The MTV era of music was by far the best and gave us thousands of great (and not so great) music videos to accompany our favorite songs on the radio. Some adjectives we can use to describe the music videos of the '80s would include weird, ground-breaking, sexy, epic, nightmare-ish, and just plain fun. I thought I'd give myself an excuse to rediscover some of these past gems by picking one to breakdown on a regular basis. There is no rhyme or reason to my selections. I'll just be choosing videos as I stumble across them or as suggested by you.
In this edition, I'll be confronting my childhood nightmares head on! After seeing this video on MTV as a kid, I remember having crazy-looking puppets dominating my dreams for a stretch. This song is one of my all-time favorites from Genesis, so I'm thinking this breakdown might be a little bittersweet.
Genesis "Land of Confusion"
Released: October 31, 1986 (HALLOWEEN?? How appropriate!!)
Album: Invisible Touch
Peak Position on U.S. Billboard Pop Chart: #4
The video's famous puppets were taken from the British TV show Spitting Image. Phil Collins commissioned the creators of the show to make puppets of the three band members. It was directed by John Lloyd & Jim Yukich and produced by Jon Blair which won the Grammy Award for Best Concept Music Video. The video was also nominated for an MTV Video Music Award for Best Video of the Year in 1987, but lost (ironically) to former band member Peter Gabriel and the "Sledgehammer" video.
Rediscover the music video and then check out my bodacious breakdown...
0:07 - Not sure which is more disturbing, the fact that President Reagan sleeps with a teddy bear or a live ape.
0:26 - Mike Rutherford has been known to play a 2-neck guitar/bass combo but I've never seen this 4-neck creation before. I guess they were just poking fun, because it seems more of a novelty than practical.
0:30 - The door to my nightmare swings wide open.
0:37 - Swamp, fog, snakes, Bill Clinton...man, this video was even future scary!!
0:54 - As if a swamp full of heads wasn't bad enough, this dude marching around has to start plucking them (still attached to their entrails.) I mean, I appreciate this guy cleaning up and all, but don't need the details.
0:59 - So what are these, the souls of the plucked heads?
1:07 - Now a valley of heads??!! Maybe Reagan watched The Neverending Story a few too many times to come up with this kind of dream.
1:17 - This scene probably freaked me out the most. I saw some horror movies as a kid so the severed heads (although creepy) weren't as bad a drowning in your own freaking bed! This scene happens throughout the video including several times when Reagan's head is totally underwater and just bubbling. GAH!! And the rubber ducky they placed in the scene didn't really help any.
1:24 - Nancy and the chimp are apparently morning people.
1:52 - I'd put on a Superman costume too after surviving that dream. Any of those world leaders or mafia gangsters would be a piece of cake.
2:22 - So finally we get some extended shots of the band performing (after all this is a music video.) We also solve the mystery of how Phil Collins can be both the lead singer and drummer of Genesis at the same time...a pop-up clone!
2:52 - After our Superman prez gets tripped up by the triceratops with the nose ring, he settles in with him for some couch potato TV. Among the shows he watches is apparently a 20/20 special on Mr. Spock which reveals his weakness...a Rubik's cube! Man, I feel so much less of a fool now. Wait no! Don't doze off again! Not another dream!
3:07 - This dream might no be so bad, looks more like a prehistoric party! Godzilla is dressed in a nice bow. Ronnie and Nancy are having a meal by the campfire with their ape friend with Rambo providing security in the jungle.
3:39 - AHHH!! NOOO!! Why must you show gurgling heads rising up from the darkness!!
3:54 - Phil, can you get off the phone and get this guy a freaking hot dog bun?
4:21 - After more of the severed head valley, the swamp of souls, and Ronnie riding his pet triceratops, we discover the "hands we're given" are actually still attached to a baby. Think I'll stick with my original hands, thank you very much.
4:33 - Now we've stepped into the "We Are The World" world tour that apparently has recruited Mr. T for some other stars that bailed.
4:40 - And the mystery of how Madonna hits those low keys is finally solved. Glad we took care of that one.
4:58 - AHH!! Did we need one more slow-motion water scene?
5:15 - And finally, a parched Reagan throws some water on himself and accidentally nukes some poor country instead of calling for the nurse to bring him more.
After rediscovering this nightmarish video, I understand why it haunted my dreams as a kid. Now, excuse me while I figure out how to block this on YouTube.