Passing fads

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Someone posted three hours of 1983-era MTV to GoogleVideo, and I’ve been idly listening to it/watching it as I’ve been at the computer the last couple of days. Some thoughts and observations:

– For a guy who doesn’t watch much TV, I kind of miss music videos. If you’re going to have the boob tube on for stupid background noise and company, you could do a hell of a lot worse than music videos.

– I am struck by how “amateur hour” it all seems. Watching a “VJ” (snicker) fumble with dialog while waiting for an on-screen crawl to finish just drives home how loosely scripted the show was. It really does have a “filmed in someone’s basement rec room” ambiance. I think this was a large (and under estimated) part of its audience appeal.

– Speaking of VJs, check out the “guido fro/mullet” on Mark Goodson. Dead sexy!

– In some ways, the commercials are just as big a bit of nostalgia as the show itself. “Hey man, is that Freedom Rock? Well turn it up, man!”

– 1983 was an interesting crossroads of music formats. “Available on four LPs, three cassette tapes or two CDs!” What, no eight-tracks?

– Commercials about video games are especially startling. Damn, that technology has changed in stunning ways. The early 8-bit systems like the Atari 2600 feel like horse and buggy technology compared to the current offerings. I can only imagine what the next 25 years will bring.

– It’s sad to see the number of really major music acts that have mostly faded from the landscape since this era. Elton John, The Who, Bob Dylan, Fleetwood Mac, David Bowie, Robert Plant, Talking Heads, Prince, Police, Steve Miller, Michael Jackson. Those weren’t being shown as nostalgia acts, they were mainstream performers in 1983. Today, those bands are either defunct, irrelevant or milking the geezers (like me) on reunion tours. They sure aren’t drivers in top 40 radio anymore.

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