Monday, September 20, 2010

MTV Generation

There was a time when it was possible to watch MTV without the torture of having to see reality shows inserted between music video programs. These reality shows, with shallow and overused plots revolving around a bunch of kids and their teenage angst have been the staple of music channels for years. Blame the shift on generation taste. The kids-turned-adults who now tune in to other cable channels are the ones who never changed.

But things were different over a decade ago. Being denied access to technology and budget to produce expensive videos, directors were often forced to harness their creativity to make up for the shortfall. Artistically rendered music videos with sublime and hidden stories could trigger a discourse on pop culture among children. Good merits heavily depended on how the song made sense after its music video interpretation.

Before MTV, there was the Video Hits Parade on Channel 2. Mom and I used to watch the show to pass time on lazy weekends. When Skycable finally linked our television sets with the rest of the world, one of the first music videos I saw was Alanis Morisettes' Ironic. The video was plain and there was nothing much to see. It features Morisette on a roadtrip with her three clones playing as passengers. A pastiche of her other selves doing silly things while singing the song form most of the scenes. For an average kid today, the video would not even struck a chord. But for us back then it was a trendsetter.

Ironic would go down in history as one of the best music videos of 1996. The end product maybe a far cry from Lady Gaga's creations but then, it may have inspired dozens of artists including the Fame Monster to stick with their dream and become performers themselves in the future.

In following the footsteps of lady Beckham, here are my top five music videos.

December 2 Chapter VII
Taken By Cars

Literal meanings of the song may have been lost to interpretation, but the video did not. Behind the bubble gum symbolisms, a hooded fox chasing an androgynous girl, soft lights twinkling in the dark and a wailing lady singing at the background is a brooding suicidal theme centered around the inescapable despair of loneliness.

Final Distance
Utada Hikaru

The Japanese have always been masters of rendering scenes with surreal elements. Final Distance is a ballad dedicated to Rena Yamashita, a young girl who was brutally stabbed in a school rampage in Japan. To reflect what Utada have felt at the senseless killing, (the girl had previously mentioned that she wanted to become a song writer like Utada when she grows up) Hikaru created two limbo-like worlds in the music video where the main protagonist is coddled by grotesque figures but remain trapped in her own prison. Before the video end, the protagonist reunites with her other self setting off the camera to pan out and reveal that the worlds were actually a floating island drifting in space.

Smashing Pumpkins

Gone is the age romanticized in this video. It follows a day in the life of three disaffected kids driving around in a Dodge Charger.

The music video is based on the concept of an idealized version of a teenage life, while also trying to capture the feeling of being bored as a teenager. The video struck me hard when I was in college. Somehow I understood the hidden message which was to enjoy the sights of life for one will never pass the same road again.

Billy Corgan once lamented "The video was the closest we've ever come to realizing everything we wanted" True to his words, we remember 1979 now as the Golden Age of Alternative music genre.

I Don't Want To Wait
Paula Cole

Paula Cole's music video depicts an immortal woman living through different times only to see her lovers cross the afterlife. Each period rolls into a new age when she runs around a room full of clocks. The fine gowns representing Elizabethan, Baroque and Pre-War periods capture one's imagination of timelessness. Her dance steps at the beginning (with Cole's arms flailing like the hands of time) mimics how things change while the protagonist remains the same. I used to spend an entire day tuned in to MTV just to see this video, but my efforts were all in vain. I Don't Want To Wait was the least aired in the music channel among my top five.

Here is Gone
Goo Goo Dolls

This video has produced a cult following. In my opinion, Here is Gone echoes 1979's concept of an idealized version of a teenage life. But the difference lies with how the coming of age took many forms and symbols here: the crawling caterpillar at the beginning turning into a moth at the song's closing, the time lapse shot of the sun as it journeys across the sky, a boy hurling a pebble hitting a road sign that says "end," a woman dancing on top of a broken car. For its rich imagery and feel good sound, Here is Gone stays as my favorite music video of all time.


Désolé Boy said...

i first heard of that term MTV generation from PETA's ASL Please..
anyway pareho tau kuya. love ko din yung I Don't Want to Wait kxe sobrang astig ng concept nung video.
fave ko naman yung mga music videos ni Bjork

Nimmy said...

love na love ko ung I Don't Want To Wait. namiss ko bigla ang Dawson's Creek. may cassette tape ako ng OST na yan. i feel so old na tuloy. ahihi.

canonista said...

Mugen, mali yata title mo nung kanta ng Taken by Cars, December 2 Chapter VII yun. Tuwing pinapakinggan ko yang kantang yan, ikaw lang ang naalala ko... Paborito mo yan e!

Alam ko, meron ako, at gusto ko lahat ng mga kantang pinost mo dito sa entry na ito! Astig!

Isa ka sa iilan kong kaibigan na alam at hilig din ang mga pinapakinggan ko.

Sarap magsountrip!

NOW PLAYING: December 2 Chapter VII

canonista said...

Pahabol, meron akong album ng Taken by Cars, Smashing Pumpkins, Utada Hikaru, DVD ng concert ng Goo Goo Dolls, at MP3 file ni Paula Cole.

Yun lang, sinabi ko lang. :-p

Mu[g]en said...


Nung sinusulat ko itong entry, alam kong ikaw ang makakarelate ng husto. Remember our exchanges in PR before. Gulat ka kasi akala mo inulit ko yung mga favorite bands mo when in fact, I was familiar with those you mentioned.

Thanks for the reminder. Nawala sa isip ko na 2 pala yun at hindi 16. Lol.


