Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Wednesday's Song, with Bonus Treatise

I often think, because I'm prone to thinking such useless things, how odd it was to have lived through the moment when music videos were considered important, mostly because it seemed like a permanent change and became such a temporary one. From the beginning of the universe (which some people date to billions of years ago, others to around 1382) until the early 1980s, the music video machine didn't exist. Then, around 1983, Hall and Oates draped a black bed sheet over a wall in their basement and recorded videos like this one and this one. Like stick-figure mammoth on the walls of a cave, we had to start somewhere. Then, Michael Jackson and John Landis made "Thriller," which proved that music videos could be long.

By the 1990s, MTV had fully overtaken radio as the place to learn about new music. My friends and I first talked about Nirvana because we had all seen "Smells Like Teen Spirit" on 120 Minutes at the same time. Bands like R.E.M., Pearl Jam, and Radiohead built their massive success in the early '90s on stylish, cinematic clips.

Then, MTV famously started courting even younger, dumber viewers with shows mainly about strangers having sex. Many people of my generation bemoaned this change for a while, but no one does much anymore, and I think that's partly because we've realized that even the most stylish of those old efforts were, well, lame. It's true that a list of the best videos ever made has some jewels in it, but I mean, have you watched "Jeremy" lately? Yikes.

I bore you with all of that because today's song is a video. I like the weekly number around here to be a live performance (I've only broken that rule once), and this actually qualifies. Fionn Regan is evidently a folk singer with a bit of buzz behind him. He also looks like a Frodo Baggins understudy. For his new video, "Be Good or Be Gone," he filmed himself singing the song live for a few seconds in different locations, and then pieced everything together. It's both complicated and stripped-down, and I like it. For now. A few years from now, inevitably, I'll call it lame. Enjoy:


Blogger Mrs. White said...

That Fionn Regan album, although I think it actually came out last year, is by far one of the best albums I've picked up in 2007. If you can get behind folk music, I highly recommend checking it out. So good!

3:37 PM  

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