Don’t Cry – Video Feedback

Don't Cry

Growing up, very few music videos stuck in my mind quite as much as this one did.

The song, entitled “Don’t Cry”, was a power ballad by the Guns N’ Roses, arguably the biggest band in the world at that time, and was recorded back in 1991 for those two Use Your Illusion albums.

Directed by Andrew Morahan, the video for the song was part of a trilogy of pretty cinematic vids, the other two being for “November Rain” and “Estranged”. It looked huge, expensive and far more ambitious and creative than what you’d expect from a simple rock video. Packed full of references and in-jokes, the video is still very fresh in mind to this day, which shows just how epic and dense it was.

On that note, let’s take a closer look at this magnum opus.

The video opens on a strange intro involving a naked baby:

Baby Start

We move into his eye and the video finally begins:

Baby Eye

We find Axl Rose dressed up in full Barry Lyndon-style gear, looking like he’s straight out of a weirdly serious version of Adam Ant‘s “Stand And Deliver” video.

Axl Snow

A close-up reveals poor old Axl is pretty darn cold, to the point of basically looking like a zombie:

Zombie Axl

I personally didn’t know that Axl was already around in those days but I guess that a dude this awesome can only be immortal.

We cut to what I can only guess is present day (well, 1991 present day) as Axl is having a rather heated argument with his girlfriend.

They both fight over a gun in a scene referring to something that really happened to the singer.

Gun

Stephanie Seymour, Axl’s then girlfriend, does a good job remaining glamorous throughout the scene.

Girlfriend

And that’s when we reach one of the video’s most interesting stylistic choices: underground Axl.

Underground

Here and there during the video, we see Axl pray from below the Earth at the world above. We transition to something a little less odd and a little more peaceful: a picnic.

Picnic

Then these cars show up and suggest that some sort of funeral is going on:

Cars

I guess a cemetery wasn’t the most upbeat place to have a picnic in after all.

Lesson learned.

It’s then suggested that someone drowned at some point… ?

Underwater

That or it’s somehow symbolic of that particular relationship…

Oh, who cares? it’s a nice-looking shot.

Drowning

Poor Axl, drowning in his own tears 😦

You know what this calls for?

Rooftop party!

Rooftop

As the budget of the video grows like crazy before your very eyes, we see the whole band rock out on a well lit rooftop, surrounded by helicopters.

Axl, as ever, wears no trousers.

Who needs ’em?

Helicopters

The best part of this particular sequence, however, has absolutely nothing to do with helicopters.

I am talking, of course, about this part:

Slash Drops HatSlash Hatless

Slash getting so into it that he literally “slashes” his hat right out of his head!

This blew my mind, back in the day.

I guess I always thought up until that point that his hat was just part of his body, like a third elbow or something, so seeing Slash whip it off just like that had some raw power to it I did not expect.

Anyway, back to the plot.

Good old Stephanie is looking through old polaroid pictures as Axl rocks out on her TV.

Girl Photo

As it turns out, she’s looking at a picture of Axl with some other gal.

Photo

We enter the picture in an unexpected piece of transcendent filmmaking and we’re in the next scene, which begs the question whether this part is taking place before or after Axl’s ex-gal was looking at the pic.

Or whether it’s all in her mind.

Axl Blonde

It doesn’t matter either way.

Stephanie shows up to deliver Axl’s companion one of the most awkward punches you’re likely to see anyone attempt.

Worst Punch

Somehow, the punch works and blonde lady is sent flying off the piano seat and onto her butt.

Sexy Fall

All the while staying stylishly lit and glamorous, of course.

Just because she’s knocked out doesn’t mean she can’t look good!

Gotta love the band’s reaction to this whole rumble: Slash is so shocked he actually stands up.

Slash WTF

Duff McKagan, meanwhile, doesn’t seem all that fussed and kinda looks like he’s looking forward to sitting through a “cat fight” from afar.

Duff

Stephanie finally leaves and her bittersweet exit is final.

Girl Leaves

Sorry Steph, can’t win ’em all.

The focus of the video then switches to Slash who, believe it or not, has a little subplot in all of this.

We fly over him as he drives with his girlfriend in a badass-lookin’ car.

Slash Car

And we realise he’s having a full blown argument with her, even if he hardly seems to be getting involved all that much.

