Those who lament the death of music videos tend to forget just how pointless most of them were. Creative and intriguing storytelling was the exception, while jumping around and pretending you had remembered to plug in your instruments was the norm.
Few genres exemplified this like '80s hair metal. Nine times out of 10, the entire message of their video was "We rock, we like women, and we look better in Mom's makeup than she does." But sometimes they caught the creative bug and created intricate storylines to complement their songs of sex, sex, and being sad because the girl they used to have sex with is gone.
Unfortunately, quality control and the '80s didn't mix. So, with nobody telling the musicians that they should probably stick to musicianing, we ended up with adventures in idiocy such as ...
#5. Ratt -- "Round and Round"
The video for "Round and Round," Ratt's most famous song (which is to say, their only famous song) contains both of the typical hair metal tropes -- pantomimed rockin' and hot girls in asphyxiating dresses -- but takes a rather interesting route to get there.
It begins at a stuffy dinner party full of prim and proper folks whom you fully expect to hate all things loud and hairy. Ratt sneaks up to the attic and begins to play, because for a true artist, the need to perform is every bit as overpowering as a meth addict's need to get high. Sometimes, of course, that means breaking into a home or two.
"Guys, the clock says we only have 14:59 left, so make this count."
Naturally, the stuffy old people ... love it? And not only do they love it, two of them get pretty quivery in the loins over it. An old dude who looks exactly like Prince Charles (and is comedy legend Milton Berle) leers at a Monty Python actor in drag (also comedy legend Milton Berle -- his nephew was the band's manager at the time, you see), who caresses her boobs in terrifying anticipation. The two then run off to fuck, and you never see them again.
Just like Milton Berle.
Later on, a young girl goes upstairs after getting turned on by her butler's blatant champagne cock. Once there, she loses her dress and hair, transforming into a zombie Jamie Lee Curtis wearing silver lipstick all of a sudden. Also, her gown suddenly has shoulders in place of the strapless number she wore literally four seconds before.
"Are you the Crapmaster? I am the Crapkeeper."
And then the big reveal. Perhaps you were wondering how Ratt managed to evade security systems and vicious dogs and gain access to this fancy mansion in the first place. Well, like a stereotypical murder mystery, it turns out the butler did it. Yes, Alfred and the band were in cahoots the entire time, a turn made abundantly clear by the plate of rats he unleashes upon the partygoers.
Eventually, the band's rockin' becomes hard enough to send the guitarist crashing through the ceiling. After landing on the table, he launches into an unplugged guitar solo that sends every remaining guest running away in terror.
By this point, everything has completely gone to shit. There's massive property damage, pests are everywhere, and the zombie's still gyrating to absolutely nothing. But none of that compares to the sight of the butler rocking out, clad in full leather and denim that he just happened to have stashed away somewhere, along with what appears to be lipstick.
Honestly, it could have turned out much worse.
The moral is crystal clear: Ratt's music is for dead-eyed freaks and old people. Truly an anthem for the youth of America.
#4. Jackyl -- "The Lumberjack"
Unlike their contemporaries, Jackyl believed in the power of education, as long as it was centered on Jackyl. Also, fuck spelling class, apparently.
The video for "The Lumberjack" begins with an old man grabbing his shotgun, ready to shoot the band for daring to drive into his town.
Shortly thereafter, we cut to a one-room classroom circa 1852, where the lesson of the day is "watch Jackyl." While an unorthodox subject, it's still more beneficial to a child's future than "learn cursive." Also, the entire student body is straight out of a fetish magazine, just like anywhere else respectable rednecks dwell.
"*Sigh* Can we skip this and go to the pep rally?"
Meanwhile, Jackyl's rockin' has completely won over the old man, further killing any hope hair metal ever had of being rebel rock for pissed-off kids. This newfound camaraderie culminates in guitarist and geezer doing the rock star shoulder-to-shoulder rub, which pleases Grandpa way, way more than it should.
"Your hair ... never leave ..."
