MTV VH1 … Friday Night Videos

Does anyone else remember Friday Night Videos? I believe it was on NBC… but maybe it was even a UHF channel (heck, does anyone remember UHF anymore?). In any event, FNV was pre-MTV, definitely pre-VH1 … and it was the start of music videos.

Yeah, most of them sucked. Artists didn’t know what was going to work in this medium, so they tried everything. And even as MTV came online with their first video of “Video Killed the Radio Star” by the Buggles (anyone who didn’t know of FNV ever think of how that song was the first one played on MTV if MTV was the first music video offering?), artists were still trying to figure out how to get their music across to listeners in a format other than pure sound.

The result was, as I said, less than great. People who had never seen their favorite bands other than on album cover art were sometimes shocked to discover the “face behind the song”. Boy George, Adam Ant and other “gender benders” enjoyed the first round of being able to be themselves on national television while pressing conservative buttons everywhere. Cyndi Lauper, with her high voice and tule skirts, also started a fashion revolution … along with, lest we forget, Madonna… who could be counted upon to raise the lust level in young men around the world.

But faster than might be expected, bands turned the videos into something more than the song. They used the video as a way to tell a story, share related images, even attack social crises like homelessness, HIV/AIDS, missing children, etc. And they also expanded the art of the video… such as with my favorite song, A-Ha’s “Take on Me”, which was the first video to combine live action and animation.

However, over 20 years later, there are still good videos and bad videos. And while you would think that certain things would have become “standard” in a video, it appears that they haven’t. For today, on MTV, I happened across the video for “Where’d You Go” by Fort Minor featuring Holly Brook.

Now, the song is ok… but it does contain profanity. You and I both know that MTV isn’t going to let that slip through, just like the radio stations won’t. And I’ve gotta’ believe that even if the artist themselves don’t understand that, their manager should.

So, when they’re recording the video, why wouldn’t they RECORD A VIDEO WITHOUT THE FRIGGIN’ PROFANITY? Because we already know that songs played on the radio sound really stupid when they blank out the audio for a swear word. So guess how stupid it looks when they blank out the audio and YOUR LIPS KEEP MOVING?

I mean, really. Are you kidding me? If you like your song so much that you want to use profanity in it, fine… but either record a clean version, or understand that your song/video can’t play. Cuz it just sounds stupid. And it looks even MORE stupid on the video.

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