Friday Night Videos: Al

Paul Simon: You Can Call Me Al (1996)

Remember when Chevy Chase was funny? Me, neither. But this video provides documentary evidence to back up the claim. A lot of the humor comes from seeing wee little Paul Simon next to the shaggy tower that is Chevy Chase.

Weird Al: Don’t Download This Song (2006)

Yes, I already did a song by Weird Al, and I’m trying not to repeat artists. But I’m posting links to videos on the Internet. How could I ignore this song? What’s great about the song’s video is that Bill Plympton created it. Plympton has a unique style, and he hand-draws every frame of video. Some people’s work ethic. If you go looking for other things Plympton has done, beware: his cartoons are often really strange and not safe for work.

And now a word from our program director. Last night I watched MTV’s Video Music Awards. It’s been a while since I paid attention to them, but now that I have to come up with two videos every week to post, I need exposure to new videos. MTV’s never been known for taste and restraint, but the 2006 VMAs managed to be both overwhelmingly busy and incredibly boring. The set design was clearly created by a class of overstimulated kindergartners drip-fed Mountain Dew. The graphics department had a field day with the overlays and transitions. When videos were shown at all, they were most often relegated to one-eighth of the screen, sometimes with overlays or graphics behind the videos.

The best part of the night was OK Go performing their synchronized gliding act live. The giant frames and other kipple behind the band made it harder to watch than it should have been, but OK Go did an admirable job. To sum up: the highlight of the VMAs was a live recreation of a low-budget video made famous not by MTV but by the Internet and word of mouth. I can’t think of a better metaphor for MTV’s current relevance.

4 thoughts on “Friday Night Videos: Al

  1. Loved both of the videos this week! It’s funny…. watching Paul Simon in that video reminds me of Steve Burns. I know it’s an unusual analogy, but watching the mannerisms, I could see Burns doing the same sort of thing. And the Weird Al video is excellent! It amazes me how he can come up with songs that are poignant and get the point across as much as anyone else.

    Now that you mentioned OK Go on the MTV music awards, I wished I’d watched it. I don’t watch MTV at all any more because of the lack of music videos. Thanks again, Stephen!

  2. Bizarre. I’d earlier tried a YouTube search on “OK go VMA” and gotten nothing. Of course, when I try the same search now it works. Thanks for the link!

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