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Just saw "Total Eclipse of the Heart" for the first time. More, please.
May 23, 2013 8:34 AM   Subscribe

While settling a disagreement over whether Total Eclipse of the Heart was a duet, I just saw the music video and it blew my mind. I grew up without cable, and am pretty much ignorant of everything but the "classic" music videos from the 80's; please let me know what I'm missing.

Things that I'm looking for more of: packing massive spectacle into a <10 minute film, baroque/over-the-top interpretations of the song, general WTF'ery, defining/redefining/subverting the aesthetics of a young art form, examples of music videos that were very influential on feature film-making.

Time period-wise, we can probably bookend this with Video Killed the Radio Star on one end and Sabotage on the other (I'm aware of/fond of Lady Gaga's videos), and I'm interested in videos that were easily available to the masses, i.e. on MTV.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear to Media & Arts (267 answers total) 286 users marked this as a favorite
 
Um, may I humbly suggest Celine Dion's "It's All Coming Back To Me Now," despite its 1990s vintage?
posted by liketitanic at 8:35 AM on May 23, 2013 [13 favorites]


A-ha's Take On Me
posted by Comrade_robot at 8:40 AM on May 23, 2013 [34 favorites]


A-Ha's Take On Me is arguably the most awesomest video ever.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 8:40 AM on May 23, 2013 [14 favorites]


Meat Loaf - I would do anything for love
posted by grouse at 8:40 AM on May 23, 2013 [8 favorites]


Is it possible that you've never seen Thriller?
posted by Rock Steady at 8:40 AM on May 23, 2013 [16 favorites]


Meat Loaf - I would do anything for love
Guns n Roses - November Rain


Really, any of those really long epic songs of that era tend to have epic music videos to go with them. A-ha's Take On Me is a notable exception: non-epic song with epic video
posted by zug at 8:42 AM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


My go-to for 80s pop-rock video insanity is usually Billy Squier's Rock Me Tonite.
posted by hydatius at 8:42 AM on May 23, 2013 [14 favorites]


Almost anything by Duran Duran.
posted by Sophie1 at 8:42 AM on May 23, 2013 [13 favorites]


Guns 'N' Roses -- November Rain
posted by Rock Steady at 8:43 AM on May 23, 2013 [7 favorites]


Oh! Peter Gabriel - Sledgehammer
posted by zug at 8:43 AM on May 23, 2013 [20 favorites]


One Night in Bangkok, Murray Hill.
posted by jetlagaddict at 8:43 AM on May 23, 2013 [7 favorites]


Two videos that I remember in the UK at least as being watershed pop video moments were Dire Straits Money for Nothing (computer animation) and Peter Gabriels Sledgehammer (stop motion animation).
posted by Ness at 8:43 AM on May 23, 2013 [7 favorites]


Sledgehammer, Peter Gabriel
Money for Nothing, Dire Straits
seconding any Duran Duran.
posted by mikepop at 8:44 AM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Communards: Don't leave me this way
posted by biffa at 8:44 AM on May 23, 2013 [7 favorites]


Lionel Ritchie -- Hello. Come for the blind love interest, stay for the giant mutant Lionel head.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:44 AM on May 23, 2013 [14 favorites]


Don't Come Around Here No More

Sledgehammer

Hungry Like the Wolf

Sweet Dreams (Are Made of this)

You Might Think
posted by deanc at 8:44 AM on May 23, 2013 [9 favorites]


Nine Inch Nails - Happiness in Slavery. Warning: extremely disturbing graphic content. MTV banned this video.
posted by grouse at 8:45 AM on May 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


Can't believe I forgot to add Land of Confusion
posted by deanc at 8:46 AM on May 23, 2013 [7 favorites]


Lots of Peter Gabriel's stuff from that era is good. I would recommend Shock the Monkey.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 8:48 AM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Oh and for WTFery its hard to beat the video to True Faith by New Order.
posted by Ness at 8:49 AM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Since nobody said it yet, any video by Michel Gondry, Spike Jonze or Chris Cunningham. There is a DVD series of video clip directors.
posted by yoHighness at 8:49 AM on May 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


I hope you will forgive the lazy self link as I'm on a phone, but Grantland's series Rembert Explains The 80s has a shit-ton of these.
posted by Diablevert at 8:50 AM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Sweet Dreams (Are Made of this)

That reminds me of:

Annie Lennox - Walking on Broken Glass

Also should consider:

Madonna - Like a Prayer

In general the awardees and nominees for MTV Video Music Awards for both Video of the Year and other categories should provide a rich vein of the best videos of the time.
posted by grouse at 8:50 AM on May 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


Smells Like Teen Sprit is just within your time frame and was a HUGE deal.

Talking heads Burning Down the House

Parents Just Don't Understand

And seconding just about everything on the list so far.
posted by tchemgrrl at 8:52 AM on May 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


Karma Chameleon. I hadn't seen this for years and years and had remembered it as a vaguely utopialy multiracial costume-heavy piece, and it totally is! I really, really love how the story is very much about a collective rather than an individual romance, how there are lots of people of color and how it's this sort of utopian alternate US-history - like, it's not a misogynist space, even though there are women in skimpy costumes, it's a space where people of color are totally intermingled with the white people in the story in a way where it's completely normal and it's clear that people of any race can be from any class background and even the villainy is easily defeated.

Kid Creole and the Coconuts, although lord knows I do not vouch for the gender politics - Annie I'm Not Your Daddy and Endicott.
posted by Frowner at 8:53 AM on May 23, 2013 [12 favorites]


Olivia Newton John's homoerotic masterpiece, Physical.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:54 AM on May 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


David Bowie, Ashes to Ashes
posted by payoto at 8:57 AM on May 23, 2013 [11 favorites]


I'd recommend other works by the director of the "Total Eclipse of the Heart" video, Russell Mulcahy. Especially the Highlander movie, which is sort of terrible if you're watching it as an adult, but is more or less a two-hour music video.

And here's my favorite take on the TEotH video: Note: he may be a were-pigeon.
posted by asperity at 8:57 AM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Basically, every video either taken apart or worshipped on Beavis and Butthead — no, seriously.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:57 AM on May 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


These are all exactly the kind of things I'm looking for, thank you! Keep 'em coming.

Also, while I'm totally digging the epic-bombast thing, I'm also interested in smaller budget productions that were just weirdly of their time.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 8:59 AM on May 23, 2013


Don't Pay the Ferryman - Chris de Burgh
posted by humboldt32 at 8:59 AM on May 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


Paula Abdul with Opposites Attract. More for general WTFery than for epicness. Remembering this was before computer animation was good enough to do this and it's all hand done.
posted by wwax at 9:00 AM on May 23, 2013 [9 favorites]


And some Public Enemy videos: Black Steel In The Hour of Chaos, Fight The Power, a bunch of other ones.

And Camper Van Beethoven, Take The Skinheads Bowling. Take them bowling! I sing that one to my cat a lot, only with "kittens" subbed in for skinheads.

The ones I like best have this utopian collectivity in them - big crowd scenes with quirky characters, crowds really engaged with the music, a perhaps naive anti-racism like the Karma Chameleon ones or the Kid Creole ones where racial/cultural difference isn't denied, but where there's this possibility of community across difference. Videos (like the Kid Creole ones) where it's obvious that the band was just like "hey, friends from the downtown art scene, want to be in a video?) Videos with party scenes, but like innocuous party scenes where everyone is having a good time and being decent to each other.
posted by Frowner at 9:00 AM on May 23, 2013 [10 favorites]


Oh, and here's a list of Russell Mulcahy's music videos. There are a lot!
posted by asperity at 9:01 AM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


general WTF'ery

Not sure I've got the right idea here but regardless you just have to watch Taylor Dayne's 'Tell it To My Heart' OMG WTF those backing dancers THOSE LIPS
posted by Salamander at 9:02 AM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Anything by Huey Lewis and the News from the 80s.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:02 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


And how are we forgetting Prince? When Doves Cry is all about the WTF.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:04 AM on May 23, 2013 [10 favorites]


I always thought David Lee Roth could've had a second career as a comic actor - his stuff was very funny at times.

* California Girls
* Yankee Rose
* Just a Gigolo
posted by jbickers at 9:04 AM on May 23, 2013 [10 favorites]


smaller budget productions that were just weirdly of their time.

