Music

This Just In: The Hooters’ “And We Danced” May Be the Worst Video of All Time

The Hooters’ video for “And We Danced” is a remarkable gestalt of auditory assault and can’t-look-away-it’s-so-bad imagery, a perfect storm of suck.

In discussions about the worst pop song of all time, Starship’s “We Built This City” is the go-to turkey. The song’s wrong-headed indignation over '80s corporate culture coupled with laughably sub-par musical stylings create a spicy jambalaya of awful for the ages. The video -- in which former members of Jefferson Airplane stare creepily into the camera for inordinate lengths of time -- doesn’t exactly help matters either.

However, another '80s-era gem has been sorely overlooked in such considerations. The Hooters’ video for “And We Danced” is a remarkable gestalt of auditory assault and can’t-look-away-it’s-so-bad imagery, a perfect storm of suck.

The video for “And We Danced” opens with a group of teenagers sneaking into a drive-in theater...because this is obviously what teenagers do when they really want to cast off the shackles of adult authority. This riff-raff is soon treated to (read: punished by) an impromptu Hooters concert, though not before a couple of middle-aged men play the song’s intro, seeming to wax nostalgic about their own gate-crashing days. The melodica intro backed by a strumming mandolin wouldn’t actually be all that unpleasant were it not merely a prelude to the coming onslaught.

“And We Danced” starts in earnest with a screeching nerve-pinch of synthesizers and guitars, a disorienting pop-rock wall of sound we as listeners crash into without warning. The camera pans over this moment with horror movie impressionism then moves immediately into a montage of coked-up head bobbles, white guy neck pumps, and thousand-yard stares in which the band presumably meditates at length on the olden days, when they used to sneak into drive-in theaters themselves. The lead singer’s wild-eyed spasms would seem to suggest that he and his cohort are still too young and vibrant for the mandolin/melodica resignations of the song’s intro, though these attempts only come off painfully old-seeming. And the hair...oh, the hair. Every single member of the band sports a glorious mullet.

Confusingly, the drive-in theater theme continues throughout the video with shots of the band interspersed with those of people buying concessions, the rebellious teenagers struggling with the trunk of their car, and a man dressed like Thurston Howell III (with sea captain hat included) helping the teenagers to pry open their trunk. You know, normal drive-in stuff. The premise begs the question: if this is a drive-in theater, why are the Hooters playing a concert there? Still more, why do the movie-goers seem so chillingly complicit to this fact? And finally, what on earth does any of this have to do with "dancing like a wave on the ocean romance"?

Of course, waxing critical over the faults of '80s pop-rock videos is a bit like saying water is wet or that Bruce Lee was kind of good at martial arts. The spotty video aesthetics destined to capture the epic drama between Ray Ban-wearing Me Generation materialism and patronizing Baby Boomer idealism have retrospectively become a high water mark for schlocky pap. Mullet-rockers like the Hooters are pop-cultural straw men, and were it not for the sheer conviction of their leg kicks, the aggressiveness of their lip-biting fervor, “And We Danced” would be only harmlessly lame, like someone’s dad dancing drunkenly at a wedding.

But this video must be made an example of, lest the younger generation inherit the wrath of our inattention. “Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it”, and so forth: For the children, it must be said. The video for the Hooters’ “And We Danced” may be pop culture’s worst musical moment ever.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Film

The Dance of Male Forms in Denis' 'Beau travail'

Claire Denis' masterwork of cinematic poetry, Beau travail, is a cinematic ballet that tracks through tone and style the sublimation of violent masculine complexes into the silent convulsions of male angst.

Music

The Cradle's 'Laughing in My Sleep' Is an Off-kilter Reflection of Musical Curiosity

The Cradle's Paco Cathcart has curated a thoughtfully multifarious album. Laughing in My Sleep is an impressive collection of 21 tracks, each unapologetic in their rejection of expectations.

