Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The MTV Videos That Brightened My Adolescence

Between about 1989 and 1994, I watched a lot of MTV.  It was pretty much my fall back activity when I got bored, although I had to watch it on the television in basement because my parents almost always objected to what they saw on that channel.  In fact, I now realize that I started watching MTV so much in 1989 because that's when my folks got a new TV for the basement that was actually hooked up to the cable outlet, unlike the ancient massive console set so old that it was not "cable ready" as they used to say.  (That's right kids, there was a time when televisions were made without cable attachments.)

This period was the sunset of MTV as a music channel primary dedicated to videos.  The seeds of its change into its current pastiche of bad reality shows began with The Real World, a program whose ground-breaking nature cannot be underestimated.  At least back then the people on the show were pretty ordinary, and it even occasionally touched on the social issues of the day.  (The outlandish asshole Puck on the second season pointed the way to the decadent future.)

I will admit, I was both a very awkward and a very horny teenager.  The hormones and urges coursed through my body with frightening intensity, but I didn't have a solitary date until my senior prom, which ended with my paramour dancing with another guy.  This was also before the internet and its attendant flood of readily available pornography.  My main mode of relief was provided by the more flagrantly exploitative MTV videos.  I can't say I'm proud about these sometimes misogynistic artifacts today, but here are a few that stick out in my memory.

Billy Idol, "Rock the Cradle of Love"
A young comely women (perhaps 18, perhaps not) shows up at a yuppie's apartment and asks to play a Billy Idol tape (I'll explain what that was later, kids) on his stereo.  He obliges, and the girl starts gyrating to the music before stripping off her blouse after she spills wine on it.  She then takes her sexy dancing into the bedroom, where she performs the famous Tawny Kitaen video vixen leg split on top of the bed.  During the summer of 1990 my life was made much better by the fact that this was in heavy rotation.

Aerosmith, "Cryin"
It's as if some time around 1993 Joe Perry and Steven Tyler told the world "if you thought we were lame in the 80s, you ain't seen nothing yet!"  The band who once rocked hard as hard can be in the 70s had degenerated into spinning a huge oeuvre of overblown ballads.  Perhaps aware that the boys in the band were getting a little long in the tooth to be cavorting with babes in their videos, they made the brilliant decision to just show the adventures of a young and highly nubile Alicia Silverstone.  Those were the juicy lips that launched a million groin pangs in the mid-1990s.

Bell Biv Devoe, "Poison"
I ain't too proud to admit that I had this song on cassingle back in the day.  This video has more hot women in tight dresses than any other ever made.  The brief shot of the lady with ample cleavage leaning over at four minutes in has permanently been burned onto my psyche.

Chris Isaak, "Wicked Game"
This song had become a surprise hit with a different original video, but then someone made the brilliant decision to bring in a Norwegian model, a white bikini, and volcanic ash.  Much sexier and more convincing as soft core porn than the Shannon Tweed flicks they used to show late at night on Cinemax.

Prince, "Get Off" (video doesn't have original audio)
I could never fault Prince's taste in women, and Diamond and Pearl might very well be the steamiest of his babes.

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