This isn't baroque or bombastic and yet it could have only appeared in the 80s during the popularity of Miami Vice:

Glen Fry, Smuggler's Blues
posted by deanc at 9:05 AM on May 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


Toto: Africa.
posted by MoonOrb at 9:05 AM on May 23, 2013 [11 favorites]


Robert Palmer -- Addicted to Love. For the backing "band".
posted by Rock Steady at 9:05 AM on May 23, 2013 [14 favorites]


I remember when the video for Every Breath You Take came out that it struck me in terms of its artistry-for-artistry's sake compared to a lot of what was on MTV at the time. It's not epic, but the cinematography is gorgeous.
posted by drlith at 9:07 AM on May 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


Epicly WTFity bad:

The Safety Dance
Love is a Battlefield
posted by SuperSquirrel at 9:07 AM on May 23, 2013 [22 favorites]


Oh Genesis with Land of Confusion. Though I don't know if they were big in the US, but they were in the UK and Australia.
posted by wwax at 9:09 AM on May 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


Greg Kihn Band: Jeopardy
Billy Idol: Dancing With Myself
posted by MoonOrb at 9:09 AM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Burning Sensations, Belly of the Whale
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:09 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Boss (Springsteen) doing 'Everybody's Got a Hungry Heart', and pulling the chick up on stage at the end...
posted by Salamander at 9:10 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


And a genuinely strange video, Bring Me Edelweiss, which contrary to what its name might suggest was a club hit. This has many, many bad things from eighties videos (as in "The Safety Dance", a little person in the video because that somehow indicates transgressive insouciance; lots and lots of parody jiggling at the camera)...but it is certainly more of a "scene" video than a lot of stuff. Epic WTF-ery indeed, which is obviously enabled by various people who spent way too much time clubbing.
posted by Frowner at 9:10 AM on May 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


Relax (Self link to my post by my now defunct previous mefi identity)
posted by latkes at 9:12 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I should have put these all on one answer, sorry, but my childhood is flooding back to me:

Living Colour: Cult of Personality for the interspersion of film clips.

Others to consider: Billy Joel's Pressure, Uptown Girls, and We Didn't Start the Fire; Cyndi Lauper's Girls Just Want to Have Fun; Pat Benatar's Shadows of the Night.
posted by MoonOrb at 9:13 AM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Boys of Summer by Don Henley is my all time favorite video from that era.
posted by jamaro at 9:13 AM on May 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


David Fincher for George Michael's "Freedom 90"
posted by hmo at 9:13 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yes, Owner of a Lonely Heart
posted by smich at 9:14 AM on May 23, 2013 [8 favorites]


Meat Loaf - I would do anything for love

...which, incidentally, is part of a quasi-trilogy along with "Total Eclipse of the Heart" and Celine Dion's "It's All Coming Back to Me". (All three songs were written by Jim Steinman.)
posted by Sys Rq at 9:14 AM on May 23, 2013 [13 favorites]


Steve Perry's "Oh Sherrie" video is actually a spoof of overly produced music videos from the 80s. "But what about the Forest of Doom scene?"
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:14 AM on May 23, 2013 [10 favorites]


Matthew Sweet: Girlfriend
The Cars: It's Magic
probably any David Bowie videos
posted by mikepop at 9:15 AM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Alphaville -- Forever Young. Jumpsuits!
posted by Rock Steady at 9:15 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


The video for Herbie Hancock's Rockit blew me away. It's still pretty damn cool.
posted by workerant at 9:16 AM on May 23, 2013 [12 favorites]


Almost anything by Duran Duran.

Specifically, Union of the Snake.
posted by GuyZero at 9:16 AM on May 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


Van Halen: Hot For Teacher
posted by Sys Rq at 9:16 AM on May 23, 2013 [7 favorites]


omg...does this mean you haven't seen the Literal Version of Total Eclipse of the Heart?

or the version played by hairy Norwegians (who haven't apparently heard of underwear (warning: butt)) on kitchen appliances?
posted by sexyrobot at 9:17 AM on May 23, 2013 [21 favorites]


If you want a classic one hit wonder from the 1980's, try Murray Head's One Night in Bangkok.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 9:18 AM on May 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


Girls on Film
posted by KokuRyu at 9:18 AM on May 23, 2013 [7 favorites]


Owner of a Lonely Heart video used to FREAK ME OUT!!!


Almost anything by Duran Duran.

Specifically, Union of the Snake.


Specifically, Girls on Film. or Rio, or Reflex, or anything by Duran Duran!
posted by Sophie1 at 9:19 AM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


How about a little Kate Bush?
posted by bcwinters at 9:19 AM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Against All Odds
posted by KokuRyu at 9:22 AM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Strange/visually compelling:

Devo - Whip It

Genesis - Land of Confusion -- linked above

Safety Dance -- linked above

Cars - You Might Think

Robert Palmer - Simply Irresistible

Peter Gabriel - Big Time

Janet Jackson - Rhythm Nation

REM - Shiny Happy People

On a historical note, see if you can get your hands on the MuchMusic video lists from the era. MTV built their video playlist based on how popular the song was; Much selected based on how entertaining the video was.
posted by ceribus peribus at 9:23 AM on May 23, 2013 [8 favorites]


Flock of Seagulls, "I Ran"

Big Country, "In A Big Country"

ABC, "Poison Arrow"

Pete Shelley, "Homosapien"

The Vapors, "Turning Japanese"

Pat Benetar, "Love Is A Battlefield"
posted by BitterOldPunk at 9:23 AM on May 23, 2013 [20 favorites]


Fun question!

Bowie's Ashes to Ashes and Talking Heads's Road to Nowhere are two of the finest videos ever made. Talking Heads have a lot of great videos full of narrative WTFery. Blind is another great example, and Once in a Lifetime is classic. David Byrne's dancing in that video forever influenced the way I dance, which has become very embarrassing.

You can't get much weirder or experimental than The Residents. They were some of the first to make music videos, so MTV put them in heavy rotation at first. It's a little hard to believe they ever got play on MTV, but the channel was very different back then.

It's just on the other side of Sabotage, but Radiohead's Just is another well-known narrative piece.
posted by painquale at 9:24 AM on May 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


Also, while I'm totally digging the epic-bombast thing, I'm also interested in smaller budget productions that were just weirdly of their time.
Do You Compute by Donnie Iris is basically a three-minute compendium of 1983 music and music video vocabulary. There is literally something every five seconds, whether it's music or lyrics or haircuts or outfits or dance moves or props or effects, that makes me shiver with recognition.
posted by dfan at 9:27 AM on May 23, 2013 [9 favorites]


The BEST Talking Heads video IMO is "Crosseyed & Painless", which, like "Once in a Lifetime," was directed by Toni Basil.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:28 AM on May 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


Don't forget everything by Weird Al Yankovic
posted by Sophont at 9:31 AM on May 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


Tom Petty - Don't Come Around Here No More
posted by fuse theorem at 9:32 AM on May 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


Sweet Dreams (Are Made of this)

That reminds me of: Annie Lennox - Walking on Broken Glass

One of the interesting things about music video as an art form is that it's both easy and popular to reference/rip off previous popular videos, so after you've watched those two, you may want to check out Annie Lennox's Little Bird.

At first it looks like an homage to Chicago or Cabaret, but then a bunch of women & drag queens start wandering onstage wearing Annie's looks from all her previous Eurythmics and solo-artist videos... if you'd seen those videos before, it's a really delightful trip down memory lane.
posted by psoas at 9:34 AM on May 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


Film-like stories, I think that some of the 90s Aerosmith videos are classic.
Janie's Got A Gun
Amazing
Cryin'

WTFery:
Faith No More - Epic
posted by treehorn+bunny at 9:35 AM on May 23, 2013 [7 favorites]


The BEST Talking Heads video IMO is "Crosseyed & Painless"

Huh... I think it's one of their worst. I should have also mentioned Love For Sale, which I'd put between Road to Nowhere and Once in a Lifetime to round out the top three.
posted by painquale at 9:40 AM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Art of Noise - Close (To The Edit)
posted by thelonius at 9:41 AM on May 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


Devo: Freedom of Choice
posted by Sys Rq at 9:45 AM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ultravox Vienna
Ultravox The Thin Wall
Spandau Ballet Communication
Billy Idol White Wedding
Adam & the Ants Stand and Deliver
posted by needled at 9:47 AM on May 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


Great question! The first thing that came to mind was Pat Benatar's "Love is a Battlefield". Oh so melodramatic and the angry/rebellious shoulder dance is WTF.