Girl Yelling Slash

He does look weary when she flat out yells into his face, however.

Maybe not the best thing to do to someone who’s driving really fast near a cliff while you’re in the car.

Girl Yell2

Just sayin’.

Slash lets out a quiet yet significant sigh…

Tired Slash

Before drifting out of control…

Car Skip

And smiling his ass off.

Smile Slash

I wonder what’s so funny.

Did a squirrel just jump on the windshield?

Car Fly

HOLY SHIT!!!

Car Fall

NOOOOOOOOO!!!

Slash Guitar

Oh good, he’s fine.

Wait –

Wasn’t there someone in the car with him?

:/

Slash Playing

Apparently, Mrs Slash, along with most of Slash’s clothes and his car died that day.

Luckily, Slash himself and his trusty guitar live to solo another day!

Slash Guitar Throw

Well… one last day, anyway.

I love this entire sequence, Slash sorta single-handedly steals the show here and the scene captures brilliantly the spirit of the video which celebrates life, rock and roll and death, a key motif in all of this.

Only thing to do now is wrap up the Axl plot.

We find Mr Rose in a hospital room thinking about the tabloids and nasty articles surrounding his band and himself.

Axl Papers

Then the video takes another odd Kubrickian turn as we delve into 2001: A Space Odyssey-style surrealism and another Axl Rose shows up wearing that cool kilt he often wore.

Axl 2

But then another shows up and things soon seem to be moving more towards something like Multiplicity than anything else…

Axl 3

In what is easily one of the most unexpected moments in he entire video, Axl Number 3 waves bye bye and enters the nearby mirror Orpheus-style.

Axl Mirror

Just in case viewers are getting too confused, we then cut back to that rooftop party where everyone’s having a ball power ballading away.

Duff And Bassist

Guitar Slash

But Axl is struggling to recover from whatever horrible disease has taken a hold of him and we see him tremble in front of one very attractive and concerned shrink.

Axl Trembling

The smile in the next shot kinda takes away from the dark tone the video was going for at this point but the sequence still builds up to an appropriately downbeat climax.

Axl Smile

Poor Axl, it turns out, dies soon after all that and his grave…

Axl Dead

Was where that underground Axl was praying all along.

Axl GraveAxl UndergroundWas this all Axl’s life flashing before his eyes?

Or was it just a vision of Axl’s own personal hell?

Well, the ending suggests that he’ll be getting another shot at happiness very soon through baby reincarnation.

Baby Bath

Oh dear, sure hope they didn’t actually drown that baby.

I mean, I know the Guns N’ Roses were big and could do just about whatever they wanted at the time but come on!

Baby Eyes

Nah, the baby’s fine and his frighteningly green eyes deliver the video’s final, somewhat cryptic, message.

Ending

So that’s the video for “Don’t Cry” and it is definitely just as epic and beautifully overblown as I remember it.

There’s, indeed, a lot goin’ on in it and I do really like the abstract way in which it tells its story and all the cool stylistic choices the video goes for. It manages to not only be arty but kick ass at the same time and make the most out of a bloody good song.

It’s nothing short of brilliant and it’s well worth revisiting.

Don’t cry, folks, more Guns N’ Roses coming soon on the blog 😉

PonPonPon – Video Feedback

PonPonPon_by_Kyary_Pamyu_Pamyu_Cover

Yup, I thought I’d torture you all for today’s Video Feedback.

If you’ve never heard of the Youtube phenomenon that is Kyary Pamyu Pamyu then you’ve both missed out on some worth-a-watch madness and you’ve avoided one of those annoyingly catchy Japanese pop songs that, no matter whether you like it or not, stays in and around your brain forever.

The song is harmless enough in that the lyrics are basically not much more than a happy anthem celebrating acting crazy because otherwise “life would be so dull”. “PonPonPon”‘s words, not mine.

Hey, you know what’s not dull?

“PonPonPon”‘s music video!

Let’s take a look.

Alright, so the video opens on an eye dress, which isn’t too weird seeing as eyes are the primary motif of the whole thing:

Eye Dress

Our singer is finally revealed wearing what turns out not to be a dress at all but in fact bouffant shorts:

Opening Dance

The first truly weird thing that happens, setting the tone for the rest of the video, is a tiny microphone coming out of a pink ear:

Ear Mic

The microphone then gets grabbed by Kyary’s tiny hand:

Mic Grab

And she’s finally ready to begin:

Singing Mic

Apparently the microphone stand is meant to be a reference to Freddie Mercury but you really need to want to see that to pick it up, frankly.

