of the first music videos that truly mattered; that proved that the music video was an art form in and of itself and not just a creative way to promote a record.
4. “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” (The Game, 1979)
When I showed a friend of mine this video about a month ago, her response was that it was “like a bisexual version of Grease.” I couldn’t have described it better myself, but I’ll try: to me, this is one of the all-time sexiest videos ever. Sure, it’s kinda goofy and looks like it was made on a budget of $150 and maybe a blowjob here and there, but that doesn’t matter. Why? Because…Freddie Mercury. Leather. Superfluous close-up of Freddie’s leather-clad ass. Brian May in awesome shades. Freddie Mercury getting his shirt ripped off by his co-ed posse of backup dancers. Roger Taylor without a shirt. Freddie Mercury doing what could be described as pole-dancing. Oh, and did I mention Freddie flippin’ Mercury? As a side note, is it just me, or does Freddie kind of look like Jakob Dylan in this video?
3. “One Vision” (A Kind of Magic, 1985)
Okay, this one starts out a little weird, with the warped voices and the wobbly still from the “Bohemian Rhapsody” video, but once you get past that, this is one fun video. Filmed around the same time as the band’s legendary performance at Live Aid (note the logo on Brian May’s white t-shirt), the video shows the band recording the song and having one heck of a fun time in the process. I get the impression that someone decided to put cameras in the studio, start recording, and just let the band do whatever the heck they felt like. Turns out, they’re really silly boys. Also, Brian really should have worn black tank tops more often. Because of the sexy.
2. “I’m Going Slightly Mad” (Innuendo, 1991)
The video for “I’m Going Slightly Mad” is delightful. More delightful, in fact, than it has any right to be, considering the tragic reality surrounding both the song and the video. Released mere months before his death, Freddie Mercury wrote this song about his experience with AIDS-induced dementia. By the time the video was filmed, the singer’s illness necessitated the use of heavy makeup and black-and-white film to disguise his condition. This same use of makeup and monochrome, however, is part of what makes this video so charming and quirky, which only makes it more tragic when one remembers that all that charm and quirk are coming from a man who’s months away from his death bed, and knows it. In spite of all that, however, this video made me laugh the first time I saw it, and continues to make me smile. It’s heartwarming to know that Freddie could still act goofy and irreverent even as his life was coming to a close. This, along with all the weird goings-on in this video — Freddie’s banana wig, John Deacon as an unenthusiastic jester, and let’s not forget REAL LIVE PENGUINS (!!) along with Brian May in a penguin suit — make this one of my very favorites.
1. “I Want to Break Free” (The Works, 1984)
This is by far the greatest Queen video of all time. For lots of reasons, but if for nothing else, for the cross-dressing. Which is apparently a reference to a long-running British soap opera called Coronation Street. Which I’ve never seen, but I believe it. What I don’t believe is that this video is actually marked as “age-restricted” on YouTube. What the hell, YouTube? Buncha homophobes need to get the hell over themselves. They’re the ones who’ll have a bad influence on the children. But anyway, enjoy the video. Unless you’re one of those homophobes. If you are, get your ignorant ass off of my blog and never darken my door again.
Bonus: “The Great Pretender”(1987)
And here’s a little something from Freddie’s solo career: his take on a classic by doo-wop group The Platters. Features clips and re-enactments of his previous videos as both a member of Queen and as a solo artist, some of which are on this very list. But mostly I decided to put this here because of the cross-dressing. ‘Cause I’m kinda into that. And because this video not only gives us a chance to see Freddie in drag once again, but also Roger Taylor. And there was much rejoicing (coming from me, anyway).
If MTV does something relevant to my tastes, and I’m not around to hear it, does it make a proverb? September 7, 2011
So…the VMAs were last week. I didn’t watch it, ’cause I find music awards to be a bit of a disappointment (well, ever since my ill-fated attempt to get a thrill out of the Grammys in 2009), and anyway, the list of musical guests was less than spectacular (Lady Gaga alone was not reason to sit through something that actually paid host to Chris Brown, especially since the last few Gaga hits failed to get more than a lukewarm reaction from me). And in the aftermath of this year’s VMAs, the most highly publicized moments that the press reported repeatedly in excruciating detail as if it were actually something monumental, merely served as evidence that I hadn’t missed anything. Blah-blah-blah-Gaga-in-drag (somewhat interesting, but not especially remarkable or surprising), blah-blah-blah-Beyoncé’s-harboring-a-
uterine-parasite-precious-little-bundle-of-genetically-unique-cells (like that’s nothing any of our mothers have ever done), etc. So of course, it wasn’t until Saturday afternoon that a relative of mine, who evidently had sat through the show, casually mentioned to me that Brian May made a surprise appearance during Lady Gaga’s performance.
