What happened to the music in music videos, MTV?

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By Chanelle Williams / Managing Editor

( Interscope Records)

By Chanelle Williams / Managing Editor

Music videos just aren’t what they used to be.

There used to be a time when you could turn on the television and be able to watch music videos all day if you wanted to. The best thing about music videos was being able to watch the visual equal to a favorite song, seeing the ridiculous costumes, revolutionary dancing and the artist’s visual interpretation of their song.

Now music videos are hardly ever played unless you are intentional about looking for them.

MTV and VH1 used to be the leaders in playing music videos nonstop but these days they are most known for reality shows like “Jersey Shore,” “The Real World” and Jessica Simpson’s new desperate attempt for attention “The Price of Beauty.”

But what happened to music videos?

Music videos were huge in the 1980s especially when MTV premiered its first music video in 1981, “Video killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles. Music videos were used to help promote artists’ and their recent musical releases.

During that time music videos from artists like Michael Jackson and Madonna had a story to tell and were reminiscent of a short film. They included dialogue, character development and a storyline.

Michael Jackson had a 14 minute video made based on his record breaking single “Thriller.” Anyone can see that Jackson was always pushing the limits artistically with videos like “Smooth Criminal,” “Billie Jean” and “Bad” starring his revolutionary and progressive dance moves.

The release of a music video was an event to look forward to in order to see if an artist had come up with anything innovative and unconventional that brought something new and exciting for their fans.

However, music videos have continued over the decades and what were once pioneering visual accompaniments to an artist’s song slowly morphed into cookie cutter structured bore-fests.

The music videos seemed to have lost their mojo, their je-ne-sais-quoi. They had lost their essence, creativity and original appeal that made them so popular in the first place. It became a formulated art form.

If the video did not include a hopping club setting, a buffet of half-naked booty-bopping promiscuous women and an obvious advertisement of high priced champagne, the video was destined for the graveyards left unappreciated and unaired.

It wasn’t about the music anymore or even about bringing something new, exciting or thrilling for the fans.

However, there seems to be a glimmer of hope for the fading novelty of music videos.

Artists like the eccentric Lady Gaga and the diva-licious Beyonce are bringing back flavor to a bland and bleak period of the music video timeline with their collaborations.

Beyonce’s video for “Video Phone” featuring Lady Gaga included male dancers with CGI camera heads and a whole lot of sass and attitude.

Lady Gaga released a 9 minute long epic for her latest single “Telephone” with which she pulled out all the stops for this video.

She teamed up with director Jonas Akerlund, who filmed her video for “Paparazzi,” to create a visually delicious video that seemed to pay tribute to Quentin Tarantino with a heavy “Kill Bill” influenced storyline even going as far as using the actual truck from the film.

She created a dynamic duo in partnering up with her fierce equal Beyonce who plays the killer sweet “Honey B” donning a Bettie Paige inspired haircut and stirred up a buzz of excitement for the video before it was released by giving little clues via Twitter for her “little monsters.”

Her video displayed an of array product endorsing tidbits by taking on the role of a commercial advertising multiple large companies such as Virgin Mobile, Coca-cola and Wonder Bread.

Creatively placed were these plugs for example, the Diet Coke cans in Lady Gaga’s mock hot-roller hair-do and the Virgin Mobile phone during the girl-on-girl jail yard make out session.

Besides a sweet opportunity for product promotion, music videos may have once again become an artistic platform for the musical artist.

To say whether music videos are a dying trend or an evolving artistic tool is hard to say.

With performers like Lady Gaga and Beyonce at the throttle it may be the latter.


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