Made in the 80’s

Playlist: Rock Duets

Sometimes a duet is the best thing in the world. Other times, it’s a disaster. But it always leaves memorable stories. There’s something about two huge musicians getting together to create music that’s thrilling and exciting. Pop music is full of countless duets, but they don’t seem as popular for rock music. They certainly exist; they’re just not as abundant as they are in pop music. So let’s look at some of the most notable and popular duets in rock music. For the purpose of this playlist, a duet is a song where both artists have an equal amount of time on the track.

“Close My Eyes Forever” – Lita Ford and Ozzy Osbourne

This is probably the most famous rock duet. The song, which apparently came about as an accident according to Sharon Osbourne, was the third single for Lita Ford’s self-titled debut album. With sappy lyrics and a blazing guitar solo, it’s no different from the many power ballads of the era. Ozzy’s haunting vocals do add an eerie touch to the song, but it’s still pretty cheesy. Though I love Osbourne, I never liked this song. It’s too slow for my tastes and is just corny. Then again, I’d be hard press to find one power ballad from the 80s I actually like. Still, this single stands out as one of the most notable duets in rock music.

“Love Interruption” – Jack White and Ruby Amanfu

The music world went a little nuts when Jack White announced a solo album only a year after the White Stripes ended. The debut single “Love Interruption” wasn’t what people expected. There were no roaring riffs and White screaming over screeching guitars. Instead, the song is mellow, subdued, and a bit cynical. Though White could’ve easily carried the song himself, the addition of Amanfu’s smoky vocals adds an understated sensuality to the song. Something about her voice adds a raspy, soulful nature that would’ve been missing otherwise. I actually think it’s one of the strongest tracks from Blunderbuss and serves as a reminder love isn’t always pretty.

“Dancing in the Street” – Mick Jagger and David Bowie

Two of music’s iconic artists, what could go wrong? To be fair, the cover itself isn’t that bad. There’s nothing particularly special about it, but it’s fun at least. Yet, the music video will go down in infamy. It’s unbelievably bad. Jagger exaggerates everything from his facial expressions to his seizure inducing dance moves. Bowie remains cool though it looked like he left the house in some wild pajamas. And don’t forget the scene where Jagger chugs down a soda while Bowie sings. It’s probably one of the worst videos of the 80s. Hell, even Family Guy said it was the gayest music video in history. Thinking about it, there are moments where the two singers get a little too close for comfort.

“State of Shock” – Michael Jackson and Mick Jagger

Mick Jagger shows up again for a better collaboration with Michael Jackson. Recorded for The Jackson’s album Victory, the song is a raucous and kind of spastic team up with the rocker. The song was originally meant to be a duet with Freddie Mercury for the Thriller album, but scheduling conflicts kept the two from working together. Jagger was called instead and it ended up being his biggest hit away from The Rolling Stones. It’s one of those unexpected hits from Jackson’s catalog, but it’s one of the finest examples of pop and rock colliding. Later on, Jackson said he Jagger sang off key, while Jagger called Jackson “lightweight.” Anyone else think the Freddie Mercury version would’ve been epic?

“Good Times” – INXS and Jimmy Barnes

When two talented vocalists come together, they often try to outshine each other. That’s not the case here. For their contribution to The Lost Boys soundtrack, INXS teamed up with singer/songwriter Jimmy Barnes on this cover of The Easybeats song. Michael Hutchences’ smoldering vocals pair exceptionally well with Barnes’ bluesy, rock-tinged voice. They actually work together to give listeners a thrilling experience. The two sharing vocal duties along with the high energy music supporting them, it’s everything you want a good rock rolling song to be. It has a similar good time vibe as Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock and Roll.” Listening to Barnes’ vocals, you have to admit it’s reminiscent of rockers, like Robert Plant.

“Hunger Strike” – Temple of the Dog

Temple of the Dog started as a way for Chris Cornell and members of Pearl Jam to deal with the death of Mother Love Bone frontman Andrew Wood. Their debut album did exceptionally well with this song being their biggest hit single. The track features Chris Cornell and Eddie Vedder on vocal duties. When two of grunge’s most notable and talented vocalists get together for a song, you know it’s going to be good. And that’s exactly what you get with this powerful, emotionally driven tune. Both artists get time to share their unique vocal styles, Vedder being gruff and raspy and Cornell’s higher range. It results in a song that’s beautiful and haunting.