Speaking of anger and rebellion, there's always Twisted Sister's anthemic cheese-metal classic, "We're not Gonna Take It".

Michael Jackson's "Thriller" usually takes a top spot, but I think "Billie Jean" and "Beat It" are more in line with the question.

And you can't mention "Beat It" without Weird Al Jankovic's "Eat It".

The thread already has a lot of other great examples from the earlier years of music video. Toward the late 80s, a lot of the "epic story" type videos had fallen out of favor for the more cheaply made "performance" videos.

Jumping to 1990, Metallica famously disregarded music videos as a medium. When finally convinced to do "One", they went for sturm und drang. It's supposed to be serious, grim, and epic, but it's unintentionally WTF when [SPOILERS!!] a paraplegic man appears to be headbanging along to the music.

Later, there was "Until It Sleeps", which is pure artsy WTFery.

Also in 1990, Billy Idol brought back a little of that 80s "story" aesthetic with "Cradle of Love". Not as WTF as the other examples, but plenty over-the-top. Can you imagine the casting call?

And whenever I talk about music videos, I have to mention LL Cool J's "Going Back to Cali". Not because it's weird or WTF, but just because it's awesome.

Thanks for the question. Brought back a lot of memories.
posted by Boxenmacher at 9:51 AM on May 23, 2013 [7 favorites]


Basically, every video either taken apart or worshipped on Beavis and Butthead — no, seriously.

Yeah, you're damn right there. Watching B&B take on Morrissey's November Spawned a Monster is still one of my all time TV favourites.

"He's got a band aid on one of his boobs...". Plenty of WTF in that video.
posted by derbs at 9:51 AM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Canadian artist Gowan also had a few worth mention:

Strange Animal
Criminal Mind
Moonlight Desires
posted by sueinnyc at 9:54 AM on May 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


Muse's "Knights of Cydonia" is a fantastically entertaining video. Epic bombast and it has a story.
posted by Pronoiac at 9:56 AM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Seriously, people, did you know that Derek Jarman made music videos? I mean, Jubilee Derek Jarman, CaraveggioDerek Jarman, revolutionary queer artist Jarman, that Derek Jarman.

They range from quite, quite famous (Dancehall Days) to the Smiths' Ask to Marc Almond's Tenderness Is A Weakness.

I mean, Derek Jarman!!!! How about that?
posted by Frowner at 10:05 AM on May 23, 2013 [10 favorites]


With apologies to GuyZero and Sophie1, the most applicable Duran Duran video is "Hungry Like the Wolf". :-) RAROWR!
posted by Boxenmacher at 10:06 AM on May 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


Actually, it just occurs to me how much the late eighties hair metal stuff is reworked/dequeered New Romantic, and how much New Romantic is basically the result of gay artistic heroes like Jarman.
posted by Frowner at 10:07 AM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Busta Rhymes:
Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See
Gimme Some More

(He's still making fun videos today)
posted by ceribus peribus at 10:12 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Just for interest/awesomeness sake, I would watch Michael Jackson's "Bad" video then watch Weird Al's "Fat" video, just to marvel at how frecking amazing his parody was. He does an incredible job of matching things. Ditto for "Beat It"/"Eat it". I once saw a side-by-side video of the Beat It/Eat It videos, just showing how bang on Weird Al was. If I wasn't at work (which blocks YouTube) I'd find it for you because damn. It was awesome.


I also think Eddie Murphy's "Party All The Time" video is cheesy and cliched as all get out.
"Like a Virgin" by madonna matches what you're looking for. (look for Weird Al's "Like A surgeon")
"Girls Just Want To Have Fun" is rife with 80's insanity.
"Black or White" by Michael Jackson is maybe on the edge of what you want (since it is 90's I think), but a fregging awesome video, esp. with the intro video! The face morphing thing at the end! Whee!

OH OH! "Smooth Criminal" by Michael Jackson! THE LEAN! THE LEAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!!!!!!!!!

Believe it or not, I'm not much of an MJ fan... those videos just stuck out in my mind. I *am* a weird al fan though...


Or just ditto to Boxenmacher.... (I should have read the existing comments more...)
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 10:13 AM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Speaking of Eurythmic's, you must check out There Must Be an Angel (Playing with My Heart!)!
posted by Hanuman1960 at 10:15 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


With the greatest respect to the Duran Duran commentors so far, clearly Wild Boys is at the very apex of 80s video WTFery. It ticks the Mulcahy box, which is a must, and cost >$1million.
posted by biffa at 10:22 AM on May 23, 2013 [10 favorites]


that Derek Jarman

Something I either didn't know or had completely forgotten was that there are two versions of the Dance Hall Days video; this one is not the one linked above, but is
"The first version of the video, directed by Derek Jarman, is a collection of home movies with the majority of the archive footage consisting of a stage show with swimmers and fountains, and other World War II-era material. Apparently, the footage is courtesy of the director's father, who was one of the very first people ever to use a colour home movie camera. The toddler in the home movie footage is the director himself as a child. The home movies are interspersed amid footage of Jack, Nick, and Darren, lip-synching and playing the violin. The band are also dressed up as characters from The Wizard of Oz at the end of the video, with Jack Hues as the Tin Man, Nick Feldman as the Scarecrow, and Darren Costin as the Lion."
And it's even more WTF than the one that got all the MTV play!
posted by rtha at 10:25 AM on May 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


Wham! - Wham Rap
The Jacksons - Torture
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:27 AM on May 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


I have opinions about this!

They are all massive spectacles in different ways, but the three most epic, spectacular productions in the history of videos are:

Michael Jackson - Thriller, mentioned and linked very early here
George Michael - Freedom '90
Notorious B.I.G. - Hypnotize - which is not currently on Youtube! This is horrible! Wait, here we go. Ridiculous!
posted by furiousthought at 10:28 AM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Berlin -The Metro

Laura Branigan - Self Control

Queen- I want to break free
posted by vacapinta at 10:36 AM on May 23, 2013 [8 favorites]


Hall & Oates: Maneater (starts out as a relatively austere video but about 1/2 to 3/4ths of the way through it has what I can only describe as a "Total Eclipse of the Heat Moment")

Thompson Twins: Doctor! Doctor! (oh the hair)
posted by deanc at 10:47 AM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


On the flip side, to go with the Gowan videos you had a few stripped down music videos like the Spoon's Romantic Traffic which delivers on the big-hair front.

Now, as far as Union of the Snake vs Wild Boys, i think my mind had blended those two videos together over the last 20 years. Wild Boys is probably higher budget and a more extravagant, but Union of the Snake has some sort of pretense to having an actual narrative structure instead of being just a big WTF set-piece.
posted by GuyZero at 10:47 AM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Tom Robinson's War Baby.
Donald Fagan's New Frontier. (probably my favorite video ever)
Richard Thompson's I Feel So Good.
posted by 2N2222 at 10:49 AM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


I can't believe I forgot Thomas Dolby's "She Blinded Me with Science". But I can't find the official video anywhere.
posted by Boxenmacher at 10:57 AM on May 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


For maximum Dallas/Dynasty DRAAAAMA: Reba McEntire with Linda Davis, Does he love you - watch for the hats but please please please stay till the end!
posted by runincircles at 11:00 AM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


k.d. lang's Miss Chatelaine
posted by 2N2222 at 11:09 AM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Wake Me Up Before You Go Go.
posted by Lyn Never at 11:10 AM on May 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


In the interests of balance, I re-viewed both Union of the Snake and Wild Boys, I'm not entirely convinced there is much of a story to either, but I was embarrassed for the bloke who had to get greened up for the former and amused by the silly plastic killer worm in the latter. Plus I think Wild Boys has the history as the OTT video was a big PR thing at the time. (Poop to objectivity.)

In the course of my assessment I also happened on New Moon on Monday, hardly a classic track but a video with a story, and your chance to see DD free a town of east Europeans from oppressive light sabre wielding cavalry, armed only with sparklers and embarrassed expressions. Very much a fit with this thread.
posted by biffa at 11:16 AM on May 23, 2013 [10 favorites]


So some of my prior recommendations were from 1994 (same year as Sabotage), hopefully they're still cool as answers because I think those videos are great.

