Category Archives: music videos

Flashback Friday: “Only the Lonely” by The Motels

When I got a new computer last year, I was able to successfully transfer almost everything from my old computer. Unfortunately, one of the things that took a hit during the transfer was my iTunes library. I lost dozens of songs and albums, which I have been working to restore via iTunes support (for purchases) and old backup CDs I found. One of my favorite songs from the ’80s, “Only the Lonely” by the Motels, was one of those song casualties. It’s since been restored to my library, and in honor of that — and the fact that I still love this song so much — I’m sharing the video for it here. I have to say, even decades later, lead singer Martha Davis‘ voice still amazes me.

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My Latest Music Obsession: Neon Trees

The first time I heard “Animal” by Neon Trees, I loved it. Fun, catchy, sounded like a song influenced by music from both the ’80s and the ’90s — right up my alley. And it was danceable. What’s not to like? (And guess what? They’re not British!) Once I heard their second release, “1983,” I knew I’d be downloading their album. Sure enough, from the first notes of their album, Habits, I fell in love. The opener, “Sins of My Youth” and “Your Surrender” are prime examples of the band’s accessible lyrics — catchy without dumbing things down, introspective and longing at the same time. And lead singer Tyler Glenn does a great job at conveying emotions via his vocals; “Love and Affection” is a prime example. Overall, the album is fun throughout, with great songs that will have you singing — and dancing — along in no time.
Their first single, “Animal”:

The year that I was listening to Thriller, “1983”:
You can check out the viral version here.
The song I think should be their next release because I love, love, love it, “Sins of My Youth”:
And proof the band doesn’t take itself too seriously: their awesome cover of Justin Bieber’s “Baby,” with a little bit of Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me” thrown in for good measure:
Now don’t you want to listen to more by them?

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My Latest Music Obsession: Florence + the Machine

The first time I heard a song by Florence + the Machine was last September, at the world premiere of Jennifer’s Body at the Toronto International Film Festival. The song made such an impression on me that I even used the song for my Song Lyric of the Day the morning after. I added “Kiss With a Fist” to my iTunes library and even though I had the song in heavy rotation, I didn’t think much more about the artist or the song until I heard it used in the bully episode of Community. Suddenly I just had to listen to more by Florence + the Machine. Fortunately, Lala (RIP) was still around and I was able to preview the deluxe edition of the debut album Lungs. Guess what I ended up using one of my iTunes gift cards for immediately after? I haven’t stopped listening to the album since. “Kiss With a Fist” is arguably the biggest “rocker” on the album, with most of the songs much more soulful and introspective. I particularly like “My Boy Builds Coffins,” which plays like a mournful tale that could’ve been written or inspired by Tim Burton. And I love the soulful, cautionary tale “Girl With One Eye.” But what really keeps me listening to this album over and over is lead singer Florence Welch’s phenomenal voice. Seriously — I LOVE this woman’s voice. Just listening to her sing makes me happy.

The song that got me started on Florence + the Machine, “Kiss With a Fist“:

The amazing cover of The Source and Cadi Station’s “You’ve Got the Love”:

And my absolute favorite song on the album, which I listen to almost every morning on my drive in to work, “Dog Days Are Over”*:

Now go buy the CD or download the album. Trust me, it’s money well spent.

*VH1 has been airing an alternate — and I’m guessing newer — version, but I prefer the original.

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Faves: ’80s Music Videos

Song Lyric of the Day:

4, 3, 2, 1 / Earth below us / Drifting, falling / Floating weightless / Calling, calling home

Peter Schilling / “Major Tom (Coming Home)

As part of my job, I deal with country music news. Having lived here in East Tennessee for almost 20 years, I feel like an anomaly in that I don’t like country music. At all. So to counteract my immersion in the genre, I escape into my iPod and listen to some of my favorite music while I work: ’80s music.