“Stand by Your Man” – Wendy O. Williams and Lemmy Kilmister

Ever wonder what it would sound like if two punks ripped apart the Tammy Wynette classic “Stand By your Man?” That’s what Wendy O. Williams and Lemmy Kilmister for a single in 1982. The song is almost unrecognizable with gritty, blazing guitars making a ruckus while the two scream out the lyrics over the noise. Oddly enough, it works. It’s one of those weird covers you would never expect two rock legends to even consider. They breathe new sinister life into the country classic that makes you want to head bang. O. Williams and Kilmister teamed up again for “Jailbait,” which appeared on the Plasmatics album Kommander of Kaos. Listening to these two, it’s clear they were truly one of a kind.

“I Ain’t No Nice Guy” – Motorhead and Ozzy Osbourne

When two of hard rock’s most iconic and legendary figures team up, you expect something epic beyond belief. That’s not the result of this duet featuring Lemmy Kilmister and the Prince of Darkness. Rather than getting together for a kickass track that would melt your face off, the two sing a ballad instead. It’s a slow, somber song made for radio airplay. It actually became a huge hit for Motorhead’s tenth album March or Die. It’s a decent song and features a slow burning solo from guitar hero Slash, but it won’t hit that sweet spot for most metalheads. It’s just so unexpected for the rockers. What’s even more surprising is seeing Ozzy with a five o’clock shadow in the video. Yikes.

“A Tout Le Monde” – Megadeth and Christina Scabbia

This song originally appeared on Megadeth’s sixth album Youthanasia and quickly became a staple for the band. At the time of its release, it garnered controversy for its music video. MTV banned it claiming it promoted suicide, which Dave Mustaine was quick to dismiss. The band re-recorded the song in 2007 for the album United Abominations with Christina Scabbia of Lacuna Coil. Aside from some slight alterations, like a faster pace, there;s not much difference aside from Scabbia singing an entire verse showing off her vocal chops. The song keeps its sentimentality intact along with its hard hitting sound and slightly aggressive mood. Many may prefer the original, but this re-recording is a great blend of old school and new school.

“Walk This Way” – Run DMC and Aerosmith

These days the world of rock and rap often combine for both awesome and questionable results. But back in the 80s, the two were seen as exclusive genres that should never cross paths. Run DMC and Aerosmith broke that barrier with this duet. When it was released in 1986 it blew everyone’s collective minds. Not only did Run DMC cover this classic rock track, they even got Steven Tyler and Joe Perry to join them. The song is still amazing to this day and remains one of the best mash-ups ever. It, of course, would go on to inspire other rock/rap collabs, such as Jay-z and Linkin Park (remember when that was a thing?)

“The One You Love to Hate” – Rob Halford and Bruce Dickinson

Two heavy metal giants, both who are considered the best vocalists in the genre, team up for this roaring track. Recorded for Halford’s debut album Ressurection, the song features Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson on vocals. You’d expect to be beyond amazing and the most bad ass thing you’ve ever heard. In reality, it’s okay. It feels more like a Dickinson track since his voice overpowers everything and Halford is stuck on back up duty. It’s a pretty standard metal song with soaring vocals, blazing guitars and a lot of aggression. It’s not bad; just not very remarkable.

“Don’t Fear the Reaper” – HIM and Sanna-June Hyde

On HIM’s debut album, the band provided a haunting rendition of the Blue Oyster Cult classic. This version brings out all the darkness and grim view that’s implied in the lyrics. And frontman Ville Valo’s baritone vocals provide are a perfect match. Adding some brightness to the track is Finnish actor Sanna-June Hyde. She provided guest vocals for this track and “For You” early in her career. She’s not necessarily the best singer but her voice surprisingly well with Valo’s. There’s also something eerie about their voices. Still one of the best covers of this song.

“Under Pressure” – Queen and David Bowie

The thought of Queen and David Bowie doing a song together sounds like a dream. This amazing collaboration resulted in one of the best songs of the 80s. It’s an undeniable classic; pairing Bowie’s mellow vocals with Freddie Mercury’s dramatic bravado leads to a beautiful sonic experience. And try not to get chills during the bridge when Mercury pleads “Why can’t we give love/give love/give love?” The song became a huge hit for both artists and remains their most notable. Of course, the riff would be stolen by Vanilla Ice in the 90s, who claimed it wasn’t the same song.

Which is your favorite rock duet? Which ones did I miss? Let me know in the comments!

