Friday, March 26, 2010

Ahead of Its Time: The Replacements' "Bastards of Young" video

As a record collector, I often read about interesting records that are obscure or hard to track down. Thanks to the Internet, especially YouTube, some of these records are accessible to me as placeholders for some moment down the line where I might be able to procure them physically. There is one curious subset of YouTube clips I'm interested in here: users who provide video images of their records actually playing.

Here is one such clip, of the mildly difficult-to-find Keith Richards 45 "Run Rudolph Run," a cover of the Chuck Berry holiday tune:

Here is another, this time of the 1961 single "Angel Baby," performed by Rosie & the Originals:

While this YouTube practice may seem quaint, quirky, or even woefully nostalgic to some music fans, it turns out that long before the high speed Internet era, one music video predicted this would happen.

For aficionados of music videos, The Replacements' clip for their 1985 single "Bastards of Young" is one of the greatest, and one of the least known. Coming from their critically acclaimed album Tim, the video is often cited on lists of the greatest music videos of all time. Why? Well, it's refreshingly simple. The camera focuses on a stereo playing a phonograph record of the latest hit by the Replacements. We see the speakers bumping and the record spinning on the platter. The camera slow pans back and eventually a man sits on his couch in front of the stereo and smokes a cigarette while listening to it. Its minimalism is staggering, and virtually guaranteed it no MTV rotation back in the mid-1980s.

However, today, this clip seems oddly prophetic. I'm pretty sure the director(s) of this clip had no idea that footage like it would appear all over computer screens twenty-some-odd years after it was destined for obscurity. Here is the link for this video, one of the finest, and simplest, of the 1980s, and, now, a proto-meta-critical example of music in screened form.

No comments:

Post a Comment