Some music videos use abstract imagery to illustrate the feeling behind a song, while others literally hit us over the head with their literal interpretation of the lyrics à la Miley Cyrus's "Wrecking Ball". Unlike the "literal music video" meme, which dubs new lyrics over the original video that more closely matches what's happening in the video, these videos require no editing to get their direct translation across. So for all of you who prefer their music videos "straight up," here is a list of artists who don't like to read between the lines.
A Little Respect – Erasure
No (dis)respect to Erasure, but we can't believe someone signed off on this. Not only do they act out the lyrics, but they superimpose it over the duo singing. How do we know he discovered "something to make me sweeter," by putting sugar in tea of course! Then they break they heart by holding up a heart and breaking it with a hammer. We've seen school plays with more understated symbolism.
Dancing in the Streets — David Bowie and Mick Jagger
It didn't take much to make a music video in 1985, just some colorful windbreakers, snapping fingers and entire premise of just dancing around...in the streets. When two of the biggest pop icons of all time covered this Martha and the Vandellas Motown classic, one would think their budget might cover more than a trenchcoat and some anonymous warehouse in Newark. But as the song suggests, these two spend the entirety of the video "dancing in the streets," in one of the worst examples of white people dancing ever committed to film.
Dancing on the Ceiling — Lionel Richie
Not to be outdone by his fellow pop rivals Bowie and Jagger, Lionel Richie took the concept of a literal dancing music video one year later, added a rotating room and around $400,000 and what you see is what you get. How would one show the elation of dancing on the ceiling without actually doing so? This innovative video apparently also warranted a behind the scenes special on HBO. But without these groundbreaking visuals, we would never have Jamiroquai's "Virtual Insanity" and we don't want to live in that world.
With Arms Wide Open — Creed
We get chills when we hear this song, and by chills we mean cold sweats. Creed was one of those pants that got filed under "grunge" at Sam Goody but we all knew it was Christian Rock. In order to really make the audience feel what the song was about, there was no shortage of times that lead singer Scott Stapp threw us arms open in the air. Would the video have the same emotional punch had he sat on a rock with his arms folded? We all know the answer to that one.
Sledgehammer — Peter Gabriel
Before Miley started licking her tool set, Peter Gabriel took the sledgehammer to new artistic heights and made it more than an erotic prop from Tool Time. Sure, he follows he same pattern of literal interpretation of the lyrics, but he does so using claymation, pixilation, stop motion animation and creative metaphors. While the lyrical imagery is direct, the meanings behind it are not and it remains one of our favorite music videos of all time.
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As much as some people may be thanking their stars that the 1990s are over and Baja jackets are no longer cool, the fact remains that the decade had some of the best music ever. The '90s were coming off of the ridiculous excess of the '80s and went through a rollercoaster ride of numerous music genres.
Here’s a look at 7 artists that released their debut albums in the '90s and still have us pining for them.
Pearl Jam: Ten (1991) Ahhh, Ten – the album that launched a thousand crappy rock bands and horrendous singers who think their vocals are deep and profound (see: Scott Stapp, Chad Kroeger, Aaron Lewis, etc.). There could’ve been a legit Nirvana vs. Pearl Jam feud with Kurt Cobain telling Flipside magazine that Pearl Jam was nothing but “false alternative macho metal” when Ten came out, but unfortunately, Eddie Vedder is way too mature, reportedly reaching out to Cobain and ultimately getting on friendly terms before Cobain’s death. Ten took grunge into a whole new level and proved the diversity and lasting power of Pearl Jam. Dealing with everything from abortion to depression and murder to bullying, Ten was the perfect social commentary: effective without being preachy. The album also made Pearl Jam stand out in the grunge movement, as their sound was rooted more in classic rock than punk and low-fi.
