Friday Night Videos: The “Warm Velvet Box” Edition

On tonight’s installment of Friday Night Videos, we’re all about relaxing.  It’s been a rough week – between plague and dissertation – and I’m in need of some comfort.  So, tonight’s installment is all about the things that make me feel good.  We’re talking ice cream, warm blankets, and songs that take me far, far away.  We’ve got some of the first Sigur Rós concert I ever saw, and some vintage Tori Amos.  We’ve got a double helping of Mojave 3, and my all-time favorite song by The Smiths.  Not to mention some lovely Crash Test Dummies, Amiina, and more.  So, come on in, take your shoes off, and turn the lights down… It’s time to just let it all go…

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Friday Night Videos: French Edition

This week’s Videos is on honor of my recent trip to Paris.  Not that York isn’t lovely, of course, but it would be hard to say that it’s just as good as sharing an apartment in Paris with my girlfriend.  As you can imagine, therefore, I’m feeling just a bit of nostalgia for all things French.  The bread, the frites, the crêpes… all those wonderful, edible things.  And let’s not forget the long, lazy walks through a city that drips with history and, yes, light…

Now, I have long mocked French Pop Music – that much is true.  As a student, in college, I was first introduced to MC Solaar, and it sort of went downhill from there.  (Honestly, is there anything easier than rapping in French?)  I’ve provided a taste, however, in my inclusion of Alizée.  For you geeks out there, you will find in her dancing the origin of the “night-elf female” dance in World of Warcraft.  You’re welcome.  For the rest of you, I hope the rest of the list will encourage you, as it did me, by suggesting the idea that “big in Europe” might one day become a genuine phrase of praise.

So, today’s list is a mix of francophone artists (Canadian and French), as well as a few tracks by others that have a direct, or implicit, connection to the French.  (I’m looking at you, “Killing an Arab.”)  I’ve substituted some official videos with some homemade ones, in those places where embedding rules have proven too tedious, and I hope you’ll find it entertaining.

So, grab some bread and cheese, perhaps a bit of the vin rouge, and enjoy!

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Friday Night Videos – Covers Night!

Hey!  Been a while… Before I get on with the post, I wanted to thank everyone for stopping by this week.  Each day has been the “best day ever” for traffic to this site, and I’m really touched.  So, thanks!

For this installment of Friday Night Videos, I’ve decided to throw some covers at you.  One of the things about YouTube that really amazes me is the staggering number of people performing songs in their cars/bedrooms/showers and uploading them for the world to watch.  There’s some really awful stuff, naturally, but there’s also some absolutely wonderful music, too!  And more than that, there’s a serious amount of home audio/video editing going on here.  For the most part, this is impressive.  At other times, it sobers me with the reality that my beleaguered high school band was probably the worst band ever.  Sigh.

Anyway, rather than just throw you in the deep end, I’ve elected to give you a mix of unknown and famous covers.  So, without further ado (and because I really have to get on with my dissertation), let’s get to it:

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Friday Night Videos – Heading for the ’90s!

This week, in lieu of a proper post, I’m taking you on a journey through the ’90s.  These videos are more of an ongoing discussion about the history of music videos that I really ought to write down, or turn into a conference paper, or something.  But until then, you’ll just have to talk to me here.

I’ve left out some pretty obvious choices (NIN, Madonna, Michael Jackson, etc.) and gone with a “first things that come to mind” list of ’90s videos.  As with my other site, I’m all about seeing where all of this stuff fits together – and now you get to play, too!

So, click here, play all, and enjoy!  They’re probably not all winners, but they’ll definitely stay lodged in your brain. (You’re welcome.)  Next week, we’ll have a smaller, more focused list.  If you’ve got requests for our version of Friday Night Videos, then throw them in the comments section.  Might be fun for someone to challenge me with a theme!

As always, you can see some of the outtakes after the cut…

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Friday Night Videos – Revenge of the ’80s

So, this afternoon I had the pleasure of giving my girlfriend a tour of the ’80s via YouTube.  We went through white screens, bizarre experiments in contrast, several videos that were twice as long as the song they contained (I’m looking at you, Ms. Lauper), and more leotards than I really feel comfortable discussing.  One curious result: Because she’s from Luxembourg, my girlfriend is actually more familiar with “deep cuts” from Falco’s catalog than she is with Duran Duran or The Cure.  The things we learn, eh?  (And no, no buck teeth on her.)

Anyway, I’ve always found it fascinating to look back at the years after music videos first came into being – and now, with Youtube, I can waste countless hours doing it!  There’s so much experimentation – music videos with plots, really stupid plots, humor, sequels, space age effects, white screens, tour footage, high concept art, the Robert Palmer Girls… it’s all there.  And it’s great to see just how far everything goes before becoming more rigid and formulaic in the 90s.  Of course, it’s also amazingly embarrassing to sit through a lot of this stuff – but perhaps that’s part of the fun.  In thinking about all this, I was reminded of the now-defunct Friday Night Videos.

Now, we had MTV from the beginning.  Cable has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.  But for some reason, my father and I would be up late to watch reruns of Friday Night Videos (usually after a lengthy session of Night Stalker on my Intellivision).  From that time, I think The Police’s “Every Breath You Take” and Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight” are the two most memorable video-watching experiences for me.  So, whilst giving a tour from the Buggles through to Guns n’ Roses, I thought it might be fun to share with you some of the “gems” that turned up.  You know, have our own little Friday Night Videos revival…

Of course, some of them weren’t embeddable, and you’ll have to visit my playlist to see everything.  Just leave your irony-filter set to on, and click here.  Press play all, and you’re good to go!  And if you can think of anything I should’ve put on the list… let me know!  I’m sure this won’t be the last time…

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