H2O – Hall and Oates

Release Year: 1982

Rating: 7.5/10

Hall and Oates are a musical act I’ve grown to love over the years. I’ve always liked their hit singles, but I’ve grown to respect their contributions to music. And lately, I’ve been in a Hall and Oates mood. In the past two weeks, I watched all their videos online, saw countless interviews, and watched their Behind the Music special. I’ve covered Big Bam Boom, probably their biggest album, already so I wanted to look at another one of their successful records. This time, let’s look at the duo’s eleventh album H2O.

The album opens with one of their best singles “Maneater.” That slick opening beat, hot sax riff, and lyrics about a woman whose dangerous yet tempting, makes this one of their coolest songs. It’s dangerous yet sensual as the music slowly builds up and Hall begins singing about this “maneater.” It’s pop meshed with soul for that “Motown groove” making it so irresistible. Though the song sounds like it’s about a vicious woman, the duo said it was inspired by the greed and lust of New York in the 80’s. Years later, it’s still one of their best songs and a great example of what makes the duo so talented.

The next track “Crime Pays” is kind of weird, but fun to listen to. It’s pretty much their disco song. It has a funky groove, glistening keys, and an upbeat dance vibe that’s meant to get you moving. The music is the most notable thing about the song. It’s not as memorable or as interesting as the other tracks, but it still puts you in a good mood. It’s a quirky moment from the duo before they go back to laying out the catchy, ear worm jams. While “Guessing Games” and “Delayed Reaction” aren’t bad, they’re kind of typical for the band. Both are pretty straightforward pop songs, with the latter having a catchier, if not, simpler hook. The former is kind of dull. These songs don’t cause much of a reaction; maybe just a subtle nod of the head at times.

Daryl Hall constantly talks about growing up in Philadelphia and being influenced by soul and R&B music. These influences come out best on this album, especially on tracks like “Art of Heartbreak.” Though the song is about being a heartbreaker, the song sounds sleek and sexy with the opening dirty blues riff and Hall’s crooning vocals. For an extra air of cool, the hot sax makes a return for a sensuous groove. It’s an underrated Hall and Oates gem that lets them get in touch with the soul sound that launched their career. The R&B sound returns on the lukewarm “Open All Night.” It’s not a terrible song, but compared to the other tracks it doesn’t stand out. It’s a slow song about finding out a lover’s infidelity. It’s not bad, just a bit generic.

The album also includes hits “One on One” and “Family Man.” The former takes a bit to grow on you, but once it does, it never lets go. The soothing opening keys and Hall’s falsetto makes it sound like a lounge song from the 70s. And if you’re not used to Hall hitting those high notes, it comes off a little weird, but soon enough you’ll be singing “Whoooa, one on one/I wanna play that game tonight/One on one I know” with him. It’s a slow jam about getting some face time with your lover. To make sure you get in the mood, the sax comes in during the bridge adding a suave vibe to the song. It’s a Hall and Oates classic that never seems to get much attention.

Family Man” is actually a Mike Oldfield cover about a man being proposition by a prostitute. He resists by screaming “Leave me alone/I’m a family man!” The song has a rock vibe with beefy guitars with some weird muted music making it sound like they’re in the middle of a jungle for a moment of the song. What makes the Hall and Oates version stand out is how Hall’s vocals get more intense near the end, showing how this “family man” is about to lose it. And it has a hook that lodges itself in your head. I woke up one day with the hook repeating in my head. No joke.

Though the album is mostly solid, there are some real stinkers. And unfortunately, they’re both written by John Oates. “Italian Girls” is a throwaway track filled with Italian stereotypes while Oates sings “Where are the Italian girls?” It’s so upbeat and generic it almost plays like a comedy song from the 80s. Instead, it’s stuck on the tail end of the album bringing down the second half. The following track “At Tension” doesn’t sound cheesy, but it’s so unfitting. Oates’ back on vocals singing about war and the military. It’s out of place because most of the songs are about relationships. It’s also drawn out, slow, and boring making it a song you can’t wait to be over. Luckily, the end of the album is saved by the catchy slow jam, “Go Solo,” which finds Hall rightfully back on vocal duty.

H2O is just one of the numerous hit albums for this duo. Though it’s not as upbeat and fun as Big Bam Boom, it’s a solid record. Most of the songs are memorable and have that classic Hall and Oates touch that makes their music so irresistible. What I appreciate about the record is how it shows off more of their soul and R&B influences, which isn’t always easy to hear on tracks like “Out of Touch.” And if you needed proof that Daryl Hall is a stellar vocalist look no further than this album. He has an impressive range and his soulful crooning is like no other. There’s some filler along with flat out bad songs, but the album is enjoyable. If you have a Hall and Oates that needs scratching, this album will be your satisfaction.