Pavement: Slanted and Enchanted (1992) If you love indie rock (whatever that means to you), then props must be given to Pavement’s Slanted and Enchanted. The band is constantly referred to as the most influential band of the '90s because of their ultimate reach over how the indie rock scene turned out. With their stream-of-thought lyrics, purposely shoddy production, and beautiful melodies, Pavement influenced just about every indie rocker that came out after them – what the Pixies and Sonic Youth did for grunge, Pavement did for a whole new generation of indie.
Dr. Dre: The Chronic (1992) One of the most influential albums in West Coast gangsta rap, Dr. Dre’s The Chronic is such a legendary album that it took Dre 7 years to make a worthy follow up. Dre’s debut solidified G-funk rap and also launched the career of Snoop Dogg. The Chronic also led to the legendary East vs. West rap beef that dominated rap scene in the '90s. The legendary “F**k Wit Dre Day (And Everybody’s Celebratin’)” took serious shots at Eazy-E and others, even using impersonators in his video, and all of a sudden rap beef was something more than “Yo mama’s so fat” jokes. The album also cemented Dre as a superstar producer, as the album boasted some of the slickest production that the genre had ever heard.
Liz Phair: Exile In Guyville (1993) According to Liz Phair, her crazy influential debut Exile in Guyville was a track-by-track response to the Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main St.. Sure Liz, whatever – the point is, Exile in Guyville managed to change both the alt rock scene and also the way people perceived female singer-songwriters. Though her lyrics may seem tame now, at the time it was surprising to hear a young woman sing about sex, drugs, rock n’ roll, and crappy relationships. Her honesty was refreshing and gave women a voice that differed from the airhead pop songs that were previously associated with women. Though she never got the full recognition that she deserved, Phair helped pave the way for the angry/over-it rock chick to enter the mainstream.
Green Day: Dookie (1994) Okay, okay, so technically Dookie isn’t Green Day’s debut-debut album, but it is the band’s major label debut. Dookie was the record that took the band from playing at rowdy gigs to Bay Area kids at 924 Gilman to becoming known and emulated all over the world. After years of grunge, flannel, and low serotonin dominating the music world, all which was further exacerbated by Kurt Cobain’s suicide in April, 1994’s Dookie was a breath of fresh air, a testament to “F**k it all, let’s just have a blast.” Green Day is responsible for igniting the generally horrendous pop-punk movement of the '90s, but no one has been able to emulate the pop-punk perfection on Dookie, which succeeded in having all the elements of punk rock akin to bands like the Ramones: apathy, boredom, aggression, independence, and fun.
Oasis: Definitely Maybe (1994) Oasis’ debut album had a similar effect in England that Dookie had in America, albeit in a more drunken fashion. After the Stone Roses’ seminal self-titled debut in 1989, the Britpop movement had officially begun, and Oasis’ first album helped define it. Definitely Maybe paved the way for a completely new type of rock that kicked aside the emo-filled despondencies of shoegaze, filling it instead with tales of drunkenness, debauchery, and celebration. The Gallaghers weren’t moaning about not feeling good enough or getting dumped by their girlfriends – they were bragging about how blessed you were to be in their presence and how they don’t care about anything because they just want to get sloshed. The album was filled with songs that made you feel rowdy and confident, not sullen and moody, and marked a turning point in the direction the Britpop genre took in the mid-'90s.
Britney Spears: …Baby One More Time (1999) Though it may seem blasphemous to place Britney Spears on a list among the likes of Pavement and Oasis, the influence that her debut album had on the pop world is utterly undeniable. …Baby One More Time not only launched the career of a bona fide pop culture icon, but it also kickstarted the teen pop movement for the millennial generation. It’s hard to find any pop singer who came out in the 2000s that hasn’t been influenced by Spears, and regardless of whether that’s for better or for worse, ultimately Spears changed the pop landscape for good.
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Motley Crue rocker Nikki Sixx has praised the stars of Stone Temple Pilots for ditching troubled frontman Scott Weiland, branding it a "smart move" as the singer was "dragging down a great band". Weiland was booted from the group earlier this year (13) and he has been replaced by Linkin Park's Chester Bennington.