Here are a few more:
For WTFery, Crash Test Dummies - Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm (1993) - Total wackiness. Obligatory link to the Weird Al version (1994) - reviews some of the news stories of the early 90s...
Tom Petty - Last Dance with Mary Jane (1993) - Necrophilia! Kim Basinger!
Nirvana - Heart Shaped Box (1993) - Totally disturbing craziness with Jesus and fetuses

For fun,
Aerosmith and Run DMC - Walk This Way (1986)
posted by treehorn+bunny at 11:17 AM on May 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


Boxenmacher - Dailymotion has Thomas Dolby's "She Blinded Me With Science". There are also several YouTube videos, which seem to be of the original that I remember. Different from the official version? Easily in my all-time top 10!
posted by infodiva at 11:23 AM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Someone else mentioned Duran's "Girls on Film", which was directed by Kevin Godley and Lol Creme.

Godley and Creme also did Cry, which was kind of avant-garde for it's time and kicked off the whole morphing thing that Jackson eventually used in Black or White.
posted by JoeZydeco at 11:24 AM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


This list of "100 Awesome Music Videos" from Pitchfork seems right down your alley. They state they wanted to "stick to clips roughly from the MTV era."
posted by mnumberger at 11:28 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


EMOTIONAL CONTENT EDITION

Feel The Drama: 'Til Tuesday - Voices Carry
The Drama Is In My Face: Sinead O'Connor - Nothing Compares 2 U
Just Start Bawling Already: Cyndi Lauper - Time After Time
posted by furiousthought at 12:44 PM on May 23, 2013 [12 favorites]


Oh! Jane Siberry: "One More Colour"
posted by Sys Rq at 12:47 PM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


The video to "Rush, Rush" (featuring Keanu Reeves) was an overt attempt by Paula Abdul to crossover into film acting.

Björk's "All Is Full Of Love" is a beautiful take on gender, humanity, and technology. The MOMA has it as part of their collection.

Bob Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues" was a very influential early music video from 1967, before most people even knew what the form was.
posted by mkultra at 12:51 PM on May 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


Feel The Drama: 'Til Tuesday - Voices Carry

Which Amiee Mann re-filmed for her new video for Labrador. In case you need to also catch up with the feeling of seeing something from ages ago come back.
posted by GuyZero at 12:59 PM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


One to add- Underpass by John Foxx, pre-Midge Ure vocalist for Ultravox.
posted by wittgenstein at 1:03 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


You can't get much more WTF than Fish Heads Roly Poly. It's won the title of weirdest 80's song in my head for years.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUvaHpWCNbQ
posted by stray thoughts at 1:11 PM on May 23, 2013 [7 favorites]


while I'm totally digging the epic-bombast thing, I'm also interested in smaller budget productions that were just weirdly of their time.

Godley and Creme, Cry.

Madness, Our House.

Midnight Oil, Beds Are Burning.

Steve Perry skewers the whole thing about music videos being huge production numbers with his video for his solo song Oh Sherry. Phil Collins does the same with 'Billy Dont Lose My Number'.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:21 PM on May 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


Steve Perry knew from WTF videos: Separate Ways
posted by Rock Steady at 1:26 PM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Don't Give Up - Gabriel and Bush

Safety Dance - Men without Hats

Superman's Song - Crash Test Dummies
posted by bonehead at 1:32 PM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Tom Petty's You Got Lucky
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 1:45 PM on May 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


I’m not sure exactly of the criteria, but here’s some very 80’s awesome videos;

Sigue Sigue Sputnik - Love Missile F1-11
Zodiac Mindwarp - Backseat Education and Prime Mover
Dead or Alive - That’s the Way I Like It
Age of Chance - Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Noise and Kiss (this one is usually taken down quickly) Those are notable for the full on Designer’s Republic style.
Men Without Hats - Pop Goes the World
Jesus and Mary Chain - Blues From A Gun
posted by bongo_x at 2:12 PM on May 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


If you liked Total Eclipse, check out Si Demain, which is a duet.
posted by yclipse at 2:27 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Speaking of Kate Bush, there's Cloudbusting, conceived by Kate Bush and Terry Gilliam, and featuring Donald Sutherland. Cinematic, with the WTF-ness coming from Kate Bush playing a young boy.

I'm surprised Madonna's Express Yourself hasn't been mentioned yet, which was quite over-the-top and directed by David Fincher. (Personally i thought Madonna's Rain, directed by Mark Romanek and featuring Ryuichi Sakamoto, was much more visually striking).
posted by needled at 2:31 PM on May 23, 2013 [8 favorites]


WTF: UNKLE's Rabbit In Your Headlights

or The Sugarcube's Hit.

Tells a story: Peal Jam's Jeremy
posted by haplesschild at 2:49 PM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


biffa has it with New Moon on Monday as the best of the Duran Duran wtf video offerings. As a card-carrying 80s era Duranie, it's the one that was generally elusive in widespread video-show play but has the "best plot" (if you can call a conspiracy to... light fireworks? as a plot). Also the East European underground hotties is so very 80s! (edited to add: if my behind the wall polish relatives were right there was definitely not that much hairspray in the Bloc)
posted by marylynn at 3:08 PM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Somebody mentioned November Rain, but forgot Estranged, which might be the peak of rock excess and WTFery.
posted by entropicamericana at 3:25 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Others:

Paula Abdul's Cold Hearted - sort of a Bob Fosse/Flashdance mash-up?

Janet Jackson's That's the Way Love Goes (mostly for her outfit wtf?!) but also don't forget the N'Sync cover! and her Escapade (once again: the accessories Miss Jackson) - it wouldn't be a bad idea to go down a Janet Jackson YouTube black hole.

Foreigner's I Want to Know What Love Is involves a lot of emoting by middle-aged men. Which was a good chunk of 80s video content.
posted by marylynn at 3:27 PM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


While we're talking Janet Jackson, Pleasure Principle is a great one too.
posted by luckynerd at 4:13 PM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Seconding Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer" and "Big Time" and Kate Bush's "Cloudbusting", and adding

Nena - 99 Luftballons

And oh! "New Frontier"! Yes yes yes. Seconding, thirding, and fourthing.
posted by kristi at 4:22 PM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


In the late 90s Tom Petty won an MTV Video Vanguard award for being consistently interesting with his music videos. In addition to "You Got Lucky" (1982, referenced above) and "Don't Come Around Here No More" (1985, also referred to above), here are the other Petty videos you should see:

Runnin' Down a Dream (1989), an animated black and white affair
Into the Great Wide Open (1991), starring Johnny Depp and Faye Dunaway
Mary Jane's Last Dance (1993) with Kim Basinger and Tom Petty in a morgue
Swingin' (1999) with Luke Wilson, Robin Tunney, and a cat
posted by brina at 4:30 PM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


I can't believe no one has linked to Cameo's Word Up yet.

To say nothing of 2Pac's California Love.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:37 PM on May 23, 2013


Genius of Love - Tom Tom Club
posted by emeiji at 5:06 PM on May 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


Rock Lobster by the B-52s.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:31 PM on May 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


*Michael Jackson - Leave Me Alone - crazy, Peter Gabriel-esque stop motion.
*Missy Elliot - The Rain - Mostly for the crazy bulge effects and Missy's nutty giant garbage bag suit. I read a story that she had to get it filled up at a gas station down the street from the studio, then walk back to the studio since she couldn't fit into the car.
*Puff Daddy - Victory (mostly for Busta Rhymes lulz) - most expensive video made at the time
*Smashing Pumpkins - Tonight, Tonight - This video made me love the Smashing Pumpkins.
posted by Verdandi at 5:31 PM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh, and I forgot Love Shack, also by the B-52s. Maybe a bit more accessible than Rock Lobster. :-)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:37 PM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


smaller budget productions that were just weirdly of their time.

2NU, "Ponderous."

"And the horns kicked in
And my shoes started to squeak...

Oom poppa chuckamaga nauva sing gow
Ding koppawallawally double ching pow
Heavy coppalua cumma ginasing tea
Oom mama chuckamana one is now free."
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:06 PM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Chaz Jankel, Questionnaire for the animated pseudo 'computer-graphics'.

Eddy Grant - Electric Avenue and ZZ Top - TV Dinners for the WTF.

Almost anything by Men at Work.