Feast – The Creatures

Release Year: 1983

Rating: 7.5/10

Siouxsie and the Banshees were never shy about changing their sound, but Sioux and Budgie take things to a completely different place with this project. Inspired by their trip to Hawaii, all of the songs have a tropical vibe and mood to them, something that didn’t come up much in The Banshees. It doesn’t really seem like an album at all, rather an experience. This becomes clear on the opening track “Morning Dawning.” It begins with wailing and what sounds like chanting from a creepy cult. This leads to soothing sounds of ocean waves crashing and a wind chime playing in the breeze. After setting the relaxing mood, Siouxsie’s haunting singing becomes clear. It mixes the soothing sounds of nature with eerie singing for a chilling effect.

This tropical vibe continues for the rest of the album and comes out best on the track “Festival of Colors.” It has more native chanting backed with upbeat music that gets you dancing. From the energetic music and the way she sings “shake your serpent thrashing hair” this track was made for an outdoor party. It makes you feel pretty good after hearing it. “Gecko” is a bit of a strange song. With all the animal and flower imagery it sounds like a track made for educational shows. Sioxusie has a spoken word style for the verse as she talks about the gecko and “giant sized flowers,” which turns into singing during the chorus. It’s pretty strange but grows on you after a while. “Ice House” is another track with intense tribal drumming, island vibes, and weird lyrics. There’s a lot of erotic themes going on, but they sound pretty strange: “Erogenous touch/Of brother and sister/The ice retains life no offspring to bear/Phallic flower/Etched into my memory/A feline form on a frosted pane.” Still, it’s a very raw, naked song and though it gets odd, it’s very satisfying.

While most of the songs are good, there are a few that are atmospheric and don’t warrant repeat listens. One is the instrumental track “Inoa’ole,” which means “no name” in Hawaiian. It has native chanting paired with stark, scratchy music giving it a jarring sound. Midway through Siouxsie joins in with the chanting while the tropical mood takes over the song. In the scope of the entire album it works, but not really something to listen to on its own. “Sky Train” is another song that doesn’t work well outside the record. It’s all rapid fire tribal percussion and random wails from Siouxsie. It’s like the music is trying to replicate the chugging of a speeding train. There is some occasional singing, but most of the song is instrumental. It has great energy and a hopping rhythm; it may not be something you want to listen to repeatedly.

The best track on the album and the only single is “Miss the Girl.” Everything about it is so infectious: the simple, yet memorable hook and the playful marimba music. This what makes the song stand out and continues with the tropical trend. Even though the vibe is bright and bouncy, there are some dark references in the lyrics to domestic violence: “You didn’t miss the girl/You hit the girl/You hit her with a force of steel/She’s wrapped around your burning wheels.” The closing tracks “A Strutting Rooster” and “Flesh” are…well, they’re there. The former repeats an ancient Hawaiian riddle for the lyrics and similar to some of the other tracks, it’s not bad. Just not necessarily something you want to hear on a regular basis. “Flesh” is flat out strange. It begins with slurping sounds followed loud banging and background chatter. Siouxsie spends most of the song reciting what sounds like sexual poetry while the chorus rings out “oh piggy squeals and donkey bray — at a sober party/doggy barks and horsey neighs — try to shock the party.” It seems like one of those songs trying to have a big concept, yet goes over most listeners’ heads.

Feast is an interesting, yet odd experience. Siouxsie and Budgie stray far from their Banshees sound bringing in tropical elements and influences. The album shows how the were comfortable changing it up and going beyond their musical capacity. They took the experimentation front the Banshees and pushed it even further here. The album has plenty of shining moments, but it’s definitely something you have to be in the mood for. With a lot of the atmospheric music, sexual themes, and wild chanting it’s not something you always want to hear aside from one or two songs. And while the music is good, it can be off-putting to fans used to the Banshees. Whether or not you like it, you can at least appreciate a band trying to go beyond their sound and exploring other avenues.

12 Creepy Moments from Non-horror Videos

Ever since the music video was born, there have been artists making clips that set out to get under your skin. These videos are often creepy, disturbing, and sometimes down right scary. But then there’s that group of videos that start out tame, making you think you’re in the safe zone. Out nowhere there’s one image or scene where things take an ugly turn whether it’d be scary or chilling. These videos aren’t horrific, but there’s one instance where things get batshit crazy. Here are 12 seemingly safe videos with creepy moments. Not all of the scenes are scary, but they’re weird, unsettling, or just unexpected.