The new line-up will perform a show with Motley Crue in Oklahoma on Friday (13Sep13), and Sixx has revealed he is looking forward to seeing Stone Temple Pilots play, praising them for their bravery in moving forward without their original singer.
In a post on his Twitter.com page, he writes, "Looking forward to (Stone Temple Pilots) with (Chester Bennington) on lead vocals opening for Crue in Oklahoma. Weiland was dragging down a great band... Smart move..."
Singer Elton John is set to pay tribute to Liberace at the 2013 Primetime Emmy Awards later this month (Sep13), according to U.S. reports. The Rocket Man hitmaker's performance will mark the first time he has appeared on the U.S. television industry's biggest award night.
Behind the Candelabra, the TV movie about Liberace and his lover Scott Thorson played by Michael Douglas and Matt Damon respectively, is nominated for 15 awards.
John's musical number will accompany nominees Douglas and Damon when they present during the show, according to E! News.
5Ive star Scott Robinson is preparing to become a father to twins. The British pop singer, who returned to the spotlight with the reunited group last year (12), already has two sons with his wife Kerry, and now he has confirmed they are expecting a double addition to the family.
He tells Britain's Daily Star Sunday, "We're expecting twins and we're really excited. She's just over 18 weeks and all is going well."
However, Robinson admits he may have to make some big changes to accommodate the twins.
The star adds, "We've got to get a seven-seater car and we might have to move house to make room now we know it's twins, but we're over the moon."
Plans to unveil a statue of late British singer Amy Winehouse in London have been postponed after her father decided he was unhappy with the final design. Officials in the British capital have given the go ahead for a tribute to the tragic star to be unveiled outside the Roundhouse venue in Camden, north London, and the finished product was due to be presented later this month (Sep13).
However, the unveiling may now be delayed after her dad Mitch found fault with the bronze by artist Scott Eaton.
Winehouse's former boyfriend Reg Traviss tells Britain's Mail on Sunday newspaper, "Mitch wants it to be just right and he doesn't want anything to go up that he's not completely satisfied with. But obviously it's never going to look exactly like her."
Winehouse died of alcohol poisoning in 2011.
Stone Temple Pilots bassist Robert Deleo is adamant the group had no choice but to fire singer Scott Weiland because his antics were making his bandmates miserable. Weiland was dismissed earlier this year (13) and he is now embroiled in a bitter legal battle with his former friends, who have sued him over allegations he sabotaged the group's recent 20th anniversary tour by turning up late for performances and missing promotional gigs.
DeLeo has now opened up about the tensions in the group which led to Weiland's exit, insisting they needed to move forward without him.
He tells Rolling Stone, "It was a very difficult decision to terminate the face of your band. There are many paths to the history of certain bands and each one is a little different, but it all kind of turns out the same at the end. But it was a very difficult decision to do that. That's as big as it gets. But we really didn't have any other choice... (We) have been saddled by someone for a long time. We've always looked out for Scott's best interests and tried to be a great friend to someone who really didn't care to be friends with us...
"And I don't think we had any other choice... (We) would rather move ahead. I want to have f**king fun, man, making music. I have the complete luxury of making music for a living. If I'm around people that don't f**king get that, then I want to be around people who get that."
Stone Temple Pilots are now working with Linkin Park's Chester Bennington as their frontman, and DeLeo admits he feels grateful to the singer's bandmates for letting him take up the post.
He adds, "I feel very humbled by the fact the guys in Linkin Park are cool with this. All these guys are great dudes. It's not about music - it's about the humanity of it. They're the kind of human beings you want to be around at this point in life."
Bennington concludes, "I really respect the decision these guys have made. I also understand how incredibly difficult having that conversation would be... (But) this is their life. This is how they're gonna pay their bills and put their kids through college, this is how they're gonna want to spend the rest of their lives."