The messy, candy-coloured room Kyary is standing in is, obviously, packed with random goodies including cereal boxes and Wonka sweets:Cereals

Also, baby leopard back-packs (gotta have those):

Baby Leopard

Dolls and shit:

Dolls

Shoes and tiny fruit:

Toys Etc

And, um, panties…

Panties

Whatever, it’s a clutter of things a really, obscenely rich little girl might have.

The scene is set, now let’s look at some messed-up stuff:

Brain Window

Ok, so a red brain pops up over at the window, Kyary runs around doing all sorts of silly things:

Golfing

Silly Eyes

And finally we fly through the window and into that brain which, I’m guessing, is meant to be her brain, her sick, twisted mind.

Which would explain this:

Pink Face Brains

The two faceless dancers are recurring characters in this whole mind-f***, as you can see:

Dancing Fatties

What they’re meant to represent?

Boxing Gloves

Beats me.

The boxing gloves I don’t get either.

Ducks

Nor the ducks.

It’s a trip, man. But it’s one we all have to take, together.

After journeying into our lady-friend’s brain, we then take a little holiday into her heart, literally:

Heart

And OF COURSE it’s pink and polka-dotted.

What isn’t in this video?

“PonPonPon” soon makes way to some rather worrying imagery. Now I’m no psychiatrist or psychologist but it seems that little miss Kyary may have a slight fear of death or ageing if you go by all the odd skulls and bones laying around:Skulls

BoneBones

Yup, time to grow up, my dear.

This video turned into a bad trip FAST, by the way.

I mean, just look at this:

Birds Mouth

That’s just unsettling!

Luckily, the fruits on her head are always funny.

More goofy stuff we get to witness includes ducks with bullet crowns:

Duck Bullets2

Cheese hats:

Cheese

Melting eyes:

Eye Melting

And pumas, I suppose?

Pumas

But it’s far from over.

Believe it or not, this is only the beginning.

The eye fetish eventually reaches its inevitably insane conclusion as pink Kyary vomits out a bunch of eyeballs:

Eyes Vomit

Yuck.

Anyway, the eyes transcend that darned window and Kyary parties with ’em.

Eyes Attack

Before summoning them and forcing them to watch as she picks her nose:

Spinning Eyes

Jeesh, pointing out all the random stuff in “PonPonPon” is going to take all day…

One second she’s sword-fighting a clock:

Sword Clock

Which kinda backs up my whole “fear of ageing” theory, by the way.

The next she’s got a carousel spinning around her big giant head:

Carousel

Oh, and in case you forgot what the song was called, despite the chorus repeating it over and over throughout, you get it in writing:

PonPonPon

Thanks for that.

Now, what’s left of the video I’ll try and regroup into two sections: clusterf*** and what the f***.

Let’s start with clusterf***, which includes any moment in the video where there’s just too much nonsense on-screen to describe:

Clusterfuck2Scissors HairClusterfuck

And what the f***, when something stands out as just plain wacky:

AppleBlob2Shark

My favourite bit in the entire thing falls under the latter category but it’s somewhat unique so I’ve decided to isolate it.

You ready?

Here goes:

Pooing

Not the classiest moment in the video but definitely one of the most epic.

Before I finally end this, I thought I should mention the bread part of the video.

Yes, bread.

Because apparently the word for “clapping” in Japanese sounds like “bread” so we eventually get this:

Bread2 Bread

Never has bread been this exciting in a music video. Forgive me if I don’t go back and check but I’m pretty sure that this is the place to go if you’re a fan of Japanese pop music and bread.

How does the video end?

Quite simply with a happy, Anchorman-style jump:

Jump

And a cheesy ;P wink:

Circle Ending

Because things weren’t whimsical enough up to this point.

So what do I make of the infamous “PonPonPon” music video?

Gotta hand it to those responsible for it: at least it’s creative and boasts enough madness to keep anyone glued to their Youtube screen for a good few minutes. Hence the meme.

The song is insufferable but a guilty pleasure nonetheless and its video is exactly what you’d expect from something this goofy.

Thank you Satan.