I’ll repeat that in case you didn’t catch that…BRIAN goddamn MAY appeared at this year’s VMAs. Of all the “outrageous” things that went on at the VMAs this year that were worth publicizing, and somehow some popstar brat who’s never been born (no offense to Beyoncé, it’s just that the media needs to quit making pregnancy seem like some new phenomenon) got more attention than freakin’ Brian May. Whose band was instrumental in popularizing (though not inventing, counter to popular belief) the music video format which made stations like MTV possible. Who had such an influence on Lady Gaga that she took her freakin’ stage name from one of Queen’s songs. So yeah, Brian May is KIND OF A BIG DEAL, even to MTV watchers and Lady Gaga fans, whether they’ve heard of them or not (though it boggles the mind that a Lady Gaga fan would not at least be aware of Queen, considering her namesake is no secret. And as for MTV’s current audience…geez, kids these days). But it’s the post-VMAs press that flabbergasts me. I mean, you’d think nothing truly impressing happened this year the way they went on about a would-be drag king and a flippin’ fetus.
But then, to put everything into perspective, most of Lady Gaga’s backup dancers that night had probably never shared the stage with such an outrageous singer. Brian, on the other hand…
Oh, so here’s the video of Lady Gaga (as her male alter-ego Jo Calderone) and Brian May’s performance at the VMAs. And if you ask me, “You and I” is a massive improvement over the suspiciously Madonna-esque “Born This Way” and the relatively forgettable “Judas.” This video also confirms something I’ve been suspicious of for a long time: Dave Grohl is a geek just like the rest of us.
It’s a very special someone’s birthday today… September 6, 2011
I know it’s a bit late in the day to be announcing this, but today (okay, yesterday, by the time this is posted), September 5, 2011, is the sixty-fifth birthday of a rock ‘n’ roll legend. The man I speak of is quite possibly the greatest rock vocalist of all time, a charismatic performer, and the man I voted prom queen back in 2007 (true story).
I am talking, of course, of the late great Farrokh Bulsara, better known as Freddie Mercury.
Freddie rose to fame in the mid-1970s as the frontman of Queen, one of the biggest rock bands of all time, who remained active up until the singer’s untimely death from AIDS in 1991 (yeah, maybe Freddie’s former bandmates Brian May and Roger Taylor may have re-united under the name Queen and toured with that guy from Bad Company and Free a few years, but I tend not to acknowledge that whole…thing). The group’s ecclectic array of musical style owes much to Mercury’s songwriting, which draws inspiration from diverse genres ranging from opera to ragtime to old-fashioned rock ‘n’ roll (apparently, there are those who are still fooled into thinking “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” is an Elvis song, despite being recorded after Presley’s death). With Freddie’s help, Queen stole the show at the already star-studded Live Aid concert in 1985 (to give you an idea of how big a deal this is, they shared a bill with Bono, David Bowie, and Paul McCartney. That’s right. They upstaged a freakin’ Beatle). Other instances of badassery in Freddie Mercury’s career and posthumous legacy include providing the soundtrack to two films (the film adaptation of Flash Gordon and the first Highlander movie. At least one of these soundtracks was almost certainly better than the film itself), collaborating with Spanish opera singer Montserrat Caballé, having a statue of his likeness erected in Switzerland, and did I mention he was voted prom queen by yours truly at the senior prom (okay, but I didn’t tell you that I also spent most of the dinner course at said prom singing “Bohemian Rhapsody” into my fork, now did I)?