Music

Tobin Sprout Goes Americana on 'Empty Horses'

During the heyday of Guided By Voices, Tobin Sprout wasn't afraid to be absurd amongst all that fuzz. Sprout's new album, Empty Horses, is not the Tobin Sprout we know.

Film

'All In: The Fight for Democracy' Spotlights America's Current Voting Restrictions as Jim Crow 2.0

Featuring an ebullient and combative Stacey Abrams, All In: The Fight for Democracy shows just how determined anti-democratic forces are to ensure that certain groups don't get access to the voting booth.

Music

'Transgender Street Legend Vol. 2' Finds Left at London "At My Peak and Still Rising"

"[Pandemic lockdown] has been a detriment to many people's mental health," notes Nat Puff (aka Left at London) around her incendiary, politically-charged new album, "but goddamn it if I haven't been making some bops here and there!"

Music

Daniel Romano's 'How Ill Thy World Is Ordered' Is His Ninth LP of 2020 and It's Glorious

No, this is isn't a typo. Daniel Romano's How Ill Thy World Is Ordered is his ninth full-length release of 2020, and it's a genre-busting thrill ride.

Music

The Masonic Travelers Offer Stirring Rendition of "Rock My Soul" (premiere)

The Last Shall Be First: the JCR Records Story, Volume 1 captures the sacred soul of Memphis in the 1970s and features a wide range of largely forgotten artists waiting to be rediscovered. Hear the Masonic Travelers "Rock My Soul".

Music

GLVES Creates Mesmerizing Dark Folktronica on "Heal Me"

Australian First Nations singer-songwriter GLVES creates dense, deep, and darkish electropop that mesmerizes with its blend of electronics and native sounds on "Heal Me".

Music

Otis Junior and Dr. Dundiff Tells Us "When It's Sweet" It's So Sweet

Neo-soul singer Otis Junior teams with fellow Kentuckian Dr. Dundiff and his hip-hop beats for the silky, groovy "When It's Sweet".

Music

Lars and the Magic Mountain's "Invincible" Is a Shoegazey, Dreamy Delight (premiere)

Dutch space pop/psychedelic band Lars and the Magic Mountain share the dreamy and gorgeous "Invincible".

Film

What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .

Music

Alexander Wren's "The Earth Is Flat" Wryly Looks at Lost Love (premiere + interview)

Singer-songwriter Alexander Wren's "The Earth Is Flat" is a less a flat-earther's anthem and more a wry examination of heartache.

Music

Big Little Lions' "Distant Air" Is a Powerful Folk-Anthem (premiere)

Folk-pop's Big Little Lions create a powerful anthem with "Distant Air", a song full of sophisticated pop hooks, smart dynamics, and killer choruses.

Music

The Flat Five Invite You to "Look at the Birdy" (premiere)

Chicago's the Flat Five deliver an exciting new single that exemplifies what some have called "twisted sunshine vocal pop".

Music

Brian Bromberg Pays Tribute to Hendrix With "Jimi" (premiere + interview)

Bass giant Brian Bromberg revisits his 2012 tribute to Jimi Hendrix 50 years after his passing, and reflects on the impact Hendrix's music has had on generations.

Jedd Beaudoin
Music

Shirley Collins' ​'Heart's Ease'​ Affirms Her Musical Prowess

Shirley Collins' Heart's Ease makes it apparent these songs do not belong to her as they are ownerless. Collins is the conveyor of their power while ensuring the music maintains cultural importance.

Books

Ignorance, Fear, and Democracy in America

Anti-intellectualism in America is, sadly, older than the nation itself. A new collection of Richard Hofstadter's work from Library of America traces the history of ideas and cultural currents in American society and politics.

By the Book

Democratizing Our Data: A Manifesto (excerpt)

Just as big tech leads world in data for profit, the US government can produce data for the public good, sans the bureaucracy. This excerpt of Julia Lane's Democratizing Our Data: A Manifesto will whet your appetite for disruptive change in data management, which is critical for democracy's survival.

Julia Lane

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.