*jumps*

;P

All Around The World – Video Feedback

All Around The World

Back in 1998, with the release of their album Be Here Now, Oasis were at the peak of their popularity. Their single “All Around The World” went straight to number 1 despite its long running time (it’s still the longest UK number 1 around) and it was the first song written by Noel Gallagher.

It was a fun, if simple, song with a grand feel to it, mostly thanks to it being accompanied by a 36-piece orchestra. Its reprise would end the album and mark the very last Brit-pop era Oasis song as the band’s line-up and style would change radically three years later.

The video for “All Around The World” took ages to make and demanded the time of no less than 24 computer animators. It was a trippy homage to The Beatles‘ classic Yellow Submarine flick but was it all worth it?

Let’s see.

The video opens on a creepy little girl ripping off the petals off a flower one by one:

GirlOut of the flower, for some reason, comes a yellow flying saucer:

Spaceship

I’ll give you a clue as to what’s inside the flying saucer:

Oasis Ship

The Beatles?

Nope.

Liam Gallagher

Good guess, though.

So it’s official: Liam Gallagher is an alien.

Come on, you could at least ACT surprised!

We also learn that what every spaceship needs, apparently, is an eye-shaped periscope:

Ship Eye

A “beady eye”-shaped periscope, even.

I guess if there’s shoe-hand-birds flying around, it’s well worth checking out but I would have thought that the big windows on the ship would have been sufficient, frankly…

Periscope

Yup, they’re shoe-hand-birds alright.

Anyway, I wonder what’s going on in London.

Tower BridgeShoes

Old giant phones, hats, upside-down legs…

London’s random.

We see that Yellow Sub… Spaceship pass by Big Ben:

Big Ben

Which is a nice moment until the clock strikes three and some scary-ass cuckoo bird from Hell pops out from Big Ben and tweets in our face:

Bird Big Ben

#Aaaaaaaah!!!

Believe it or not, soon after that, a bunch of crazy shit happens.

Flying spider germs:

Spiders

Lightbulbs on legs:

Bulbs Tires

Who comes up with this madness?!

You’d have to be drunk to think of tyres with black angel wings!

Drunk

That figures.

Good thing the chief animator slipped in an auto-portrait somewhere in the vid.

Whatever, the flying Oasis saucer continues its adventure by going out to sea where it finds two interesting things:

A very familiar-looking yellow contraption:

Submarine

And an old camera with a guy’s face on it fishing out a couple of giant red dice from the water:Boat Guy

What?

What else were you expecting?

Somehow, we then find ourselves in a Las Vegas-like setting full of mermaid-themed slot machines:

Jackpot

And whatever all that stuff is:

Dog CasinoCasinos

Why is everything so terrifying all around the world?

Is that the moral of the song? To never leave your house again?

I mean, if that is in fact what the track is going for then there’s no better way to put that across than by throwing at us the unsettling idea of PAPER BABIES:

Paper Babies

Well, face-painted paper babies on pens, rather.

Someone needs to stop this…

This video’s clearly getting out of hand.

Blur! Do something!

Ship Shoot

Take it down!

Spaceship BigWait, never mind, it’s got attachments.

Oasis doesn’t f*** around.

We fly over a beach where all these weird dudes made of meat (well, pictures of meat) are flexing and smiling at us creepily:

Muscle Men*shudder*

Before we fly next to a volcano:

Volcano

Which turns out to be some demon’s genitalia:

Volcano MonsterCan’t even describe what the hell I’m looking at right now.

Give me something I can talk about, something tangible I can describe.

Elephant Eyes

Oh look, it’s a green elephant with loads of eyes standing over a bunch of Beetlejuice pyramids!

See, that’s what I’m talking about: if you’re gonna throw nonsense at me, at least make it describable nonsense.

The band’s saucer continues its trip around the world by passing by a bunch of pagodas:

Pisa Pagoda

And finally, we approach the end of our crazy ride by bumping into Noel Gallagher, who is playing guitar on top of some tower as weird, big-headed ladies fly around him.

Noel Tower

Noel getting the spotlight?

Hm, bet Liam’s not enjoying this too much…

Liam Jump

Liam! No!

Don’t jump, it’s not worth it!

Liam Ladder

Oh…

Liam Ladder2

There HAD to be a less dramatic way of grabbing onto that ladder.