And of course, the first MTV video - Buggles, Video Killed the Radio Star.
posted by bitmage at 6:17 PM on May 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


And one more, hitting all the bases: Thomas Dolby - Hyperactive!
posted by bitmage at 6:42 PM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


In terms of Epic Epicness, you have Mylène Farmer in France:
18th century costumes?
18th century costumes!
Libertine (10:55)
Pourvu qu'elles soient douces (subtitle: Libertine II) (17:53) (both NSFW)
Uprising in a prison camp?
Uprising in a prison camp!
Désenchantée (10:12)
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 6:43 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


While you're checking out Russell Mulcahy's other music videos, may I recommend Supertramp's It's Raining Again? I think it's one of his best.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 6:46 PM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


I have no suggestions, but since I did spend most of my afternoon at work eagerly waiting to get home so I could watch all of yours -- I compiled a youtube playlist for easy browsing. Enjoy.
posted by sldownard at 6:48 PM on May 23, 2013 [42 favorites]


Say hi to Mom - FROM JAIL

(Was Not Was - Hello Dad I'm in Jail. Still a favorite of mine.)
posted by That's Numberwang! at 7:05 PM on May 23, 2013 [9 favorites]


Every Little Step - Bobby Brown

Rumors - Timex Social Club

Mr. Telephone Man - New Edition
posted by MidAtlantic at 7:10 PM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


New Order - True Faith
posted by the painkiller at 7:47 PM on May 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


Ministry - Jesus Built My Hotrod
and related
Butthole Surfers - Hurdy Gurdy Man

Courtesy of the Brothers Quay:
His Name Is Alive - Are We Still Married
posted by the painkiller at 7:59 PM on May 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


Nik Kershaw - The Riddle
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 8:02 PM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


The Tubes: She's A Beauty.
posted by MoonOrb at 8:06 PM on May 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


J. Geils Band: Centerfold.
posted by MoonOrb at 8:11 PM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


George Harrison and his awesome living room (aka "Got my mind set on you" to big kids)
posted by whorl at 8:11 PM on May 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


Hall & Oates - Jingle Bell Rock is the best cheesy Xmas video ever
The aforementioned Money for Nothing because that was some seriously cool shit back in the day
Say Say Say by Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson, patent medicine salesmen
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 8:13 PM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


I forgot one of my favorite 80’s songs and videos;
Les Rita Mitsouko - Andy

Of course some of these I’ve listed could have been seen by anybody, doesn’t mean they were. In the 80’s everybody had the same exposure to this stuff.
posted by bongo_x at 8:16 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Chevy Chase and some douche-bag both know how to explore the space!
posted by whorl at 8:19 PM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


The Replacements - Bastards of Young
posted by davros42 at 8:21 PM on May 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


Eyes Without a Face by Billy Idol is a ridiculous Cyberpunk epic, and a pretty great song too.

On by Aphex Twin, which is like a stop motion Dali painting.

100% by Sonic Youth, features a young Jason Lee, a bunch of photogenically grungy teens, and a perfect encapsulation of MTV's version of 90s youth culture.

Disarm by Smashing Pumpkins, is hilariously cheesy. How do you feel about watching a bunch of androgynous rockers emoting as they fly over rooftops. I hope it's 'good'!

Also, this one is like a year or two beyond your limit, but Virtual Insanity, by Jamiroquai, is a pretty mediocre song with a great video. Sort of like the OK Go treadmill video, but 15 years earlier.

I'll throw another ridiculous Dead Or Alive in there Brand New Lover.

It doesn't get much more cinematic than a video directed by James Cameron, Reach by Martini Ranch.

Sober by Tool is a fantastic distillation of jean-shorted teen angst in to a claymation spectacle.


It also might be worthwhile to look up the 92-93 seasons of Beavis and Butthead. That not only gives you a crucial element of the watching MTV experience, but each week they would spoof on a handful of music vids.
posted by codacorolla at 8:24 PM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Dead Alive - You Spin Me Round like a record baby right round round round
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 8:29 PM on May 23, 2013 [7 favorites]


One Tin Soldier - The Original Caste

This has to be one of the "first" music videos. It is an animated by John Wilson, Fine Arts Films. Basically a song about peace, One Tin Soldier, a song from the 1960s, become popular in 1970-71 as it was featured at the very end of the movie, Billy Jack
posted by JujuB at 8:38 PM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Nine Inch Nails Closer
posted by needled at 9:11 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Cyndi Lauper - She Bop
posted by sculpin at 9:16 PM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Came back surprised to find no Pet Shop Boys! Let's fix that:

West End Boys is pretty classic in establishing their look together. Opportunities has a gimmick that in hindsight seems cheesy but it was a Real Thing back then. Personally I've always loved the video for Being Boring the most.
posted by marylynn at 9:20 PM on May 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


uptown girl by Billy Joel and, We Didn't Start the Fire
posted by HuronBob at 9:59 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Not a direct answer to your question, but consider watching the movie Tapeheads. It's basically about a guy and his friend who make 8os style music videos.
posted by Green With You at 10:05 PM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Man, I went through a similar binge a few years ago after growing up without cable. My favorites were the really cheeseball ones from the early 80's so here's a list:

Sara Brightman & Hot Gossip - I Lost My Heart to a Starship Trooper (1978)
Technically the 70's but chock full of 80's style WTF!?!!

The Weather Girls - It's Raining Men (1982)
Ultra cheeseball

Judas Priest - Breaking the Law (1980)
Spoiler alert: Robbing banks with the power of rock!!

Def Leppard - Rock of Ages (1983)
Who knew druids loved tight white jeans so much?

Spinal Tap - Bitch School (1982)
So dead-on that it's hardly even satire.
posted by azuresunday at 10:12 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Rockwell Somebody's watching me, Tony Basil Hey Mickey, Modern English Melt with you, Madness Our house, Beastie Boys Shake your rump and so many more
posted by askmehow at 10:12 PM on May 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


Surprised no one has posted this yet:

Belouis Some - Imagination

A comparatively epic 8 minute mini-movie that was too racy and controversial at the time for most broadcasters.
posted by Extopalopaketle at 10:13 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Been thinking of this song lately and I really wish Don't Answer Me by Alan Parsons Project was of better quality. If you like noir comics, this is for you.
posted by Tacodog at 10:17 PM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


I totally love the video and the song--really underappreciated '80s cheese: The Twilight Zone by Golden Earring. You can't beat super spy dance numbers with lingerie.

This one by Nik Kershaw had kind of a cool effect for the time.

And there are a couple of cool versions of Send Me An Angel. The "Beauty and the Beast" version by Real Life and this kind of gothy one from Deadstar Assembly.
posted by WorkingMyWayHome at 10:28 PM on May 23, 2013 [7 favorites]


Certainly WTFery, plus early-80s artsy pretentiousness out the ears: The Blue Nile - "Stay"

We have no budget but we'll make the best of it: Icicle Works - "Whisper to a Scream"

OMG so 80s (and what is up with the women running with flags?): Red Rockers - "China"

The very first shot is a white horse running out of a misty forest: Real Life - "Send Me an Angel"

I feel bad about this one. Earworm alert: Baltimora - "Tarzan Boy"

It's the title song from the soundtrack to The Neverending Story. You have been warned: Limahl - "The Neverending Story"

It's a work night and I have to go to bed dammit. I intend to return…
posted by Lexica at 10:32 PM on May 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


Africa by Toto.
Pink Houses by John Mellencamp. Jack and Diane too.
Wild Boys is the pinnacle of over-produced cheese but New Moon on Monday by Duran Duran is a lower budget attempt. Pretty much every Duran Duran video would interest you.
Don Johnson - Heartbeat.
Most of Robert Plant's solo stuff was little movies, like 29 Palms. I love 80s music and I could go all night but I'll stop.
posted by Tacodog at 10:35 PM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


THAT TIME IN 1990 WHEN THEY FIGURED OUT THEY COULD LAYER A BUNCH OF PSYCHEDELIC IMAGES WITH COMPUTERS

listed in order of exponentially increasing song & video quality

Technotronic - Pump Up The Jam
Neneh Cherry - Buffalo Stance
Dee-Lite - Groove Is In The Heart

I was actually going to link the video for "Higher Ground" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers first as it is way more tolerable than the Technotronic song but BLAH not on Youtube right now
posted by furiousthought at 10:53 PM on May 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


Grace Jones - Demolition Man

Trio - Boom Boom -- I couldn't find a copy of the video. It was a cheesy western with only the most tenuous relation to the lyrics.
posted by Bruce H. at 1:33 AM on May 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Taco - Puttin' on the Ritz.
Human League - Don't You Want Me.