I still have some of the mp3s from the first OST. Meron ka ba sa mp3 mo? I'd be happy to let you copy mine. =)

Desole Boy

Hindi ko nga matandaan saan ko unang narinig yung MTV Generation eh. Hehehe. But I agree, sobrang angas nung Music Video ni Paula Cole. I like the part when she's a lady from the Baroque Period.

maginoongbulakenyo said...

Laking MTV rin ako..hehehe Sabi nga ng nanay ko noong hindi na daw ako nakuntento sa radio pati sa tv music parin pinanonood ko.

Astig nga yong kay Paula Cole I Don't Want To Wait..panahon ko to..Dawson's Creek.

Sir mugs yong copy na OST ha..hehehe

daniel said...

Lagi naming napag-uusapan ng bff kung gurl, kung gaano kaganda ang MTV dati, lalo na mid 090's, true ka jan sis'. final distance at I dont wanna wait, panalo sa akin..sobrang ganda at artistic nung mga vids : )

soltero said...

WEEEEEEE... 1979 is one of my all time faves...

Also The Verve's Bittersweet Symphony

whats with the gays and Paula Cole? ahahahhaa :P

Kryptonite User said...

I was just listening to smashing pumpkins 1979 couple of nights ago. Seriously. I even downloaded the video using but i just can't seem to make head or tail of the lyrics. So i went back to listening to moonpools and caterpillars' Soon. Old songs are definitely better than new ones. I can't figure out Justine Bieber and all the hoopla.

Ronnie said...

Ah oo! VHP! Jeez, naalala mo pa yun? Haha

Final Distance is my favorite song. Ganda din ng video kahit medyo 'di ko naintindihan nung una ko siyang napanood. I love its ethereal tune. Adding to that, I like Hikki. Hehe

About the video of the Goo Goo Dolls', I can only remember a lady wearing high socks (am I right?) and dancing on top of a car. I also like this song. =)

engel said...

whoa. felt like i was time travelling.

Video Hits Parade. I so remember this, I think it was every sunday morning.

good times.

orally said...

80s kid ako so Thriller for the win hahaha.
ang baduy nung 80s pero ang saya- madonna, cyndi, mj, lionel richie, bruce springsten syet ang tanda ko na

Anonymous said...

kakaloka ka talaga magsulat friend. blows my mind away.

anyway, just like orally, i dig the old times pero nakiride ako sa mtv days for a time kasi sa kabaklaan kong to... bet kong ilampaso ni donita ang lahat ng VJs sa ibang bansa. lolz.

Mu[g]en said...


Ayos ba! Salamat ng marami! Naalala ko nga yan. Si Donita ang dahilan bakit mataas ang tingin ko sa MTV noon.

Ngayon kasi eh baduy na siya.


Nakalimutan mo isama si Martika na akala ko dati eh si Madonna.


Good times indeed. Hays.

Mu[g]en said...


Yup, yung girl with a stockings yung isa sa pinaka-striking scene dun sa MTV na yun. Dahil siguro surreal yung shot tapos blurry yung skies at yung wide open space sa background.

As for Final Distance, na-bilib ako dun sa mga grotesque characters na nakapalibot kay Hikki sa MTV.

Kryptonite User:

Marami nga nagsasabi na ambiguous yung lyrics. But simply put, the song is about a typical day in a teenager's life and how restlessness force them to seek their own "adventure." Kaya ko nagustuhan yung video kasi na-capture niya yung essence ng lyrics.

More than the lyrics, I like the loops and samples embedded in the song.

Mu[g]en said...


Uy! Gusto mo rin yung 1979? Bah! Nag-iiba ang tingin ko sa iyo ah.

Paula Cole is a closet diva. Mga female artist na akala mo hindi iniidolo ng mga bading pero sobrang relate sila. Kagaya siya ni Tori Amos at Sarah Mclachlan.


Sobra! Parang boring yung mga MVs ngayon. Siguro dahil dati, limited ang mga karanasan saka perception natin kaya hangang hanga tayo sa music videos noon.

Pero artistic nga yung pagkagawa sa I Don't Wanna Wait saka Final Distance. Kung alam natin na hindi tayo straight noon, baka na-include natin si Madonna. Lolz.


Sent you an email regarding your inquiry.

Tagal ko na gusto i-publish itong entry na ito at dahil sa entry mo about Dawson's Creek, naalala ko na patayan sa oras talaga kung abangan ko yung music video ni Paula Cole noon. Hehehe.

maginoongbulakenyo said...

salamat sir mugs :)

vw: tuddlyva

ano daw?

soltero said...

Papa Joms - teka ano ba ang tingin mo sa akin? bwahaha :P

Mu[g]en said...


Rakista ka na pre! Nawala na yung impression ko na adik ka sa Miss U! Wahahahaha!


Walang anuman.

mel beckham said...

I love Paula Cole! yun nga lang in terms of video-making Madonna is still the winner for me. In fairness, I have not seen that video from Goo goo dolls, ma-check nga. Hehehe thanks baby!

datu/the wilted prune said...

Ui, I agree with Beckham's list. Coffee and TV is <3!

Mu[g]en said...

Mel Beckham:

Thanks to you sweetpea, na-inspire ako gumawa ng sarili kong list. Of course, Madonna is Madonna, pero kung isasama ko pa siya sa favorite music video ko ay OA na. Lol


Mistress!! Sisilipin ko nga yang Coffee and TV na yan. Nakalimutan ko na. Thanks for visiting.