Bookmark and Share
Text:AAA
Thursday, Jun 27, 2013
For good or bad, Miley Cyrus' latest music video marks the final move for the hipster sub-culture (with its appropriated hip-hop imagery) into the mainstream.

These days, it’s hard to find any pop culture artifact that isn’t almost entirely made up of allusions or references to other cultural artifacts. Originally labeled “hipster”, this postmodern pastiche of appropriated style signifiers has moved more and more into the mainstream. Just a few years ago, this smashing together of ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s culture (in fashion and musical aesthetics) was relegated to the indie world, but, as tends to happen with subcultures, it has been co-opted by the mainstream.


Increasingly, this indie subculture has also been appropriating signifiers from other subcultures, namely urban, predominately black, hip-hop, and “ratchet” culture. This has been noted as “hipster racism” and can be seen in fashion, heard in music (the rising popularity and watering down of trap music), and seen acted out in music videos. (A less problematic relationship between indie and hip-hop can be seen in big name music festivals like Jay-Z’s Made in America, Bonnaroo, and Pitchfork Festival.)


Bookmark and Share
Text:AAA
Wednesday, Nov 30, 2011
In this third and final installment of Sound Affects' retrospective of music videos from the 1980s, we focus on 20 promos that the passage of time has been especially unkind to.

The late 1970s saw the advent of cable television and dance clubs, introducing outlets for an emerging hybrid of music and film at a time when the DIY culture that enveloped punk and New Wave encouraged experimentation. Visually inventive artists such as Devo, Laurie Anderson, and Talking Heads were among the first to recognize video as a medium to make a statement, creating pieces that could stand on their own as serious works of performance art. Visually inventive and photogenic artists such as Duran Duran, the Human League, ABC, and Adam Ant would also create arresting pieces that have stood the test of time.


But as we noted in our previous entry in this ‘80s-theme List This series, with innovation and experimentation comes the risk of rapid obsolescence. This week’s list looks at a collection of video clips from the decade that have not aged well, bearing a distinctive look that instantly tags the work as a product of their time.


Bookmark and Share
Text:AAA
Thursday, Oct 6, 2011
In this second installment of Sound Affects' retrospective of music videos from the 1980s, we focus on 20 promos that have, remarkably, stood the test of time.

In the first part of our series spotlighting music videos in the 1980s, we took a look at some of the more unsung clips from the era. The dawning of this artistic platform was an exciting time for all involved: musicians, video directors, artists—diving head first into a new medium with little in the way of definitive standards. Working against a tabula rasa, and with low barriers to entry, the possibilities were endless. As we peer over into a mineshaft of archived content, we find a lot of quality work that held up well, and others that… um, well, you be the judge. There are a number of items that factor into a video’s obsolescence.


Bookmark and Share
Text:AAA
Thursday, Sep 1, 2011
PopMatters begins a new series examining at the widespread emergence of music video in the 1980s. From major artists like the Clash, David Bowie, and U2 to less famous brethren such as Haysi Fantayzee and Grandmaster Caz, these are the unsung videos from that decade that might have missed your attention the first time around.

From the moment MTV first went on the air on 1 August 1981 with the Buggles’ “Video Killed the Radio Star”, the 1980s have come to be defined by iconic music videos. Mention music television, and one conjures up a motley cast of characters indelibly stamped in one’s noggin: slackster buskers-in-overalls (“Come on Eileen”), renaissance faire revelers (“Safety Dance”), creepy android stowaway chicks (“I Ran”), or an even creepier boy singing for his supper to a jury in blackface, making jazz hands gestures (“Do You Really Want to Hurt Me”) . The new video medium was an inflection point for modern pop music, launching the careers of the camera-savvy (Duran Duran, Madonna, Billy Idol), providing veteran musicians with an opportunity to shine (Robert Palmer, Dire Straits), and allowing even the most accomplished artists to ascend to new heights (Michael Jackson, Tina Turner).


Thanks to the ubiquity of social media, the music video has vaulted from curiosity to shiny new toy to killer app, an artist-controlled platform for launching talent into mass consciousness, judging by the overnight success of growing numbers of YouTube sensations. In future weeks, we will take a look at the seminal decade when music videos first emerged, the ‘80s, including a look at iconic videos, the most over-the-top and lo-fi productions, and those creations that, with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, have either stood the test of time, or have aged not so well.


This list will take a look at unsung videos from that decade. The videos spotlighted here find their way on the list either because they might have missed your attention the first time around or they merit further attention. They include lost hits, videos that made a critical contribution but never received their proper due, as well as overlooked deeper cuts from popular artists.


Bookmark and Share
Text:AAA
Thursday, Jul 7, 2011
With the 25th anniversary deluxe edition of the band's fourth album Lifes Rich Pageant due out soon, here's a look at the top videos R.E.M. made during its tenure on I.R.S. Records.

During its tenure on I.R.S. Records between 1982 and 1987, R.E.M. practically invented the language for alternative rock music videos. Rebuking the style and flash of the first MTV generation, in those years the Athens, Georgia quartet produced beguiling videos (often directed by singer Michael Stipe) to accompany its singles and a select few album cuts that were more art films than pop promos, relying on Super 8 footage, film negatives, montage editing, altered speeds, and other low-cost film-making techniques instead of clichéd plastic-looking sexy models and lip-synced performances to capture the rustic mystery of its music in visual form. Although the look of those vintage R.E.M. clips was admittedly dependent on limited resources, the band and the directors made laudably skillful use of what was available to them, resulting in timeless efforts that are on par artistically with the most acclaimed promos (be they big-budget technical spectacles or similarly clever DIY affairs) from that or any other era.


Tagged as: r.e.m.
Now on PopMatters
PM Picks
Announcements
PopMatters' LUCY Giveaway! in PopMatters's Hangs on LockerDome

© 1999-2014 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters.com™ and PopMatters™ are trademarks
of PopMatters Media, Inc.

PopMatters is wholly independently owned and operated.