Thursday, April 03, 2008

Best Video Ever?

You may have your opinion about what was the best music video ever, but I am here to tell you, you are wrong.

The best music video ever? Van Halen's peaen to school boy crushes on their teachers.

Ladies and Gentlemen: Hot For Teacher



Things you often love as a kid usually wind up a lot more complicated than you gave them thought for at the time. Truly, I don't think you could get away with this video again for about six or seven very legitimate reasons. Probably the number one being the utter objectification of the authority figure parading herself in front of a room full of children. Somehow I don't think that would fly. Sexist comes to mind. Possibly even misogyny (but I think that's unfair. I think the word is objectification).

Really, the video is hilariously awful. But wasn't that always the point of Van Halen's videos with David Lee Roth? They weren't exactly out there trying to uplift the intellect of mankind, unless you think Alex's drumming on "Hot for Teacher" is a breakthrough for humanity. In which case, you'd be right.

And, seriously, back in the 80's on MTV, this wasn't even close to some of the worst stuff you'd see when it came to ladies in bikinis. This was just the silliest. As immortalized in the classic "Tapeheads", in video music making, that's considered "production value". And if you don't believe me, watch any yound ingenue's video these days.

I think you have to give the director credit for the many pieces of the video which work so well together: the Harms-like Waldo character, the library table guitar solo, the Van Halen dance sequence, the young Van Halen equivalents, the ultimate destinies of each spelled out... Man. That's about five minutes of solid music video.

Sure, the video seems a bit as if it were cooked up by eighth graders, but that's appropriate to the subject material.

The video also gave us the phrase "Siddown, Wall-do!", which I think I need to start using around the office.

Anyway, its much better than the video for Sussudio (which I spelled correctly on my first try, thank you).

What was your favorite?

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Best video ever? Hell yes! I brought my pencil!!

Steanso said...

It really is a great video. Peter Gabriel had some cool ones, but Van Halen's videos always seemed to do such a great job of matching the tone of the band.

Anonymous said...

van halen may seem silly to alot of people now, down right fruity to others, but some of us remember that between about 1981 and 1985, those guys were the baddest motherfuckers on the planet. made it into guiness book of world records for being paid 1.5 million to play for 90 minutes at the US festival in 1983, OH MY GOD!!!!!!!!! coincidentally, eddie is still "relaxing" at bellvue from time to time.......e

Steven G. Harms said...

Steanso said it right, like Helvetica and American Apparel or Blackletter and the New York times, this medium just matches its deliverer.

My thoughts:

I.

How weird would it have been to be a "model" or "dancer" and have this conversation:

"Hey, Candy, I have a way to make a little extra for you"

"Eff you Frank, I told you I don't go on dates with the customers"

"No, I meant you could be in a video"

(curious) A video, like on MTV?

"Yep, a Van Halen video"

"Really! Tubular!"

"Yep they just want you to do some bikini stuff, pretty tame and the pay's good."

"Sure, OK"

....day of the shoot...

"So yeah, we want you to walk up on these desks and these kids over here are going to cheer you on"

"So, I'm supposed to, uh, dance, for uh, kids?

Fin

Awk-waaaard.

II.

What's up with DLR's the ending of the "detention dungeon" scene. He has that, "Whoops I farted ( in the general direction of the teased-hair model in the background here)" facial expression.

III. It's a great pastiche of so many 80's California high school movie cliches: The teased hair, the make-up, the girls from Fast Times in their pre-teen years.

IV. The 80's movie standard outro: "Whatever happened to..." freezeframe / montage:


And, believe you me, there's no shame in being Waldo-like, you know how he ends up ( about minute 5:10 ).

The best part of your newly acquired "Siddown, name here " would be next time Jason's over you could say

"Siddown, Steans-o".

But let there be no doubt of the awesomeness of the Halen:

Visit to see VH in SA

The League said...

I went for a lot of years, post OU812 not taking vanh Halen very seriously. They seemed self-indulgent in a bad way, not in the fun way they'd been self-indulgent before. But in 1984, heck yeah. Of course, I was 9 at the time, but I have strong recollections of understanding that Van Halen were technically excellent musicians, mostly supported by the face of Eddie Van Halen on any musicians magazines on the stands for about ten years, and the obvious chops of Alex.

My first concert = David Lee Roth on the "Eat 'Em and Smile" tour at the Erwin Center, circa 1987.

I am glad to hear/ see Van Halen is reclaiming their once spent goodwill.

Anonymous said...

Ah, I remember sitting in front of MTV for hours at a time, waiting for this video or another like it to offer some eye candy. This video delivers, but what about the video for KISS' "Lick It Up?" Four allegedly straight men in their late 30s prancing around piles of trash and sewage in spandex and leather. And girls! Nicely shaped females in minimal ripped-up clothing exhibiting their animal desires... ah, I can feel my IQ rising just thinking about it. :-)

The League said...

"Lick it up" was mostly notable for revealing to all the world what a bunch of homely sad sacks the KISS guys were under all that make-up. And I actually remember seeing that video for the first time, trying to figure out if this was supposed to be post-apocalyptic, or if this was a pretty bad street, or what... Also, it looks like a nice, sunny day wherever they filmed it.

The dudes from KISS also wear ladies shoes in the video, and one almost feels sorry for the "models" employed for the shoot as they have to fawn over KISS as they repeatedly instruct them to "lick it up". Not a sentiment you want to share with a lady you're trying to impress.

Indeed, if this were a post-apocalyptic world, and all that were left was KISS and auto-show models, humanity deserves whatever fate befalls it in the aftermath.