Never mind, Liam spreads the word as we get closer…

Liam Ladder3

And closer…

Liam MouthOk that’s too close.

Apparently not close enough, though, since we actually enter Liam’s throat and make it all the way down to his heart:

Liam Heart

Which is… oddly heart-shaped.

You might want to get that checked out, Liam, by the way.

One final mind-f*** ends the video in style as the spaceship flies back into space and the Moon has a welcome smoke:

Ending

All’s well that ends well, I guess.

So that’s Oasis’ “All Around The World” video and I guess if making something as twisted and LSD-infused as Yellow Submarine was the goal then it’s mission accomplished.

The song itself is pretty decent and the video has a hypnotic quality to it which lures you into its demented, colourful world and doesn’t let go. Those 7 minutes end up just flying by, leaving you with enough subliminal nightmares to last you a lifetime.

As derivative as it is, it’s still good fun and fans of Terry Gilliam’s style of animation, particularly, should have a ball with it.

A “trip” down Brit-pop memory lane that’s actually worth taking.

Burger Man – Video Feedback

Burger Man

Back when ZZ Top were so popular they even popped up in the movie Back To The Future Part III, they released Recycler, their tenth studio album. The album aimed to tone down the whole synthesizer-heavy phase the band was going through and get back to a rawer, bluesier sound.

On the album was “Burger Man”, a song which reached number 2 in the charts back in 1990 and which boasted one hell of a video. Inspired by 50’s sci-fi B-movies, it told an outlandish story in black and white evoking the likes of Troma’s Toxic Avenger, Frankenstein, The Thing From Another World and even Star Trek.

It was out of its mind and I loved every minute of it.

Let’s take a closer look.

The video opens on a fast food burger place called Biff Burger:

Biff Burger

A mini van from a company amusingly called SludgeCo pulls up and some dude comes out of it, walking towards the restaurant:

Sludgeco

Scratching his ass, of course:

Ass Scratch

The dude orders a burger and flirts with an unimpressed lady at the counter, making slimy faces like this one:

Slimy Guy

What a charmer.

We then cut to the same guy off doing shady things near a lake because it turns out that SludgeCo’s thing is getting rid of toxic waste by just pouring it in random rivers:

Danger Toxic

Unfortunately, after dumping the barrel of toxic waste, our favourite SludgeCo employee falls in the river:

Falling Dude

Oddly enough, he was still holding that old burger he ordered like 4 hours ago:

Burger

This, you’ve guessed it, causes the man to transform into some kind of Ninja Turtle-esque abomination known as Burger Man:

Burger Man HEad

The monster is soon off to cause all kinds of mayhem over at Biff Burger, because that’s what a Burger Man does:

Burger Man2

I guess he can smell his own…

Burger Man Biff

Now this is obviously a big problem, socially. We can’t just have Burger Men running around, terrifying the population.

I mean, look at these people:

Screams

Scream

They’ve never been this scared before in their lives!

Even if all Burger Man is really doing is dancing around, showing us his foam-covered ass:

Burger Dance

What is he dancing to, you ask?

For the answer to that, we only need to look up to the stars:

Spaceship

Yes, that IS a ZZ Top flying saucer.

What else were you expecting?!

Inside the space craft, we meet the band’s crew:

Alien Ladies

Good old ZZ-girls and, of course, our bearded friends themselves:

ZZ TOp

Who are clearly having one hell of a time rocking out in a spaceship themed after themselves:

ZZ TOp Signal

Evidently, the ZZ Top become aware of the burgery menace and decide to do something about it since Burger Man has kidnapped his beloved King Kong-style:

Burger Man Girl

And has been spotted making nightmare-inducing faces like this one:

Burger Man Tongue

He MUST be stopped.

Time to raise the alert:

Burger Alert

Engage!

ZZ TOp Point

Aye aye, captains!

Alien Lady

Beaming device activated:

ZZ Teleport

ZZ Beam

Go get ’em, guys!

ZZ Earth

Burger Man is clearly not happy to see the bearded bunch arrive on Earth:

Burger Evil

And it looks like he’s about to go all burger crazy when the band’s plan is finally set into motion:

ZZ Spatula

Yup, that is a giant burger-flipping spatula.

How else were they gonna get rid of him?

He’s a burger for crying out loud!