12. “Heart & Soul” – Huey Lewis and the News

This Huey Lewis video starts out like any other from the 80s; in a club with ridiculous fashion choices. Lewis strides in talking about a woman who has caught his attention, along with the attention of everyone else in the club. Everyone’s dancing, Lewis is singing, and then without warning there’s a shot of a vampire waiter. No explanation. He makes an appearance and is gone again. He makes another brief return near the end when he’s sucking blood out of one of his victims. Okay, so the vampire isn’t scary, more like baffling. What was the point of having him there? It just doesn’t make any sense. It feels so random in this seemingly generic video.

11. “Rockit” – Herbie Hancock

There’s a lot going on that’s unsettling in this video, but I never considered any of it as intentional. It more seemed like one of those 80s videos taking advantage of new technology. Watching it again, there are a lot of scarring images from this video: disembodied legs walking around, faceless robots making jerky movements, and a weird bird snapping at the window. But the thing that’s worse than all of these are the mechanical bots with weird, fleshy like skin over their faces. They don’t do much in the video aside from slowly rotating their heads. It’s like they’re trying to disguise themselves as human and it’s disturbing. When that’s the most horrific thing in a weird video featuring creepy robots, you know something is wrong.

10. “Sweet Dream (Are Made of This)” – Eurythmics

This video already has some weird stuff going on, but the concept seems simple: Annie Lennox looks like a dictator as she points to a screen where a missile heads toward the earth. It seems as normal as a Eurythmics video could be until midway through. Lennox and Stewart appear in weird costumes and masks “playing” a cello outside and being generally creepy. Out of nowhere comes a close up of a cow, a cow that roams around for the rest of the video. The clip ends with them in a cow pasture for some reason. It may not be scary, but there’s something creepy and unexpected of seeing a cow close up wandering aimlessly. There’s something unsettling and weird about it, especially in a video that’s already strange.

9. “InBetween Days” – The Cure

Oh look, it’s The Cure being kind of goofing and actually looking happy. They all look like they’re having a good time with the upbeat music and – what the fuck is that?! With some clever glow in the dark make-up The Cure turns this lighthearted video into a nightmare. As Robert Smith is singing the second verse, his image is slowly replaced with another image of him in eerie green and blue make up. What we’re left with is a monstrous looking version of the singer. It’s so simple, but it’s made all the more terrifying with his head movements and his glowing red eyes. Then the video returns to normal as if nothing happened, making you question if it really happened. The Cure pulled a similar move in their video for “Boys Don’t Cry.” You gotta love a band that wants to creep out their fans.

8. “Oh Father” – Madonna

This beautiful black and white video is semi-autobiographical for the singer. It follows a little girl dealing with the death of her mother, while surviving her father’s rage. It’s somber as Madonna walks through a snowy cemetery and the little girl is constantly yelled at by her father. But the image that has stayed in my mind since I first saw the video at the tender age of 6 is the little girl’s mother in the coffin. When she steps up to give her a kiss, she see’s her mother’s lips sewn together. The image isn’t gruesome in any way, but it’s unsettling especially for someone who didn’t understand death or funerals. Madonna provided another unsettling image in her “Bedtime Story” video where she has mouths for eyes. Thanks for the nightmares, Madonna.

7. “Land of Confusion” – Genesis

Do I really need to explain what makes this one terrifying? The fucking puppets. It’s supposed to be a parody of current events of the 80’s along with the hot celebrities, but they all look like the result of an experiment gone horribly wrong. The keyboard player looks like a dehydrated Mick Jagger and Phil Collins looks like a giant potato. Everything about the video is horrible from how the puppets move to a scene where Puppet Regan drowns in his bed. The result is even worse when they put puppet heads on human bodies. And the scene with Regan slowly emerging from the water is nightmare material. I guess Genesis wanted to make their feelings clear about the president, but couldn’t they have done it in a less terrifying way?

6. “Puttin on the Ritz” – Taco

This one of those moments from the 80’s that makes you question people’s taste. The song was quite popular and the video is weird. The concept isn’t that bad; it’s Taco strolling through alleyways and downtown singing. But the video loses its mind near the end. There close ups of living mannequins singing and people in creepy old men masks. All the while Taco robotically sings and makes strained faces making him look like someone you shouldn’t trust. To make things worse the uncensored version has backup dancers tap dancing with Taco in blackface. It’s one of those moments that makes you question “did I just see that?” The video was horrible enough on its own. Why is this bit in there? It’s unsettling and baffling especially for a clip in the 80’s.