Then it's back to the school, and remember the Jackyl video they were watching earlier? That was from their stage show. Well, now their porch-front performance (which would require maybe a 20-foot walk to see live) takes its place, somehow projecting into the school, despite no cameras being present. The obvious conclusion here is that Jackyl is made of magic.
We get more magic in the next scene, as Jackyl shows up at the school while still screwing around with hillbillies and playing on stage. The natural next step is to seduce the teacher, except she's a bearded lady for literally no reason whatsoever. This school has the budget for sexy uniforms for all its students and managed a live feed to a major concert hundreds of miles away -- there's no reason the teacher can't afford a goddamned razor.
We then cut to the live show, featuring a chainsaw solo, which was probably the single most '80s metal thing that '80s metal ever did.
Yes, there's a chainsaw fellatio scene.
Back to the school and -- what ho, what's this? A second screen randomly shows up at the school, so the students can rock out to both the stage show AND the porch show at the same time? While Jackyl is still in the classroom somehow?
A dancing frenzy begins at this point, but only the most appropriately dressed students are allowed to participate.
Finally, one MORE Jackyl (I've officially lost count of how many Jackyls exist) shows up to chainsaw the teacher's desk, in case you had not realized that this band does, in fact, own a chainsaw.
Then, not now. They had rent to pay.
Nobody ever offers an explanation as to why science felt the need to clone this band.
#3. Krokus -- "Screaming in the Night"
Krokus' "Screaming in the Night" was evidently a big hit, though fuck if anyone remembers it. The song itself is perfectly fine, so I'm assuming the bat-fuck insane video was what drove the masses away.
Tribal warriors take Krokus and their groupies hostage, because sometimes an angry god has to take whatever sacrifice it can. They chain the singer to the front of a primitive parade float, while the rest of the band is behind him, playing their instruments and not even close to shackled.
The bass player made a break for it, but came back when he realized no one cared.
The tribe chucks everyone into a cell, except for the singer's groupie. She gets the honor of being groped by a fat bearded guy in a military helmet.
She later tries to kiss the singer, but the fat guy stabs her to death, officially marking the most hardcore moment of any video I'm reviewing. He and his guards then shackle the singer and carry him outside on a board, coffin in tow.
"DAMN YOU, DOM DeLUISE! DAMN YOU TO HELL!"
They throw both coffin and singer into a pyramid tomb, presuming that the singer will helpfully climb into the coffin once he feels impending death enter his lungs. Immediately, however, thunder strikes the tomb and causes the singer's chains to disappear.
Along with the director's dignity.
Then, even though the thunder didn't touch it, the coffin explodes open, and inside the singer finds his street clothes. How thoughtful of the tribe to ensure that he didn't enter the pits of hell underdressed.
After dressing, a trap door randomly opens and the singer descends it, because wherever it leads can't be any worse than suffocating inside a pyramid.
As it turns out, I was wrong. He winds up in a greasy-spoon diner, where the fat military dude is a disgusting cook with beard lice issues, and his dead groupie is now an apathetic waitress. The TV shows the band (with singer) rocking in the tribal world, the details of their dramatic escape long deleted by whoever edited this video. Entranced, the singer climbs up on the table, steps on everybody's food (including the band, who's eating brunch while simultaneously rocking out somewhere), and starts serenading the TV.
Seconds before he gets arrested for trying to fuck the television.
So, was the tribe a dream, or an alternate universe? If it's the former, then Krokus just committed the lamest cop-out imaginable, and someone needs to track them down and beat them senseless. If it's the latter, then that jerk just left his band to die so he could live among the '80s late-morning coffee crowd. Unless meeting his alternate-alternate universe self would destroy all of the space-time continuums, there's no excuse for him not to go back for his buddies.
Oh, who am I kidding? These people introduced a kidnapped Cadillac and never told us what happened to it. Clearly, tying up loose ends is not on their to-do list.
Who knew Cyclops was a Springsteen fan?