Video of the Week: “Different” by Ximena Sariñana September 2, 2011
Yeah, ya know how I said that I’d be posting daily from now on? Well, this weekend doesn’t count. I have a perfectly good reason, though, I’m going to be over my uncle’s house, where it’s not likely I’ll be able to connect to the internet at all. So, anyway, this video will have to tide you over for the next few days. I caught this video once or twice on VH1 during those increasingly rare occasions that the station shows anything remotely relevant to its music-hungry viewers. Its summery effervescence has to be seen to be believed, and the song itself is so catchy (and so something that I can relate to, to the point that it may have replaced Matchbox 20’s “Unwell” as my sorta-kinda-official theme song) that it’s been stuck in my head for nearly the entire day. And remember, this is all you’re getting for the next few days, so by the time I’m back I expect you all to have the lyrics and the dance moves memorized. There might be a quiz. Mom, you’re exempt, being that you’ll be at my uncle’s house for the weekend too. But seriously, dear readers (if you do, in fact, exist), enjoy the video, and enjoy the holiday weekend.
Video of the Week: “Holiday” by Vampire Weekend June 23, 2010
Well, summer’s finally officially here (though I’ve been home on summer break for over a month, but that’s a college thing). And there’s nothing like Vampire Weekend to get one in the summer spirit, so I thought I’d celebrate the season with the band’s latest video, the incredibly summer-tastic “Holiday”. It’s a feel-good, silly video featuring the band cruising in a convertible, crashing pool parties, frolicking on the beach, spraying grafitti, eating some scrumtious-looking dessert, getting into brawls with surfer dudes, and involving themselves in various other shenanigans. Oh, yeah, did I mention they’re doing all this while inexplicably dressed like extras from Amadeus? Hey, don’t question it, just enjoy it. Because I’m warning you, I plan to spend the rest of the week on this blog ranting. More on that later, though.
Help Me. My Childhood Memories (and my appetite) have been violated in the Worst Possible Way. June 11, 2010
On the subject of things that probably shouldn’t be sexualized…
I like me some early-morning music videos. Especially since, with the exception of Fuse and some of the “specific interest” offshoots of MTV and VH1 on digital cable (i.e. MTV Hits, VH1 Soul, VH1 Classic), most “music channels” nowadays stop showing anything remotely related to music (beyond the odd “Top 100 Blah Blah Blah” specials and dating shows in which the “prize” is a date with some rock star or rapper, but that hardly counts) by late morning. So if I wanna get my fix, I best get it early in the morning. Well, as I was flipping through the channels this morning: I came upon a disturbing sight on VH1: a teaser trailer for Katy Perry’s upcoming music video, “California Gurls” (as far as I know, having nothing to do with the Beach Boys hit of the same name. Thank God). And as if Katy hasn’t already caused me enough pain by releasing somewhat sexist and deceivingly homophobic (not to mention torturously catchy) songs like “I Kissed a Girl”, “Ur So Gay”, and “Hot ‘n’ Cold”, she has to put a sexual spin one of my favorite childhood board games now. I am, of course, referring to Candy Land. I could almost forgive the incredibly cheesetastic (not to mention oh-so-subtle) whipped-cream-with-a-cherry-on-top bra she’s got on (gettin’ real creative there, aren’t we?), not to mention the (even more subtle) projectile-whipped-cream bra (aw, who am I kidding. Katy, there’s nothing sexy about lactation. It’s an important function that some women choose to provide nourishment to their infants. Please don’t trivialize it by making it look sexual. Unless that bra was supposed to simulate some other bodily function. In which case, no, having two penises located where your boobs should be is not sexy either. It’s freakin’ disturbing). No, it’s the fact that Perry is doing this all while clearly trying to portray Queen Frostine. Well, at least she chose a character who is ostensibly an adult. It could have been worse I guess. She could have decided to dress up as Princess Lolly. But still. And Candy Land has been through enough BS in the past couple of years, what with their giving the game a makeover, turning Queen Frostine from a regal blue-haired snow queen to a blonde, Barbie-clone princess (that’s right. They’ve demoted her. And now Lolly isn’t even a princess anymore. She’s just…Lolly. And they’ve totally done away with plumpy, the lovable green fuzzball and guardian of the gingerbread plum trees) without Perry ruining it further. Well, I have to give her credit: at least she’s going for the old Queen Frostine look rather than the new-and-unimproved Princess Frostine look. That still doesn’t make me happy about what she’s doing to my childhood memories. But I’ll get over it. After all, I guess not all of Katy Perry’s stuff is terrible…I actually kind of liked “Waking Up in Vegas”…and actually, the song “California Gurls” doesn’t sound half bad. Not amazing, but not bad…just…the video…*shudders*