Music

Strictly Global: A Source for Music Videos on Broadcast TV

The kind of show you wished MTV would make.

When music videos first really made their mark in the 1980s, broadcast channels devoted their Friday nights to them. As MTV and other cable channels gained dominance over the field in the 1990s, shows like Pop-Up Video and TRL pushed the networks out. While record labels threw big budgets at flashy videos, knowing that they served as both great publicity and entertainment, the cable channels realized they could profit more from cheap reality shows and “music based programming”.

Nowadays, the majority of music videos are watched on the internet, and their quality has mostly suffered as a result. In fact, some people say the music video is dead. But the music video is not dead. In 2007, OK Go became famous for their inventive treadmill routine in the “Here It Comes Again” video. Currently, Lady Gaga and Beyonce’s nine minute long “Telephone Line” is making a name for itself on the internet.

Nevertheless, aren’t music videos, as a valid art form, worthy of more than a tiny screen on a website or MP3 player? They should be viewed in a larger screen, on a medium that’s free and available to everyone, regardless of bandwidth. While we don’t have the power to add music videos to broadcast television, after all there are infomercials and sitcom reruns that need to be aired, someone is trying.

If you have MHz, a world-based variety network that appears on 25 different US affiliates, then you can watch Strictly Global. (You can check here to see if it airs in your neighborhood.) It airs at various times in different locations, but the set-up is usually the same. Various music videos are shown over the course of one hour by guest hosts, but usually either part-time music video director Dawn Reed or singer-songwriter Danni Rosner hosts, with some episodes having a theme. There were Halloween and Valentine’s Day themed episodes, but a recent hour only showed videos from Japanese artists, and the first show of 2010 was a look back at the best videos of the decade.

Mainstream American hits like MIA’s “Galang”, Gorillaz’s “Clint Eastwood”, and Phoenix’s “1901” are often mixed in with up-and-coming stuff like Brooke White’s “Radio Radio”, Ladyhawke’s “My Delirium”, and The Asteroids Galaxy Tour’s “Around the Bend”. In fact, some episodes feature a segment called “Nextwave”, where new artists are interviewed before they perform live. But what makes “Strictly Global” special is their variety. Amidst videos from Mos Def, Moby, Elton John, Bjork, Morrissey, and Smokey Robinson, are music videos from all over the world. In regular rotation are Hungary’s the Moogs, Latvia’s Backflow, Germany’s Hansen Band, Portugal’s Blasfema, and many more artists from various countries.

No TV show is perfect, so I have to mention that some videos are tirelessly overplayed, like the Chemical Brothers’ “Salmon Dance” and Oren Lavie’s “Her Morning Elegance”. Not to mention, its network seems to keep changing its timeslot. Still, “Strictly Global” is unique and tries to keep improving upon itself. A new segment, “Beat Kitchen”, which features music-themed recipes, was launched this year, and the show does take requests from viewers through its website.

I first came across Strictly Global about six months ago, when I was surprised to see critically ignored the Click Five on regular television and later on, a video mash-up to the Beatles’ “I Want to Hold Your Hand”. The point remains, though, that Strictly Global is the kind of show that you wished MTV would make.

The year in song reflected the state of the world around us. Here are the 70 songs that spoke to us this year.

70. The Horrors - "Machine"

On their fifth album V, the Horrors expand on the bright, psychedelic territory they explored with Luminous, anchoring the ten new tracks with retro synths and guitar fuzz freakouts. "Machine" is the delicious outlier and the most vitriolic cut on the record, with Faris Badwan belting out accusations to the song's subject, who may even be us. The concept of alienation is nothing new, but here the Brits incorporate a beautiful metaphor of an insect trapped in amber as an illustration of the human caught within modernity. Whether our trappings are technological, psychological, or something else entirely makes the statement all the more chilling. - Tristan Kneschke

Keep reading... Show less

This has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it.

It hardly needs to be said that the last 12 months haven't been everyone's favorite, but it does deserve to be noted that 2017 has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it. Other longtime dreamers either reappeared or kept up their recent hot streaks, and a number of relative newcomers established their place in what has become one of the more robust rock subgenre subcultures out there.

Keep reading... Show less
Theatre

​'The Ferryman': Ephemeral Ideas, Eternal Tragedies

The current cast of The Ferryman in London's West End. Photo by Johan Persson. (Courtesy of The Corner Shop)

Staggeringly multi-layered, dangerously fast-paced and rich in characterizations, dialogue and context, Jez Butterworth's new hit about a family during the time of Ireland's the Troubles leaves the audience breathless, sweaty and tearful, in a nightmarish, dry-heaving haze.

"Vanishing. It's a powerful word, that"

Northern Ireland, Rural Derry, 1981, nighttime. The local ringleader of the Irish Republican Army gun-toting comrades ambushes a priest and tells him that the body of one Seamus Carney has been recovered. It is said that the man had spent a full ten years rotting in a bog. The IRA gunslinger, Muldoon, orders the priest to arrange for the Carney family not to utter a word of what had happened to the wretched man.

Keep reading... Show less
10

Aaron Sorkin's real-life twister about Molly Bloom, an Olympic skier turned high-stakes poker wrangler, is scorchingly fun but never takes its heroine as seriously as the men.

Chances are, we will never see a heartwarming Aaron Sorkin movie about somebody with a learning disability or severe handicap they had to overcome. This is for the best. The most caffeinated major American screenwriter, Sorkin only seems to find his voice when inhabiting a frantically energetic persona whose thoughts outrun their ability to verbalize and emote them. The start of his latest movie, Molly's Game, is so resolutely Sorkin-esque that it's almost a self-parody. Only this time, like most of his better work, it's based on a true story.

Keep reading... Show less
7

There's something characteristically English about the Royal Society, whereby strangers gather under the aegis of some shared interest to read, study, and form friendships and in which they are implicitly agreed to exist insulated and apart from political differences.

There is an amusing detail in The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn that is emblematic of the kind of intellectual passions that animated the educated elite of late 17th-century England. We learn that Henry Oldenburg, the first secretary of the Royal Society, had for many years carried on a bitter dispute with Robert Hooke, one of the great polymaths of the era whose name still appears to students of physics and biology. Was the root of their quarrel a personality clash, was it over money or property, over love, ego, values? Something simple and recognizable? The precise source of their conflict was none of the above exactly but is nevertheless revealing of a specific early modern English context: They were in dispute, Margaret Willes writes, "over the development of the balance-spring regulator watch mechanism."

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image