WAIT
*control-F* Laurie
I am disappoint.
Home of the Brave, O Superman
posted by fleacircus at 1:47 AM on May 24, 2013 [7 favorites]


An Englishman In New York - Godley and Creme
Computer Games - Mi-Sex (there is some stellar acting in here)
Hungry Like the Wolf - Duran Duran
posted by h00py at 5:04 AM on May 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Nobody is allowed to leave Sir Mix-a-lot's Baby Got Back out of a list like this.

For good measure, a couple of one-hit-wonders in the U.S.
Trio's Da Da Da, which proves the Germans invented the American lo-fi music esthetic.
Les Rita Mitsouko's c'est Comme Ça, because it is wiggy in the right sort of ways.j
posted by ardgedee at 5:09 AM on May 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


Rock Me Amadeus - Falco
posted by h00py at 5:11 AM on May 24, 2013 [7 favorites]


I love you all. The first youtube playlist hit its limit and had to overflow onto a second playlist. So far the two are up to 20 hours and 40 minutes of cheesy video goodness.

p.s. I snuck Blur's Coffee & TV on to the list. It's outside of the timeframe, but - the dancing milk jug goes on an adventure!
posted by sldownard at 5:59 AM on May 24, 2013 [36 favorites]


You are terrible person, sidownard, and we're all grateful.
posted by rtha at 6:11 AM on May 24, 2013 [6 favorites]


Twilight Zone - Manhattan Transfer
posted by h00py at 6:47 AM on May 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Not the Nine O'clock News, a wonderful Brit comedy show of the 80's, did a number of music video parodies. I linked to their Kate Bush parody. Although, on second thought, "Nice Video, Shame About the Song" is probably more topical.
posted by QIbHom at 7:14 AM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is horribly, dismayingly, my favorite genre of Art. A few faves:

Splitting the difference between Duran Duran's aforementioned Wild Boys and the so far overlooked Fantasy, by Aldo Nova, comes Rick Springfield's big budget stinkbomb and ode to sci-fi WTFery - Bop Til You Drop.

Carrie meets X-men (with plenty of fog, and requisite cold war nonsense) in Bon Jovi's early gem Runaway.

Underrated latter Fleetwood Mac (in the desert, with trompe l'oeil glass smashing and archaeological guitars) with Hold Me

Kenny Loggins does so many movie soundtracks he figures why not just make a movie - I'm Free (from the Footloose soundtrack, but nothing to do with Footloose, but screw it, I'm Kenny Loggins.)

Maybe not what you are looking for, but I love this as an artifact of the guilessness of early 80s videos (1979, actually), before the money showed up: Local Girls, Graham Parker and the Rumour

What is this I don't even
posted by dirtdirt at 7:18 AM on May 24, 2013 [7 favorites]


Soundgarden - Jesus Christ Pose
Notable for being banned by MTV and probably being the ne plus ultra of music video cut-and-thrust editing. So much so that I would suggest a seizure warning for it.

And for WTFery, Black Hole Sun is a pretty notable video as well.
posted by the painkiller at 7:20 AM on May 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


More along the lines of stuff you'd have been watching on 120 Minutes, and so lacking some of the bombast a la "Total Eclipse of the Heart" but bringing art school / low budget WTF,
Soft Cell Tainted Love
Visage Fade to Grey
Echo & the Bunnymen Bring on the Dancing Horses
Siouxsie and the Banshees Peek A Boo
The Cure Lullaby

(and tossing these in just for that 80's UK music video aesthetic:
ABC The Look of Love - watch back to back with the Soft Cell video!
Roxy Music Avalon
Bryan Ferry Slave to Love )

p.s.: sidownard's playlist is just like watching MTV back in the 80's and 90's.
posted by needled at 7:35 AM on May 24, 2013 [7 favorites]


Beck - Loser

Ween - Even If You Don't
A masterpiece of narrative, courtesy of Parker/Stone....
posted by the painkiller at 7:40 AM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Rick Springfield's other sci-fi WTF: Human Touch. Just three more years before we get BSG uniforms and tinfoil clothes.

OMG his dancing is amazing
HOLY SHIT KEETAR

posted by mimi at 7:45 AM on May 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


Good lord, these are all amazing. This seems like a good time to try out the newly raised favorite-cap. Thanks, everyone!
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 7:51 AM on May 24, 2013


Come on! I rolled through all these links and none point to the video that redefined a generation.
posted by I'm Doing the Dishes at 7:58 AM on May 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


This is total 80's, although the original is also iconic, especially when Courtney Cox climbs on stage.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:03 AM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


The video for Sensoria--released in 1984 and perhaps the best known song by industrial influencers Cabaret Voltaire--was directed with a serious dose of WTF by Peter Care, who went on to direct videos for bands from REM to Bruce Springsteen. The video was so groundbreaking in the 80s that it was acquired by New York's Museum of Modern Art.
posted by bassomatic at 8:05 AM on May 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is one of the weirdest most misogynistic videos that I remember from a decade or so of gorging myself on MTV+cable access. It thrills me that it's on YouTube because it means that I didn't just imagine it.

Also, don't discount cable access... that's where all of the real WTF gems were (often mainstream bands that had their videos banned, or stuff like the linked Freaky Fukin Weirdoz: European stuff that MTV wouldn't touch with a 10' pole).
posted by togdon at 8:11 AM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


ALL PRAISE YOUTUBE
posted by mattbucher at 8:20 AM on May 24, 2013 [5 favorites]


Stay by Shakespears Sister is early 90s, but definitely a fave.
posted by catch as catch can at 8:21 AM on May 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


Prefab Heart - The Reels
Quasimodo's Dream - The Reels
Berserk Warriors - Mental as Anything
posted by h00py at 8:28 AM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Some ska, back when ska was cool (don't hurt me!):
Madness: One Step Beyond and Our House
The Specials: Ghost Town
posted by ardgedee at 8:32 AM on May 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


Yow! A friend just reminded me of this thing: Yo Little Brother, Nolan Thomas. Stick around for Lil' Prince!
posted by dirtdirt at 8:35 AM on May 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


What's funny to me is that, because some music videos did iconic 'weird' stuff on a high budget, there were a slew of others on lower budgets, and production values, but nonetheless trying. Sometimes they worked and sometimes...

Robbie Nevil's Dominoes. There's not really anything going on, but it's very dramatic. Shadows, staircases, and hairstyles. There were so many of these videos. The video for C'est la vie is way better.

Romeo Void's Never Say Never is a great song with a noir video. Very stylish. Hope they made their audition.

Neneh Cherry's Buffalo Stance seems like a distillation of everything awesome about the 80's in music and video. The video is charming and bright, the music is too, and the lyrics are actually pretty dark when you think about them.
posted by wobh at 8:40 AM on May 24, 2013 [7 favorites]


For the most part this thread takes me back being 13 years old in 1984.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:58 AM on May 24, 2013 [5 favorites]


If we're being historical I would say Guns N' Roses' Welcome to the Jungle was more important in the 1980s than "November Rain" was. I remember staying up until midnight with friends watching MTV just to see it on... uh... Headbanger's Ball? And then I went to see GnR open for Aerosmith at Great Woods and it was awesome.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:11 AM on May 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


Also, every Cure video, ever. Unfortunately it looks like they aren't readily available on Youtube. But still!

Lovecats
Caterpillar
Let's Go To Bed
In Between Days
Close to Me and the remix
posted by dirtdirt at 9:12 AM on May 24, 2013 [6 favorites]


Wow. Woke up this morning and realized...No CULTURE CLUB!

Karma Chameleon

Historical WTFery!!
posted by Sophie1 at 9:16 AM on May 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


Bark at the Moon
posted by KokuRyu at 9:17 AM on May 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


We're Not Gonna Take It
posted by KokuRyu at 9:18 AM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


David Bowie shared Michael Jackson's penchant for the long form: Blue Jean.

Sidownard's playlist is going in the background, and I just heard "See you next Wednesday!" in the Thriller preview---I'd forgotten that John Landis directed it!
posted by mimi at 9:33 AM on May 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


The Undercover of the Night video was my introduction to the Stones.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:43 AM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Dude, ZZ Top's Legs all the way.
posted by FelliniBlank at 9:54 AM on May 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


Okay, now I'm going off on a tangent but look up the original version of Laura Branigan's Self Control, originally performed by Italian artist Raf.

