Monday, January 31, 2011

My Favourite 5 Springsteen Videos/Songs

So, I feel like I might not have clearly communicated my love for all the things Springsteen in my last post, entitled "I'm in love with the Gaslight Anthem", or whatever. At any rate, The Boss is one of my all-time, all-time, favourites and since I've been singing "Hungry Heart" to myself for the last 3 days straight, I thought this post might be a way to right myself with the music gods.

Having said that, all that stuff I said about him pandering to the working man is so absolutely, unabashedly true. His attire in the videos are, in order: plaid shirt, sleeves cut off; suit jacket and button up shirt; plaid shirt, sleeves rolled up; coveralls; plain white t-shirt, jeans. So, basically, in three of the five videos he looks like he's just been working on his car in the driveway, one he was actually working on a car, and in the other he looks like a professional musician. And, hilariously, in "Glory Days" which just missed the cut, the video opens with the Boss on a construction site running some enormous super drill... I'm just saying...

After spending the morning watching these videos, the contrast between the Springsteen videos from the 80s and everything that's being done now is really striking. Most of the videos are done in long form, there's a surprising amount of non-song dialogue, there are almost 'scenes', and you almost feel like Springsteen is trying to sell you on his songs. Not in a sleezy way, but in a I really like my music and you should too, sorta way.

In contrast, today, music videos basically don't exist and Much Music and MTV have evolved (or devolved, depending on your point of view) into places for reality shows about rich drug addicted teen mothers celebrating their 16th birthday (or something). But the videos that are being made are either larger than life productions that are symbols of how successful the artist is, or aspires to be (basically every pop/rap/rnb video); or more subversive videos by smaller bands which are deliberate attempts to demonstrate how they don't need an expensive video to enjoy making music (think OK Go).

Frankly, I'd take anyone of these Springsteen videos over 99.9% of the actual music videos being produced today. They're simple, straightforward, and just about the Boss selling his tunes. No agent, no building a brand or crafting an image. If smell what the R.O.B. is cooking, you should check out videos by Colin Medley, Southern Souls, LaundroMatinee, and, of course, the grandfather of these sorts of videos, La Blogotheque all of which are more or less in the grand tradition of... 80s music videos... weak ending...

5. "Born to Run" Born to Run

4. "The River" The River

3. "Hungry Heart" The River

2. "I'm on Fire" Born in the USA

1. "Dancing in the Dark" Born in the USA
... great song... it's my favourite because it's given me my signature wedding dance move: the underbite-shimmy-snap. Also, is that the chick from Cougartown?