5. “Plug in Baby” – Muse

Videos from the 80’s aren’t the only ones that lure into a false sense of safety. Muse’s clip for “Plug in Baby” seems standard: the band performs the song mixed with footage of dead-eyed models. Classic rock star stuff. It’s until a brief shot of a pair of disembodied legs that you begin to question things. Eventually it’s revealed all the models aren’t human and have what look like tentacles or wires sticking out from their bodies. The pulsing effects on the tentacles are kind of cheesy, but it still gives you shivers when you see legs with only tentacles attached thrusting in the air. What the fuck, Muse.

4. “Self-Control” – Laura Branigan

Laura Branigan talks about the pleasures of the night in this weird clip. It starts out pretty sane with the singer walking through the streets and hitting up a night club. Along the way she spots a guy in a Phantom of the Opera mask, but that’s not what makes this video unsettling. He eventually takes her to a weird basement party where everyone is rubbing against each other wearing masquerade masks. Even that isn’t why the video is on the list. It’s when Branigan finds herself at home with these same people rubbing, caressing, and stroking her that it reaches uncomfortable levels. No matter how many times I see this video it always creeps me out. And yeah, it’s not particularly scary or anything like that, but something about their unnatural movements with those still, eerie masks makes this video horrid. Who thought this was a good idea?

3. “Wild Wild West” – Escape Club

This INXS wannabe video starts off with each of the members playing the song while faux Michael Hutchence gyrates in the corner. Seems like a standard bad 80’s video until the camera pans out shows disembodied legs and arms playing the tambourine. What makes it even worse is they’re connected making it look like one long body limb. It’s just fucking creepy looking. All they’re doing is clapping their hands and tapping their feet, but it looks obscene not attached to a body. It gets even worse when a pair of the legs tries to be scintillating by first rubbing on the singer and then rubbing on its own legs. Who let this monstrosity happen? It’s a video made to give you nightmares.

3. “Jeopardy” – Greg Kihn Band

A wedding day is the focus of this clip. We see Greg Kihn getting ready to get married and trying to get over his cold feet. Sounds pretty standard so far until Kihn looks around him and sees other couples literally joined together. One couple’s arms are fused together while another couple are like odd Siamese twins with a pulsing organ between them. Kihn tries to shake it off and is relieved to see his bride his normal. Until her face changes into a rotting skeleton and her jaw falls off. The rest of the video goes batshit crazy where the entire church turns into zombies and a disembodied tentacle tries to devour Kihn. It all turns out to be a dream and Kihn returns to reality. What is up with videos from the 80’s starting out sane and going nuts at the end? It’s like the director got high in the middle of filming and changed the script.

2. “Shock to the System” – Billy Idol

It’s hard to imagine anything scarier looking in this video aside from Billy Idol’s hairstyle but there is. After Idol gets beaten by the cops in a dystopian future, his body starts absorbing the electronic debris surrounding him. As if the image of wires being sucked into his hand wasn’t creepy enough, we then get a close up of Idol’s contorted face. He grimaces in pain as one eye steadily bulges out further and further from his face. Finally, it pops revealing itself to be a camera lens. Then Idol is transformed into a literal mechanical man full of gears and wires sticking out of him. The video itself may be confusing and laughable but the way Idol jerks and shakes with all those buts sticking out is disturbing. Who greenlit this idea?

1. “Total Eclipse of the Heart” – Bonnie Tyler

So, this may be cheating a little bit, but this video is too insane to not include. Every moment of this clip is batshit crazy. In the span of five minutes, you see ninjas, Cirque du Soleil dancers, football players, fencers, swimmers being splashed with water, rejects from Grease, and Bonnie Tyler fighting a wind machine. So much is happening in this video you think you’re prepared for anything. That is until Tyler runs into the possessed children’s choir with glowing eyes. The effects are pretty cheap by today’s standards, but that moment when a single boy flies towards the singer will make your heart jump. Why is this happening? This video makes absolutely no sense. It’s like they had a huge budget with no concept and said “Fuck it, it’ll look good in the end.” If I had to pick one video to represent the excess of the 80’s this would be it.

Honorable Mention:

“Talking In Your Sleep” – The Romantics

This video didn’t make the list because nothing really happens: the band walks around singing in what looks like a factory full of women sleeping upright. It’s weird, but nothing that creeps you out. But it gets an honorable mention because of singer Wally Palmer. Something about the way he attempts to dance to the music while having the same dead expression on his face is unsettling. It’s like he’s a robot pretending to be human and decided this is the way humans move and dance. It weirds me out every time, especially when he tries to make sensual (?) expressions.