( thanks, Crap From The Past)
posted by wittgenstein at 11:01 AM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh oh oh- and Saga's Don't Be Late has to be on the list as well.
posted by wittgenstein at 11:04 AM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Dexy's Midnight Runners, Come On Eileen
Ratt, Round and Round
posted by jenkinsEar at 11:12 AM on May 24, 2013 [5 favorites]


So Freedom '90 was linked here (and rightfully so), but that video makes more sense once you realize the videos that precede it form a sort of orgiastic PG-13 MTV trilogy:

George Michael - I Want Your Sex (explore monogamy!)
George Michael - Faith

These videos were Scandalous! Tipper Gore told me so!
posted by the painkiller at 11:32 AM on May 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Altered Images - I could be Happy Yes, its Claire Grogan!

Altered Images - Dead Popstars Did you know they did stuff like this too?

Flying Lizards - Money Made in the guys house AFAIR, for about 50p. (£180 in todays money lol!)

Strawberry Switchblade - Since Yesterday - get yer total early 80s video stylings right here

The Skids - Into the Valley Punk Rock Lives.
posted by marienbad at 11:42 AM on May 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


Representing the "Happy Fun Times Hair Metal Concert Video" category:

Def Leppard - Pour Some Sugar On Me

Van Halen - Panama

Poison - Nothin' But A Good Time

(Sorry. I really am. But these sorts of videos were A Thing.)
posted by the painkiller at 11:45 AM on May 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


I thought about Strawberry Switchblade but thought it might not fit. But since someone else started it I submit Voice of the Beehive for the block. I Say Nothing and Monsters and Angels.

I don’t know why The Blow Monkeys - Digging Your Scene video is blocked in the USA, but it’s an awesome song and video, much cooler now than I thought it was then. Find it if you can.
posted by bongo_x at 12:58 PM on May 24, 2013 [5 favorites]


the painkiller: "Def Leppard - Pour Some Sugar On Me "

I never really liked Def Leppard, but I am insanely familiar with that video, as at one point MTV aired the daily top video countdown show directly before Remote Control (with Ken Ober), and "Pour Some Sugar On Me" was the #1 video for, I think, four and a half years.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:09 PM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Haven't gone through the entire thread yet but it looks like The Man In The Dark Sedan has not been mentioned.
posted by Dr Dracator at 1:31 PM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Surprised Motley Crue hasn't been mentioned yet - Shout at the Devil was an another iconic album from 1984. Too Young to Fall in Love is a campy video.
posted by KokuRyu at 1:57 PM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Loved and still love almost every one of these.

The one MTV video that made me say "what WAS that?" I saw only once, really late at night, and never again until today. It's as low-budget and wonderfully awful as I remember: This Ain't No Picnic.
posted by evilmomlady at 2:17 PM on May 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


Some of my favorites:

The Slits- Typical Girls
DEVO- Jocko Homo
Beastie Boys- Hey Ladies
RUN DMC- King Of Rock
LL Cool J- Going Back To Cali
The Smiths- The Queen Is Dead
Morrissey- Everyday Is Like Sunday
Altered Images- Happy Birthday
Go-Go's- Head Over Heels
The Sugarcubes- Birthday
Siouxsie and the Banshees- The Last Beat Of My Heart
Joy Division- Love Will Tear Us Apart
REM- It's The End Of The World (LEONARD BERNSTEIN!)
The Pretenders- Back On The Chain Gang
Tom Petty- Free Fallin'

And for some 1980s Toronto realness: The Spoons- Romantic Traffic
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:19 PM on May 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


How about She Drives Me Crazy by Fine Young Cannibals? Simple background, odd goings-on. Always made me think of Alice in Wonderland, a bit.

Sinead O'Connor also made a pretty iconic video, Nothing Compares 2U.

Frankie Goes to Hollywood has some weird weird duelling Reagan cold war puppet fighting in one version, which I can't find right now.

Venus by Banarama is definitely over the top.

Maybe out of your time frame, and video isn't super crazy, but L7's Pretend We're Dead is great.
posted by annsunny at 2:28 PM on May 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


> Frankie Goes to Hollywood has some weird weird duelling Reagan cold war puppet fighting in one version, which I can't find right now.

That would be Two Tribes.
posted by ardgedee at 2:34 PM on May 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


In a world of repeated rickrolling, I'm amazed no-one has mentioned Rick Astley's video for "Never Gonna Give You Up".

Also, I think very much of their time and bombastic or WTF:

The Cure: Love Cats
Prefab Sprout: King of Rock'n'Roll
Madonna: Like a prayer

Would definitely second some suggestions from above as well, particularly Aha's Take on me, Peter Gabriel's Sledgehammer video. Dire Straits Money for nothing and Michael Jackson's Thriller.
posted by inbetweener at 3:01 PM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Bryan Adams - Cuts Like A Knife was a total summer song when I was 12 or 13.
posted by KokuRyu at 3:09 PM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thanks, ardegee! I thought it was Relax, but you are right! the reagan puppet is from Genesis, Land of confusion. Apropo. considering I had 3 videos mixed up.
posted by annsunny at 3:12 PM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


...and from the apprentices of romantic power-ballads, Stephen and the Colberts' "Charlene (I'm Right Behind You)".
posted by mimi at 3:20 PM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wendy O. and the Plasmatics - The Damned! Complete with do not try this at home warning. It's hard to drive a school bus in a leather bikini.
posted by mygothlaundry at 3:33 PM on May 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh oh and Fish Heads. Which isn't really a music video except it is except it isn't. . . who knows what it is, exactly? It was on MTV and I loved it then and love it still. It's also a song I taught my children to sing when they were small and hauled out when they were older as proof that my generation was cooler than theirs would ever be.
posted by mygothlaundry at 3:38 PM on May 24, 2013 [10 favorites]


Can't believe no one's said Cars, by Gary Numan (1979!).
And here's Living on the Ceiling because I was obsessed with Blancmange for about a year in '83-'84.
posted by chococat at 4:28 PM on May 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Woah, speaking of ceilings, how did we miss Dancing On The Ceiling? An 80's classic, although not up to the standard set by Duran Duran.
posted by GuyZero at 4:35 PM on May 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


The Steve Miller Band - Abracadabra has a large dose of 1980s rotoscoped animation on top of magic tricks.
posted by t3h933k at 5:55 PM on May 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


This video inspired me to move across the country and work for the director (and the company) that made it. Awesome, awesome video.

For those afraid to click the link - "Who's Gonna Save My Soul" by Gnarls Barkley. Chris Milk directs. It is badass.
posted by sidi hamet at 7:10 PM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


This thread is amazing! I was pretty sure there was no way I'd make it to the bottom, and still be able to contribute...

The Cars Drive
Mr. Mister Broken Wings
Chris Isaak Wicked Game - Herb Ritts showcasing his signature style, also still a great song.
Oran "Juice" Jones The Rain - The spoken word second half of the song is still a thing of wonder.
Whitesnake Is This Love - My cousin can get us a great deal on a smoke machine.

And you can't forget that staple of 80s music video, the "life on tour" video.
Journey Faithfully
Bon Jovi Wanted Dead or Alive (Upon re-watching, this one is still really good. If you had 3 minutes to say all there is to say about 80s arena rock, this video pretty much nails it)
posted by billyfleetwood at 7:24 PM on May 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


Mayor of Simpleton-XTC
posted by h00py at 9:15 PM on May 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Who Can It Be Now? - Men at Work
posted by h00py at 2:46 AM on May 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Paranoimia Art Vs Noise
Temptation - Heaven 17
posted by h00py at 3:08 AM on May 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Police, Wrapped around Your Finger. Because obviously that song is all about candles.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 4:34 AM on May 25, 2013


Mexican Radio - Wall of Voodoo
posted by h00py at 5:10 AM on May 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


A friend of mine points out that we somehow missed the neon see-through celebrity cameo cheesiness of Ray Parker Jr's Ghostbusters.
posted by sldownard at 9:33 AM on May 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


I just searched the thread for both "They Might Be Giants" and "TMBG" and nothing came up. Amazing! You can't beat TMBG for WTFery. Here's some of their early videos -- I think there are more on the documentary DVD focusing on the band, Gigantic, but I can't be arsed to get it off the shelf and look right now:

Put Your Head Inside The Puppet Head
Don't Let's Start
Ana Ng (entrancing)
Birdhouse In Your Soul (classic)
Snail Shell
They'll Need A Crane
Women And Men
The Guitar (The Lion Sleeps Tonight)
The Statue Got Me High
Istanbul (Not Constantinople) (animated [in different styles])
Because if I don't link to them someone else will, there's also the Tiny Toons Adventures versions of Istanbul and Particle Man
posted by JHarris at 10:11 AM on May 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


What Are Words For? by Missing Persons. Heavy makeup, very costume-y.

