American Culture

Saturday Video Roundup: the best of music video, part 2

Last September we hit you with part one of our best music videos ever, featuring Death in Vegas, The Prodigy and Pop Will Eat Itself. Powerful stuff, to say the least. Today we’re back with round two – alieNation.

Up first is Orbital’s “The Box.” I used this one in a class or two back in the late ’90s. Humanities and the Electronic Media, I think. Just a brilliant bit of short film making here – deftly captures the anomie and alienation of the postmodern urban wasteland. It’s almost magical how we can be so isolated from a character and so connected all at the same time.

Johnny Cash’s cover of “Hurt” is one you may have seen – it got some attention when it was released, and for good reason. I guess there’s an institutional critique to be had here – industry sees a buck in having fading legend do stripped down cover of successful tune by contemporary artist. I can’t see any valid argument about the result, though. The pain is palpable, tangible. Both song and video are nothing short of brilliant.

This last one is not safe for work. Or home. Or anywhere else. I used Nine Inch Nails’ “Gave Up” in a class, as well. We were talking about censorship, and I decided that we should have something in front of us that would challenge anybody with even the slightest censoring bone in their body. The original version of this appeared on the Broken video release, and you should know the version here is considerably less disturbing than the full, unprettied original. It’s so valuable because of how it destroys the homogeneity and emotional distancing effect of television, which allows us to filter the genuine horrors of the world around us in a way that doesn’t upset our dinner. Here, Reznor wants the viewer to fucking get it. To quote a famous American, “mission accomplished.”

Still with me?

Happy weekend, and check back next Saturday when we have something very special planned for you.

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