Posts by Shawn Amos
- Shawn Amos at Yahoo Music3 days ago
It's been 30 years since Michael Jackson's "Thriller" first hit the airwaves, forever changing our expectations of what a music video could be. It cost a record-setting $500,000, sold more than 9 million units (yes, people used to actually buy music videos), and won big at both the Grammys and MTV Video Music Awards. But when it debuted on MTV just a few weeks before Christmas 1983, no one knew just how lasting an impact it would have on pop culture.
John Landis of Animal House and Blues Brothers fame directed, and movie legend Vincent Price reprised his spooky voice mojo from the album. Despite its comic-book vibe, Jackson, then a Jehovah's Witness, was concerned about fans thinking he was a devil-worshipper. To keep his conscience clean, he prefaced the video with a disclaimer: "Due to my strong personal convictions, I wish to stress that this film in no way endorses a belief in the occult." Surprisingly, there was no mention of him hanging out with chimps and llamas. One man's occult is another man's Bubbles.
- Yahoo Music at Yahoo Music8 days ago
This week, Norah Jones and Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong release Foreverly , an out-of-leftfield but lovely tribute to the Everly Brothers. Listen below:
But this odd couple got us thinking about other inspired — if not always as successful — unions from pop's quirky past.
LADY GAGA & BEYONCÉ, "TELEPHONE" (2010)
Lady Gaga and Beyoncé's tag-team "Telephone" video was an outrageous homage to Quentin Tarantino, bondage, the love that dares not speak its name, and every women's-prison picture grimed to a drive-in screen. Even as firebrand Sasha Fierce, it's rare to see Beyoncé, with her Betty Page-via-Rosario Dawson bangs, in such kinky form. Curious fashions aside, it was fun to see these icons at the pinnacle of their powers rampaging together.
FRANK SINATRA & BONO, "I'VE GOT YOU UNDER MY SKIN" (1993)
- Shawn Amos at Stop The Presses!2 mths ago
There are songs you wish you could forget but can't. They're like a virus that won't leave your system no matter how hard you try. You're in the shower, and before you can stop yourself "Y.M.C.A." pops out of your mouth. You catch yourself chanting, "Who let the dogs out?" in the car. You respond to a friend's recent troubles with "I get knocked down, but I get up again."
You try to erase these unwelcome melodies by thinking about something else. Nothing. You sing them 10 times really loud and fast, hoping to push them out of your head. No luck. They won't leave you. You're afraid to go out at night. You used to be so much cooler than this.
Go easy on yourself. You're not to blame. There's a name for the affliction, and it's called "brain itch." And the type of song that causes the brain itch? That's an "earworm." Dr. James Kellaris of the University of Cincinnati has studied the phenomenon (for real). It seems the combination of repetitive words and unchanging melody makes for the perfect earworm. We're helpless against its power.
- Shawn Amos at Stop The Presses!2 yrs ago
Thirty years ago MTV aired its first video, the Buggles' "Video Killed The Radio Star." It was an apt choice, even though radio continued to cruise for another 20 years, until XM Radio and the Internet finally stamped it dead. MTV was the last great musical revolution. It kept this high school kid home on many afternoons when I should have been in class. It was the last time I cut school or work for anything.
What a difference 30 years makes.
This Monday, August 1, MTV celebrated its 30th birthday. It might as well have been the 30th birthday of KMET. Remember KMET? Of course you don't. It's an old Los Angeles classic-rock radio station. And it's dead. Dead just like radio. Dead just like MTV. The revolution is long over, and MTV is just another in a long line of corporate stooges trotting out corporate stooge bands trying to pass themselves off as something anti-establishment. It's filled with a bunch of reality nothingness celebrating a life of consumerism. The "M" used to stand for "music." Now it stands for "meaningless." EmpTV. Empty. It's all one self-conscious, soulless bore.