Thursday, August 25, 2011

Can a visual make or break a song for you?

Every once in a while, I get hooked on a song and just love listening to it but then I see video for it and all of a sudden, I fall a little out of love.  I wonder if that says that I'm easily influenced by visuals or if the visual presented is simply incongruous with the imagery I have for the song (if any). 

The analogy I thought of was the Dirty Vegas song, "Days Go By".  The song itself is in my opinion, very catchy in a mellow night life-soundtrack sort of way.  It was used in a Mitsubishi commercial years ago, highlighting a dancer in the front seat:

Personally, I thought this commercial captured the ambient, anticipatory night feel of this song pretty well and to be honest I thought the dancer was fine.  But when the commercial came up in conversation, it turns out a lot of folks really hated the dancing featured.  To me this sentiment was most efficiently and memorably captured in this David Chappelle parody of the Mitsubishi commercial:

David Chappelle just nails the concept of how a visual can kill a moment or song when he tells the dancer to leave his car and driving alone, he mutters, That crazy dancin's making my pen!s soft.

So one of my favorite songs from the late 90's is Noreaga's "Superthug (What! What!)".  The first time I heard it, I was watching some kids doing amazing double-dutch to it on "Showtime at the Apollo".  But the song alone has one of the catchiest beats and I had listened to it constantly.  And even now, I'll play it occasionally and just get hooked on the beat again.  But it was only recently that I caught the video for it (if you're unfamiliar with the song, please try listening to it without watching it first):

omg.  I immediately thought of the David Chappelle quote because I guess I had ranked this song so high in my mind, that seeing the vague plot, the scantily-clad women somewhat dancing for no reason, and his overly vigorous gesticulations--is making my passion for the song go down.  Now I get that this is the typical quality/style of music videos from the 90s and I would even hazard to guess that Noreaga himself watched the video and thought to himself, what the pluck am I doing with my arms?!  But the point is that seeing the visual after loving the song aurally for so long is now making me fall a bit out of love for the song.

I'm pretty sure there are other songs where the visual doesn't work for me.  Off the top of my head, I can think of the Buggles "Video Killed the Radio Star"--love hearing the song, but the video...ugh. Does this happen to anyone else? 

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