Anyway, poor old Burger Man is flipped into space:

Burger Space

And our heroes get back in their ship, off to further thrilling adventures.

ZZ End

Ok, so that’s the Burger Man video and, in case you haven’t noticed, it’s one of the best things to have been created by anyone… ever.

I may be exaggerating but how can anyone resist this masterpiece?

First of all, it’s a good song, second of all: it’s literally about a burger MAN and stars the band as star-trekking space superheroes battling monsters with big spatulas. What’s not to like?

One of ZZ Top’s best and most memorable videos.

All kinds of good.

Dancing In The Street – Video Feedback

Dancing In The Street

That this particular music video has become something of a joke over the years is hardly surprising. Anyone lucky enough to have seen it should have realised its comedy potential about 12 seconds in.

It’s been made fun of on Family Guy and in loads of other places, including my own home, but is it really that awful? Is it really that ridiculous and unforgiving? I mean, it’s David Bowie and Mick Jagger, two musical GODS with enough genius to fill a small country!

How bad could it be?

Hm, let’s see…

First of all, it should be said that the song itself is an old one and has had several versions of it done since Martha And The Vandellas came up with it back in 1964, including one by Van Halen I actually personally prefer to the Bowie/Jagger one. It’s a Motown classic which probably wasn’t meant to be sung by two white guys in bright-as-f*** costumes but what the hell, if Van Halen could pull it off then these two could have easily done so as well.

And, in a weird way, they have.

I mean, here’s a very upbeat song that exudes positive vibes and is all about having a good time and here we have a video in which two guys are clearly having a ball being about silly as possible which in turn will put anyone that watches it in a good mood.

Mission accomplished, methinks.

That said, let’s take a closer look at a video which admittedly looks rushed, feels rushed and… was rushed.

We open on a kind of abstract couple of shots, one showing Mick Jagger stamping his feet, another of this weird wall:

Foot Wall

You’re confused about why this wall is so important until Jagger makes his glorious entrance:

Jagger Entrance

Sliding into shot, whistling, showing us his “O” face:

Jagger O Face

And just when you’ve had time to process that Mick Jagger is happily making a complete cartoon of himself, in comes leapin’ Bowie:

Bowie Leaps

He comes in to complete the goofy duo with a little robotic dance move and they’re soon mugging at us, singing away:

Bowie Jagger Mugs

We cut to the street, which isn’t so much a street as it is the parking lot behind the recording studio (actually the London Docklands):

Dancing In The Street

They’re dancing, of course, though Jagger’s mostly bouncing and Bowie is either silly-walking or making big stretches like this one:

Bowie Stretch

In an awkward, unexpected close-up, Jagger almost eats Bowie’s entire head and the camera along with it:

Jagger Close Up

And we get to finally see the best buds (with benefits) sing face-to-face and back-to-back:

Face To Face

Like they’re Abba or something.

One of my personal favourite moments comes next when, right in the middle of the song, Jagger stops for a second to drink a Diet Coke:

Diet Coke

What looks like a Diet Coke anyway. Whatever it is, I always find it funny that he’s taking time out to do this while Bowie still juggles his bits in the background.

We’re soon back in that house/squat where Jagger and Bowie are dancing in increasingly random ways:

Dancing In House

Bowie having one hell of a good time sexily strutting his stuff in those pyjamas of his.

Eventually, we go back outside where Jagger almost punches Bowie in the face in one of his more risky moves:

Jagger Punch

And we finally end on the single greatest shot in the history of music videos, their asses:

Bowie Jagger Asses

Wow.

Ok, so it’s a really bad video but, come on, there’s no way these guys aren’t in on the joke. They know this is as silly as it gets but they’re going for it since they know it’s a) a Summer song about letting go and just enjoying hanging out with people while music plays in the streets and b) it’s for a good cause: all the proceeds of the song were given to Live Aid. They could have easily pulled together a much grander, more appropriate video with all the locations mentioned in the song, loads of people dancing in the streets and a real worldwide party, Bollywood-style but I guess having these guys there making prats of themselves was enough to make people buy it and push the song to number 1 in the UK.

So director David Mallet made one of the wackiest videos around but, you know what? It always makes my day and it totally did the job it set out to do so I guess we can’t complain.

*drinks half a can of Diet Coke*

Not too much, anyway.