Monday, October 19, 2009

Worst. Video. Ever.

Sorting through my mp3 collection recently I came across "We Built this City" by Starship (Jefferson?). I had a hazy recollection of the music video that went along with it so I fired up youtube and took a look. Boy, was I rewarded with a gem. Ladies and Gentlemen, I think we've found the Worst Music Video of All Time.

Before rushing to the Cosmic American to share my thoughts though, I did a little research. Conveniently, Wikipedia has a whole entry on the song, and it looks like others share the same opinion. In 2004 Blender magazine named it the worst song of all time with editor Craig Marks saying the song "seems to inspire the most virulent feelings of outrage. It purports to be anti-commercial but reeks of 80s corporate-rock commercialism."

Ok, but I'm really just talking about the video. It's just so bad. I mean, I grew up watching loads of MTV, and I remember lots of silly, poorly done videos. But this one is just so awful. Sure, the style of clothing has changed, and it's pretty obvious from the first few seconds of watching that the video is dated. But the 80s hair and stylings are the least of your worries once the video gets going.

First there's the montage of people's faces looking thoughtful and contemplative. Why are they looking so stern while lost in their innermost reflections? Why? Because they're all looking at the Lincoln Memorial of course! Now, I wasn't aware that Lincoln built this city, or country, on rock and roll. Actually, I'm pretty sure he didn't found much at all. And I'm damn 100% sure he didn't listen to rock and roll.

But then, what follows afterwards! I'm just going to call it folks, it's the MOST cringe-worthy moment in music video history of ALL TIME. As our oh-so-80s rebel protagonists look on in adoration at Lincoln, the statue comes to life, raises his fist, and sings the chorus! It's just so, so awful. Even in 1985 this scene must have been perceived as awful. Words can't honestly express how truly awful it is. Not only that but it's creepy as hell.

The video just proceeds to be awful from there on out. Grace Slick sings about corporations and how annoying it is that they're constantly changing their names (boohoo!), all set to the backdrop of... Vegas casinos?! I wonder if the band realized the irony in these lyrics, as Starship are well known for having changed their name multiple times. Then a bunch of people are running away from giant tumbling dice. Why? I guess those dice represent those pesky corporations and their pesky habit of changing their names.

Then there's the radio announcer part during the bridge. I think it's there to give some 'street-cred' to the band, but if you listen to what the announcer says it makes little sense. He starts with "looking out over the Golden Gate Bridge on another gorgeous sunny Saturday." Ok, that sounds pretty good. Then: "and I'm seeing that bumper-to-bumper traffic." Huh? If you're trying to get the the radio guy to hippen-up the song, do you really want him talking about bumper-to-bumper traffic? How about something like "and there's no traffic today!" My reaction to this part is something like "Bumper-bumper traffic?? Oh well, I'll just stay in today and let someone else build this city."

During the next sequence we see a montage of skyscrapers pop-up in the background as the band plays. Hey look, there's the Chrysler building! And the World Trade Center, soooo rock and roll!!

And that's pretty much it. The whole thing is just so bad that I can barely watch. The song was already bad enough, but then someone must have said "Hey, let's make an equally atrocious video!" And one last thing, just why is Marconi playing the mamba?

1 comment:

Little Earl said...

Thank you Comic Book Guy.

Yes Zrbo, you really nailed the thematic incoherency of the piece. "OMG! Abe Lincoln is dancing and singing! Get out of the way!" "OMG! A giant pair of dice! It's going to crush us all! We built this city!" Oh, right.

Definitely not Bernie Taupin's best set of lyrics either, but then again, he and Elton were far from their primes in 1985, and also in his defense, he did not write the melody nor did he smother the track in misguided synthesizer riffs.