Which one of these videos gives you nightmares? Is there a video I missed? Let me know in the comments!

Rank the Videos: The Cure 1986-1990 (REDUX)

I know I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The Cure are one of the best bands from the 80’s. Not only is the proof in their amazing songs, but it can also be found in their crazy, cool videos. If you’ve been following long enough, you know I’ve already ranked these videos. But since I’m lucky enough to be seeing the band next month, I wanted to revisit all of their videos. Have my opinions changed? Was I too harsh on one clip? Join me as I once again rank these Cure videos from best to worst. Where will your favorite land?

“Lullaby” (1989)

This is one of The Cure’s best videos and the best part is it still holds up 27 years later. The creepy song has an equally creepy video, which finds Robert Smith being eaten by a giant spider. For added effect, he is also shown covered in webs as this “spider man” who comes to eat people. Smith lays in bed gradually being covered in spider webs and even turns into a weird human spider sprouting several arms and legs. And even though it looks kind of cheesy, when they show Smith on the ceiling like a spider it still creeps me out; maybe because they linger on it longer than they should. Definitely don’t watch if you’re deathly afraid of spiders. Great make up, cool costumes, and one weird looking spider prop all make for an amazing video. Fun fact: originally a spider was supposed to be crawling all over Smith, but he refused since he is afraid of spiders.

“Close to Me (Remix)” (1990)

In 1990, the band released Mixed Up, their only remix album, and it included a new version of their hit “Close to Me.” They decided to film a new video to go along with and it has to be one of best things they’ve done. What makes the clip so ingenious is it continues where the original video left off. We see the wardrobe falling into the sea, then we are taken underwater where Smith and Co. swim out and explore the underwater world. More awesome costumes and weird props, including a trumpet playing octopus out to get Smith make the video odd, but fun. I love the part where they make it look like bubbles are coming out of Smith’s mouth while he’s singing. What makes the video even more charming is that they did this all on a set; no CGI found here. Unfortunately, this clip gets overshadowed by the original, which is also awesome.

“Why Can’t I Be You?” (1987)

This is probably the only time you’ll see The Cure attempting to dance and yes, it’s just as awful as you imagine. At least they tried. This is like a bad fever dream featuring awful dancing, flashing lights, bright colors, and a pair of disembodied lips. The band looks like they raided a Party City for various costumes ranging from vampire to bear. And let’s not forget one of the members imitating Louis Armstrong. Yeah…it’s pretty awkward. Aside from that it’s the silliest video they’ve ever done and it’s amazing. It also shows that it wasn’t all death and depression for the infamous dark band. They knew how to have a good time in the most bizarre way possible. Pope dubs it as the video he always wanted to make. The 12” version of the video features additional footage of the band dancing.

“Never Enough” (1990)

This is another quirky and odd video from the band featuring each member performing in a freak show. Robert Smith does double duty as an overweight woman who keeps flashing her thighs and a Siamese twin with bassist Simon, while Porl plays the bearded lady. Some of the visuals are really cool, such as The Cure looking gigantic while playing on a small stage or when it looks like Smith is hanging over the ocean. There are even some gruesome close ups of Smith in black make up that are kind of creepy when you look at them long enough. It’s videos like this that make you realize The Cure should get more credit for having some of the most creative and innovative music videos of the 80’s and 90’s.

“A Night Like This” (1986)

Even though this song got the video treatment, it was never officially released as a single, which is a shame because it’s one of their best. Unlike their previous videos, there’s nothing whimsical here. It’s mainly the band standing there playing the song looking morose, but what makes it stand out is how it seems to be running backwards. The band’s movement is very slow and spastic; Smith looks like he has no control over his arms at times. Also, rather than the camera zooming in on the group, it’s constantly moving away from them, something you don’t see very often. It’s a video that’s easy to miss, but it’s still one of their better clips.

“Just Like Heaven” (1987)

If you don’t know The Cure, you’ve at least heard this song. It’s still their most popular and most accessible single. The video is pretty memorable with the band back at Beachy Head, the cliff where they “fell off” in their previous video “Close to Me.” The video marks the only appearance of Smith’s long term wife Mary Poole; she’s the one who comes out and dances with him during the dreamy sequence. This is probably what The Cure will always be known for, but you can’t complain; it’s a great song. The clip is simple, yet beautifully shot. Though the band are wearing all black, they somehow manage to stand out against the sky backdrop.