A true child of the ’80s, I grew up watching MTV. Back in the day when they did nothing but play music videos 24/7. I know that’s a hard concept for today’s young whippersnappers to grasp, but trust me when I say it was awesome. (I now get my daily music video fix with VH-1‘s Jump Start mornings.) Martha Quinn, J.J. Jackson, Alan Hunter, Mark Goodman, and Nina Blackwood were my friends. My very cool friends who introduced me to very cool music videos, the likes of which — first viewing them at a very impressionable age — were immediately and forever burned into my brain. My dad would always tell me to “turn that shit off,” but the second he left the living room, I would always turn that “shit” right back on. If I hadn’t, how would I ever be able to share with you some of my childhood favorites?

10. “Video Killed the Radio Star” – The Buggles
The first video to ever play on MTV, “Video Killed the Radio Star” made its stateside debut on August 1, 1981. This was the epitome of cheesy gloriousness for me. The video boasted women in cool-at-the-time-but-never-since sunglasses, mod haircuts, and leotards. A tinsel-bewigged woman getting sucked up a tube like the one that sucked Augustus Gloop out of Willy Wonka‘s chocolate river only made the video cooler. That same woman later flew around on wires, bringing to mind the carousel scene in Logan’s Run. And, for sure, the lyrics were a harbinger of what was to come. What more could I have asked for?

9. “Mickey” – Toni Basil
Easy-to-memorize lyrics? Cheerleaders? Combined with what was quite possibly the most fun song I’d ever heard? Sold! Also the only time in my life I gave serious thought to someday becoming a cheerleader.

8. “Hold Me Now” – The Thompson Twins
Luscious keyboards, cool British accents, split-screen imagery, and the fact that the Twins were actually a trio all added up to a feast for the eyes and the ears. And youthful confusion as to why they called themselves The Thompson Twins and not The Thompson Triplets.

7. “Turning Japanese” – The Vapors
All-around coolness. British band, Japanese geisha, swordplay shenanigans. Sure, they mention sex (they said “SEX!”) at one point in the song, but how was I to know that’s what the whole song was about?
Bonus points for the lead singer’s mullet.

6. “Come Dancing” – The Kinks
Quite simply, this song and video never fail to make me happy. The Kinks channeling a big-band era band is a wondrous thing. Having a lousy day? Listen to the song or watch the video, and I guarantee you’ll feel happier almost instantly. And you, too, will rue the day they built a parking lot where the palais used to stand.

5. “West End Girls” – Pet Shop Boys
This is the video that made walking cool. And the actual song? Music like I’d never heard before. Therefore making the Pet Shop Boys the bomb as far as I was concerned.

4. “Hungry Like the Wolf” – Duran Duran
Filmed in Sri Lanka, the first Duran Duran video I ever saw really stood apart from the pack of videos of the day. More a mini-movie than a music video, these Brits added adventure, danger, and all-around cool to MTV. The fact that they were British only made them all that much cuter.

3. “Don’t You Want Me?” – The Human League
Dramatic and mysterious, this song and video enthralled me with the tale of an ill-fated relationship. The noir atmosphere, the movie-within-a-movie concept, the style — it was all good. And how beautiful was lead singer Philip Oakley? One of my first musician crushes, he introduced me to guyliner before I even knew what guyliner was.

2. “Take On Me” – A-Ha
Like there was any chance this wouldn’t make the list. One of the first truly groundbreaking videos I remember seeing, it still stands the test of time. Arguably the Norwegian band’s best-known single here in the U.S., despite their having sung the theme song to the James Bond movie The Living Daylights. Lead singer Morten Harket was another early childhood musician crush. And how.

1. “No Myth” – Michael Penn
Apartment residents’ live intersect in the music video equivalent of an art-house movie. Sad and hopeful and yet romantic at the same time, I still think this is one of the most perfect songs ever written. Not just one of my ’80s faves, but one of my all-time faves. Bonus points for Michael Penn’s wife being the equally cool Aimee Mann, formerly of Til Tuesday.


Filed under 80s music, eighties music, music videos