MTV turns 40 today! So thanks for 14 years of music.

I'm keeping the dream alive on the DNA Lounge webcast with the DNA Pizza music video collection. One does what one can.

Music videos from this era are mostly unobtainium, at any reasonable level of quality. If you're lucky, a handful of them showed up on a long-out-of-print SD DVD compilation release in the early 90s, but generally all that is available are Nth generation VHS rips. If any of you have access to cardboard boxes of the original U-matic tapes of the MTV vault, let me know. I'll launder that shit for you.

Also, I would be remiss in not pointing out that, all dunking on MTV's decades-long irrelevance aside, we are living through the Golden Age of Music Video right now. Three years ago, on the occasion of my 200th mixtape, I did a mixtape of The Greatest Music Videos Of All Time, and in that post I said:

My first draft of this mixtape was seven hours long, and it still felt woefully incomplete.

Though I will eagerly argue that Russell Mulcahy both invented the music video and closed the book on the genre, if you were to make that claim, I'd be quick to tell you how wrong you were and point out that we are absolutely living in the golden age of the music video right now. The accessibility of the tools of production and distribution was supposed to transform the music industry into this cornucopia of new voices, and it so, so did not -- the corporations locked that shit down tight. But for music videos... it kinda did... These days a band with $10k can put together a video that is every bit as high quality and insane as something that in the 80s or 90s would have taken $10M and a crew of 80, and that's not just some tech-cheerleader cliché, small bands are actually doing that and it's amazing.

"Ladies and Gentlemen. Rock and roll."

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3 Responses:

  1. Dude says:

    Interesting looking at your list compared to the one Rolling Stone released two days ago. The latter is obviously a bit more mainstream, but there's a bit of synergy (and I appreciate RS's restraint in not listing "Thriller" at all).

  2. Nate says:

    Completely agree wrt this being the golden age of the music video. Some nights my wife and 15-year-old daughter and I will play "my turn" with the YT feed shared on the big screen. Wife and I will play what we thought were great music videos from when we were our daughter's age in the 80's, and usually it's just repurposed concert footage, or the band fucking around backstage, or worse still, the band faking a performance on a soundstage. If I dig deep, there's an Art of Noise, Devo, Adam Ant, or Plasmatics video that's at least trying.

    And then with a minimum of effort, our daughter will point us at something that is just so much better. Billie Eilish and her brother get that $1M+ for their video, and they usually put it to good use. But there's also stuff like https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-kujDa4D4EQ that was probably shot in an afternoon with someone's <$4K Lumix or Blackmagic camera, but more importantly, has more substance than anything I can think of to show her from the supposed golden age of MTV.

    Anyway, your YT mixtapes have provided a lot of fun over the years. Daughter has enjoyed the Regrettes and Jonelle Monae's Tightrope. I showed https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-FGlx5Pkao to my wife and within the first 90 seconds she said "this looks like something that DNA Lounge guy would play"... I was a little annoyed to be read that fast, but also impressed.

  3. Big says:

    Chrissy Hynde looks _so_ young. (And I still have my 8th grade schoolboy crush on her).

    There's also a high school band playing Iron Maiden covers there. Oh. Wait.

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