“Boys Don’t Cry” (1986)

The whole idea for this video is actually really cute. Even though the video was released in 1986, the song was first recorded in 1979 for their debut album when the band was a trio, which is how they’re depicted here. They even went so far as to get their original bassist Michael Dempsy for the shoot. What makes the clip so adorable is that there are three young lads representing members of the band, while the members dance around as silhouettes. It gets kind of creepy at the end when the silhouettes of the members suddenly sport glowing red eyes. It doesn’t sound like it should be that scary, but it’s actually quite disturbing.

“Catch” (1987)

This is probably one of my favorite Cure songs, even though it doesn’t seem to get that much attention. Something about it is so relaxing and pretty. That might’ve been the vibe they were after with the video. There isn’t action or whimsy here. It’s only the band at the beach enjoying the beautiful scenery. And Lol walking around pretending he knows how to play the violin. It has to be one of the most unremarkable Cure clips out there. It’s almost surprising to learn that Tim Pope directed this one too, since his videos seem to find the band in odd situations and costumes. Though nothing much goes on, it’s still an enjoyable video for the beautiful outdoor shots.

“Lovesong” (1989)

This video is kind of awkward since the band are surrounded by phallic cave formations and yes, they look phallic on purpose (thanks Tim Pope). The opening shot is clearly a dick. It’s just hard to watch at times. No wonder the guys look uncomfortable sitting there. Smith looks like he wants to disappear as he curls up in a ball while Simon looks at the scene very disapprovingly. Smith originally wrote the song for his wife as her wedding present, but it must be hard to sing it when surrounded by a cave full of dicks. No joke, the director said he wanted to show the raw sexual power of the band. Is that really something you think of when you think of The Cure? I didn’t think so either.

“Hot Hot Hot!!!” (1988)

If this video is notable for anything it’s Robert Smith’s lack of hair. This is around the time where he decided to practically cut it all off and needless to say Cureheads were shocked by Smith’s new look. Weird ass puppets, awkward dancing, and “dwarf” versions of the band are all found in this chaotic and confusing clip. It’s not a boring video, but it’s not that memorable. The same can be said about the song. The clip is just weird and Smith’s embellished singing is hard to stomach. If you ever wondered what The Cure would sound like as a weird funk, Jazz band then check out this video; yes the results are as disjointed and awkward as you think. Why did they think the video, let alone the song, was a good idea? Probably drugs. Believe it or not there’s a 12” version that features more head scratching footage.

“Fascination Street” (1989)

The video for the US only single originally had a cool concept involving time travel and Doctor Who references. But due to time constraints and not being sure if American audiences would understand the concept, they settled for the band playing their instruments with some hazy effects over them. A part of the original idea is seen during the beginning; there is a police box shown much like the one used for the Tardis in Doctor Who. It’s a shame that such a great song got a mediocre video.

“Pictures of You” (1990)

This is another video I’ve always found disappointing. This is one of the songs that made me fall in love with the band, so it’s sad that the video is kind of boring. The set up is actually pretty cute: the band performs in a winter snowstorm in Scotland surrounded by palm trees and beach toys. There’s nothing else to it. Sure, it looks like they’re having a great time and Smith looks amazing in it, but there’s nothing about it to hold your attention til the end. It’s one I’d rather skip.

“Killing an Arab” (1986)

This seems to be the band’s artsy video. It doesn’t feature them at all, rather just an elderly man walking around a village until he reaches the sea. It actually looks like the same guy on their greatest hits album cover. The video seems to take inspiration from The Stranger by Albert Camus, which is what the song is based on (not the actual killing of Arabs). Beside from that, nothing else happens. It’s kind of bland and boring, especially when compared to their later videos. But it is appropriate for the song. This clip can only be found on their 1986 video collection Staring at the Sea: the Images. The Cure have since re-named the song “Killing Another,” because they were tired of the constant racist accusations.

“Jumping Someone Else’s Train” (1986)

This is a great song from their debut album, but the video is nothing but train tracks sped up from the point of view of the train. I guess it’s an interesting idea, but that’s all that happens. The band isn’t in it and it’s not like the train crashes at the end or anything like that. It basically goes from one stop to the next. The video wasn’t even released along with the single in 1979. Rather, it was specifically made for their first video collection, Staring At the Sea: the Images. It’s interesting to see at least, but it’s not something that you would watch again and it’s definitely not memorable.