Friday, February 11, 2011

Videos can ruin or improve a song

Music has the ability to evoke mental images when you listen to it.  I've found that watching a video after hearing a song I like can enhance or ruin the song for me.

The video for Sugarland's "Stay" evokes such powerful emotions that it made the song even more emotional.  It's a simple video of Jennifer singing into the camera with no special effects. The emotions are so raw, it makes you want to cry with her.

The humorous videos Brad Paisley does for his songs make the songs even more fun to listen to afterward.  'On-line' is a hilarious take on internet chatting.  "I'm Gonna Miss Her" told the story of a fisherman's wife who tried to put her foot down.

Sugarland took a risk with "Stuck on You".  The first time I heard the song I thought it was a sweet love song.  The video was a hilarious ode to a stalker and her dedicated side kick.  Although I sometimes visualize the video when I listen to the song, I still can visualize the sweet love song that first attracted me.

Another video that successfully took a risk was Eric Church's "I Got a Brand New Girlfriend".  The song is an ode to a quick recovery from a break up.  Or at least it was when I heard it on the radio.  In the video, the recovery is a little slower since the girlfriend is the plastic variety.

Two songs that were ruined for me by the video are Joe Nichols' "Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off" and Toby Keith's "Bullets in the Gun".

When I heard "Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off", I visualized it as the story of a man fondly commenting on his young wife's eccentricity.  I also imagined her coming home mostly clothed.  So I was disconcerted when the video portrayed the woman in the song as an older aunt, who stripped naked and streaked when she had too much tequila.  Unfortunately, that visual has overridden my original idea. 

I took "Bullets in the Gun' as sort of a Bonnie and Clyde allegory where the guy and girl meet, commit a crime, flee, get caught and go out together in a blaze of gun fire.  In the video, the girl he meets escapes getting shot, takes the money, leaves the guy to die, and drives away on his motorcycle.  Girl taking advantage of guy is a whole different flavor.

These are just a handful of examples of how videos can go right or wrong.  And others may not agree with my evaluation.  I just know that it annoys me when a song I like is ruined by the video.

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