Jamie Foxx paid tribute to singer Harry Belafonte and Motown boss Berry Gordy during an emotional speech to mark the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's iconic 'I have a dream' civil rights address in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday (28Aug13). The Oscar winner was among several famous faces who joined African-American leaders and politicians at the National Mall for the celebrations, but his speech was one of the day's most impressive as he urged the youth of today to respect their elders, like he respects the elders who marched with King.
Foxx recalled a touching recent meeting with Belafonte when the veteran entertainer served up a life lesson for the Ray star and his teenage daughter.
The actor/singer told the crowds gathered for the day of remembrance, "I said (to my daughter), 'Listen, if you want to get inspired, come listen to this man speak.' When I sat with Mr. Belafonte, he asked my daughter, 'How old are you?' and my daughter said, '19'. And I said, 'Mr. Belafonte, what were you doing at 19?' and he said, "I was coming home from World War Two and when I got back to America I wasn't allowed to vote... I realised I had more work to do, so myself, Al (Sharpton), Jesse (Jackson) and Martin (Luther King), we marched.
"I said, 'Wait a minute, man, you sound like you're naming a boy band group. What do you mean...? And he looked at my daughter and said, 'Martin Luther King, have you heard of him?' And we sat there and we cried."
Foxx added, "What we need to do now is the young folks (need to) pick it up now, so that when we're 87 years old, talking to the other young folks, we can say it was me, Will Smith, Jay Z, Kanye, Alicia Keys, Kerry Washington (who made a difference)."
Ironically, Belafonte recently targeted Jay Z over claims the rap mogul and his wife Beyonce weren't doing enough to address modern civil rights issues.
Foxx also noted that Belafonte also bailed Martin Luther King out of jail "so that he could march" and paid for his widow Coretta Scott King's bills "as long as she was on this planet".
The Ray star concluded his stirring speech by paying tribute to another African-American icon, Berry Gordy, explaining, "We have to salute Mr. Berry Gordy because Mr. Berry Gordy put Dr. King's speech on an album and put it out on Motown Records and after he did that, he turned around and gave those reels and those tapes back to the King family."
Judas Priest have signed up to 'teach' fans all they need to know about heavy rock at Las Vegas' first all-metal Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy Camp. Frontman Rob Halford, guitarist Richie Faulkner, bassist Ian Hill and drummer Scott Travis will serve as counsellors alongside former Queensryche singer Geoff Tate, Lita Ford and Vinny Appice at the four-day head-bangers school next spring (27Feb-02Mar14).
Halford tells Billboard.com he can't wait to meet the fans who pay to play with him and his pals: "I'm sure some of those Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy Campers will be full-on. I will be interested to see if there's some Metal God, Rob Halford lookalikes wandering around Vegas in metal and studs and whatnot - although I'm sure you can find that in Vegas on any given day, right?"
But he thinks many of those who sign up for the camp will already be good players looking for tips to become great: "I think they're just looking for some professional tips and want to hear from the voice of experience.
"It's one thing to sing in the shower and it's another thing to sing on stage. They're two totally different worlds. So it'll be an opportunity for me to do the best I can to answer questions: 'How do you sing this note? How do you manage to scream like that? How do you breathe? How are you able to keep up that type of intensity?'
"I'll try to explain myself as best as possible and give some insight into what it's like to be a metal singer."
A man has shot himself at the Florida home of singer/actress Olivia Newton-John, according to U.S. reports. Police were called to the Grease star's residence after it was reported that a man had killed himself with a gun.
According to Sergeant Scott Pascarella, the spokesman for the Jupiter Police Department, the deceased man is not related to John or her husband John Easterling, and does not live in the home.
The couple was not home at the time of the tragedy, but there were building contractors on site.
Earlier this month (Aug13), it was reported that the house was for sale and comedienne Rosie O'Donnell was hoping to buy it.