Some narrative wtf in Zombie, by The Cranberries.

Big Audio Dynamite, E=MC2. Band playing interspersed with film clips, some of well-known actors.
posted by annsunny at 10:49 AM on May 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Cars, Shake It Up: the WTF consists mostly of mindbogglingly literal images of people shaking things, but it's pure essence of early '80s pop style.
posted by languagehat at 2:45 PM on May 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Stray Cat Strut. By the Stray Cats.
One of the first videos I remember on MTV. I used to turn it on and wait to see it!
posted by hot_monster at 2:51 PM on May 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


For future reference, I had to go find a better copy of One Night In Bangkok, and it's Murray "brother of Anthony Stewart aka Giles from Buffy" Head, not Hill.
posted by Lyn Never at 4:33 PM on May 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Centipede by Rebbie Jackson, the red-headed step child of the Jackson clan.
posted by cazoo at 4:58 PM on May 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


While I'm reminiscing, the English Peter Schilling Major Tom, plus 99 Luftballons and 99 Red Balloons.

(The latter two were revolutionary because Nena had armpit hair. People still did that in the 80s.)
posted by Lyn Never at 5:23 PM on May 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Mel Brooks - To Be Or Not To Be (The Hitler Rap) falls squarely into the WTF category.
posted by t3h933k at 6:52 PM on May 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Everywhere - Fleetwood Mac has to be one of my favourite 80s music videos. The video is a retelling of The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes.
posted by netd at 9:59 PM on May 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Strangers on a Train - The Sports
posted by h00py at 5:16 AM on May 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Chiming in a little late:
Elvis Costello - Everyday I Write the Book with his Charles & Diana lookalikes.
Squeeze - Hourglass. Not their best song but the video is classic 80s.
posted by kbar1 at 2:26 PM on May 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


No ELO? You can't be serious!
posted by nostrada at 7:03 PM on May 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Let's add a second XTC music video — The Disappointed.

Also try their best-known, Dear God.

Consider Oingo Boingo's Little Girls, which more than stands up to the material.
posted by Nomyte at 10:45 PM on May 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


To add, my quintessential high-concept Devo video is Beautiful World. Look, it's Booji Boy!
posted by Nomyte at 12:17 AM on May 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Bop Girl - Pat Wilson (incredibly irritating song but look! Nicole Kidman!)
Mirror Mirror - Jimmy and the Boys
posted by h00py at 6:45 AM on May 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Holy shit. Animotion Obsession is I don't even know.

I don't remember it being so...WTF. Seriously, what is with the astronaut?
posted by Sophie1 at 8:34 AM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


The day has come at last! I can share this with Metafilter!

Duran Duran's New Moon on Monday, 17 minute extended version!!!!!!!

If they dropped the mic in 1984, I'd do it right here.
posted by gnomeloaf at 8:53 AM on May 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


No I Need a Hero yet?
posted by Zed at 2:28 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Might not fit at all because it doesn't have that ridiculous cheese laughter enjoyment factor (at least not to me--the band's legit-good yo, despite some guitar solos), but Chrome's "Meet You In The Subway" is from the '80s and has some of that fun-to-watch-now dated video trickery that makes one nostalgic.
posted by ifjuly at 4:50 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Information Society, What's On Your Mind... man, cocaine is a hell of a drug.

And that brings us to within three videos of needing a third playlist. I AM JUST SAYING.
posted by sldownard at 5:55 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Mentioned but not linked -- Shadows of the Night by Pat Benatar (OK, so it's a WW II film but they're flying trainers and wuh?)
I have a certain fondness for I Can't Dance by Genesis
Right Now by Van Halen has an infographic style that's still pretty timely
Watching Runaway Train by Soul Asylum makes me wonder how many of these kids ever found home

Can't believe we've gone this far without Just A Friend by Biz Markie (Let me tell you a story about my situation, I was talking to this girl from the US nation)

Switching gears entirely, my favorite Weird Al composition ever, One More Minute, and the greatest Devo song they never wrote, Dare To Be Stupid
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 10:03 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


If we're going to get sloppy about the timeline, this was 1990. Head Like A Hole.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:57 PM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Adam Ant sang, danced, and conceived of all his wacky, wonderful, strange videos. I know Stand & Deliver was mentioned above (why yes, I HAVE read this entire thread), but have you seen

Friend or Foe features a pantomime cow, Cleopatra, an Orphan Annie-type kid... I just don't even

Prince Charming Adam is a male Cinderella
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 3:54 AM on May 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


80s only, videos have to be *good* and/or WTF? OK...

Wang Chung (dir: Godley and Creme), Everybody Have Fun Tonight (banned from BBC TV in the UK because photosensitive epilepsy)

Yet more Godley and Creme directing: Go West's We Close Our Eyes

Close to Me by The Cure (the one in the wardrobe)

Dave Lee Roth crashing through a dozen other people's videos in Just a Gigolo

The last time anybody in The Police was seen in any video footage anywhere looking like they were having at least some fun

And since we're bending rules all over the place, from 1992:

Heavily-pregnant Annie Lennox on stage with all her previous incarnations in Little Bird
posted by genghis at 7:29 PM on May 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


And: Playlist 3!
posted by sldownard at 7:52 AM on June 1, 2013 [9 favorites]


Mike and the Mechanics: Silent Running
U2: All I Want Is You
Dog Police: Dog Police
Army of Lovers: Crucified
posted by Hal Mumkin at 4:07 AM on June 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Under Pressure - Queen and David Bowie
posted by h00py at 5:44 AM on June 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Scandal: The Warrior
Kim Wilde: Keep Me Hangin On
Iron Maiden: Can I Play With Madness
The Timelords: Doctorin' the TARDIS
Malcolm McLaren: Madame Butterfly
The Shamen: Ebeneezer Goode
The Firm: Star Trekkin'
Utopia: Feet Don't Fail Me Now
Bros: I owe you nothing
Peter Wolf: Come as you are
Corey Hart: Sunglasses at Night
posted by Hal Mumkin at 12:05 PM on June 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


Hal Mumkin: Scandal: The Warrior

I would just like to emphasize how great a video this is.
posted by Rock Steady at 12:42 PM on June 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ok. I am in full sympathy of this. I *love* crazy spectacle videos.

This one is not from the 80's, but it is possibly the best video ever made.

Shine On Me by Chris Dane Owens.
posted by bibliogrrl at 10:12 AM on June 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


ALSO, Old Tears For Fears!!

Pale Shelter

Mad World
posted by bibliogrrl at 10:49 AM on June 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ok, last one. TEotH is my karaoke jam.

And All Cried Out by Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam is the other.
posted by bibliogrrl at 11:14 AM on June 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Late to the party, but...

Centerfold was already mentioned, but another J. Geils band video, Freeze Frame, definitely belongs in this conversation.

Others I haven't seen mentioned:
Rock The Night - Europe
My Girl (Gone, Gone, Gone) - Chilliwack
Rapture - Blondie (seriously, how has this not been mentioned yet?)
Need You Tonight/Mediate - INXS
I Know What Boys Like - The Waitresses
Goodbye to You - Scandal

And definitely some Julie Brown: Homecoming Queen's Got A Gun and 'Cause I'm A Blonde
posted by SisterHavana at 9:03 PM on June 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


Ctrl+F: "with or without" 0 results.

I should be evicted from society, my god. With or Without You.

Duran Duran may have ushered in the beginnings of puberty, and I may have technically had sex before this song came out, but I didn't begin to understand it until this song.
posted by Lyn Never at 11:30 PM on June 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Canada has a long history of producing video (great or not-so-great) on a minimal budget, and several musical examples are:

Rise Up - Parachute Club (Oh, the haircuts! Oh, the pants! Oh, the mimes!)
Dirty Water - Payola$, aka Rock & Hyde.
Body's in Trouble - by the under-appreciated Mary Margaret O'Hara.
Sweet Jane - Cowboy Junkies. This is reportedly Lou Reed's favourite cover of Sweet Jane.
Romantic Traffic - The Spoons. (Oh, the haircuts! Oh, the eye shadow! Oh, the pre-reconstruction TTC stations!)
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 7:09 AM on June 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


King of Wishful Thinking - Go West
posted by drzz at 11:50 AM on June 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


America: What Time is Love? – The KLF
posted by drzz at 12:07 PM on June 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


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