9 love lessons from music video history

by Dan MacRae

February 12, 2016






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From 'Thriller' to 'November Rain', music videos can teach us all about romance.

Another Valentine’s Day looms on the horizon and there’s no shame in turning to your favourite popular recording artists for advice on how you should proceed. After all, who has more stable and drama-free relationships than people in the entertainment industry? NO ONE. FACT. DON’T EVEN BOTHER FACT-CHECKING.

You may not have noticed, but there’s actually quite a lot you can pull from music videos on what to do, not do and occasionally Doucette in your quest for romance. After consulting with the International Music Video Council, we’ve nabbed 9 videos that illustrate key bits of advice you should take when it comes to love. 

We can’t guarantee that this guidance session will have you kissing and hugging some crush super hard on February 14th, but this should help you brush up on some key pointers.

Michael Jackson – “Thriller”

When it comes to dating, there’s a lot of valuable advice to be plucked from the horror-pop glory of the “Thriller” video. If your boyfriend is really into watching a movie of him MURDERING A MOVIE VERSION OF YOU USING HIS MOTHERFUCKING WERECAT POWERS, you may want to tick that as a red flag. HE IS THRILLED 1950s YOU IS TORN TO PIECES, OLA RAY! It’s almost like if your date calls Dirty Grandpa a “laugh riot” or something equally suspicious.

We’re not ones to shame anyone’s romance, mind you. Just ask yourself if you’re okay with dating a zombie (it’s fair to look at their choreography first) and if you can handle your main squeeze occasionally making dramatic looks behind them like a camera’s revealing a key bit of information that you aren’t privy to. He’s probably looking at nothing and that sinister laughter is likely just coming from a Vincent Price novelty radiator.

Blur – “Coffee & TV”

What can two milk cartons tell us about love? If you’re feeling bleak, the big reveal is probably that true romance has a best before date and that death comes for us all once we’ve consumed everything of value. WOOOOOO HOOOOOO!

If you’re less of a Gloomy Gus, this video’s B-story shows that good cartons can find love even as they pursue their other passions in life. Namely, being drank by Graham Coxon from Blur who really should have left a note about his whereabouts. If you ever find yourself reuniting Graham with his family, know that love is coming your way and it’s OK for the guy that did “Freakin’ Out” to drain you of valuable nutrients.

Toni Braxton – “You’re Makin’ Me High”

On the hunt for a Valentine? Why not just hang out around the elevator and wait for some variety of muscly hunk to come to you? All you need are some novelty-sized playing cards to show your scores plus Maxine off Living Single and you’re pretty much in business.

Couriers will be mildly annoyed by the inconvenience, but don’t let them hassle you. You’ve got a job to do and that involves ogling whatever shirtless dude is trying to make his way to the 24th floor to go over business things or whatever.

Justin Bieber – “What Do Ü Mean”

Need a cheap Valentine’s Day idea? Pull a Justin Bieber and hire John Leguizamo to kidnap you and your girlfriend just for funzos. After all, who doesn’t want to live in their own personal Criminal Minds episode with action sports goofs added in for “youth” reasons or something along those lines? FEEL THE TRAUMA BONDING EXCITEMENT!

Our advice is actually to avoid the bulk of things in this video. We hate to be all Miss Manners, but it’s traditionally considered bad form to hire a gaggle of masked abductors to grab your GF out of a motel because you want to take her to an updated version of the party Billy Madison threw after completing the 2nd grade. (Come to think of it, it’s extra weird that Justin wanted to sneak in some lovemaking JUST before his kidnapping plan kicked off.) Don’t act like the villain of a CBS crime procedural is what we’re getting at with our surprise advice.

A-ha – “Take On Me”

Are things going well in your romance with an animated Norwegian new wave star that’s being pursued by wrench-wielding goons? They are? That’s fantastic to hear! Don’t forget this key bit of advice: Once he’s been brought to life through the power of love, comic books, and being beaten to a pulp by a Clue weapon, he’s now your responsibility.

That means taking Morten Harket out for daily walks, feeding him era-appropriate Scandinavian cuisine, and having a stern word with the European Motorcycle & Sidecar League every now and again.

Aqua – “Doctor Jones”

This goes for music videos, romance, and life in general: Step it back on the racist stuff. Like all the way back.

Tegan and Sara – “Closer”

Maybe you’re one of those would-be cupids that considers themselves quite the matchmaker. Ooooh! You’ve figured out which pal should date which acquaintance and you look forward to the tickertape parade they’ll throw you out of appreciation for your skills.

If you really want to get MAXIMUM value for setting people up, why not take a page from Tegan and Sara’s “Closer” promo? Record a hit pop-rock tune, do a karaoke version of it in a “parent’s basement” style people-holder, set up spin the bottle and watch the guests get all smoochy and whatnot all over the place. Grandma’s plastic furniture protection sheet doesn’t seem like such a fussy idea now, does it?

Kid Creole and the Coconuts – “Endicott”

When you’re a slick sophisticated dude like Kid Creole, you shouldn’t have to compete with the dependable but dopey Endicott type neighbour next door. There’s loads of lovely things to say about our bud Endicott (clean living! lengthy boning sessions! devoted to his partner!), but you’ve gotta be true to you.

Everyone at Kid Creole’s shindig may be talking about Endicott, but there’s a reason why they’re hanging out in our hero’s yard and abusing his air balloon rental. You can be happy as an ultra-responsible better half and you can be happy as a flashy party-starter. The important thing is knowing who you are and being cool with that.

Guns ‘N Roses – “November Rain”

If you’re a dedicated GnR disciple, you’ve probably done the appropriate amount of research into Del James and all the other extra credit stuff required to understand exactly what’s really going on in the video for “November Rain.”

That’s all well and good and informative, but really there is only one true message to be pulled from this Use Your Illusion I promo: PROTECT THE FUCKING CAKE. If you’re getting married, 69ing at a funeral, or doing anything else relationship-y where there’s cake involved, it is essential that desserts are protected.

In “November Rain” a dude JUMPS THROUGH an elaborate wedding cake and Stephanie Seymour fails to live through the remainder of the video. Coincidence? Of course not. Hire security, hire snipers, rent a hologram decoy cake, do whatever you have to do for the sake of your marriage or whatever romantic engagement requires iced foods. Your relationship and safety could depend upon it.

Tags: Music, News, Guns N' Roses, kid creole, Michael Jackson, valentine's day






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