That guy behind Donna really loves this song. If there had been ringtones in 1975, his would have been “Love to Love You.” He had a picture of Donna Summer in his locker at the gym. He ate health food with a Donna Summer impersonator; the license plate on his Gremlin read “MORODER.”
Donna Summer, “Love to Love You” (Groovy, 1975)
That guy behind Donna really loves this song. If there had been ringtones in 1975, his would have been “Love to Love You.” He had a picture of Donna Summer in his locker at the gym. He ate health food with a Donna Summer impersonator; the license plate on his Gremlin read “MORODER.” His hop-legged enthusiasm can’t help his heroine’s atrocious lip-synching skills. That’s OK. This is still one of the hottest songs ever. Best bit: around 1:50, when there’s a breakdown and it seems like you might actually be getting it on with Donna Summer. Now you know how that dude behind her felt. — Johnny Loftus
Before there was a Duffy, we had the Cardigans Nina Persson — blond, beautiful, and equipped with a lilting voice that, come the mid-90s, had no problem cooing it’s way onto radio stations across the globe. The band may have hit it big with the joyfully intoxicated “Love Fool” from 1996’s First Band On The Moon, but “Carnival” — from 1995’s Life — is really where it’s at. Propelled by a sort of Smiths-gone-disco jangle, the video for “Carnival” is as kitschy and fun as the circus organ and strings that move the song along, and it smartly puts Persson, decked out in her best Breakfast At Tiffany’s garb, right up front. The vintage film grain aids the clip’s authenticity, and if we were the betting kind (which we are), we’d wager that the suits who cooked up Duffy’s look and sound had Persson in mind when they went label shopping. — Ryan Allen
The Smiths, “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out” (Sire, 1986)
The YouTube description for the Smiths’ video for “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out” says it all: “Arguably one of the best songs ever written.” Hackum1, whoever you are, we couldn’t agree more. The video though? Well, maybe not so much. You’d think Morrissey, Marr and those other guys would want the clip for The Queen Is Dead’s shining moment to be a bit more interesting than some slow-motion shots of a shirtless boy (or is it a girl? Oh the androgyny!), a flaming car, and some spliced in snippets from some lost British tourism flick from the early 60s. But, when you’ve written a song this amazing, sometimes it’s best to step out of the way, deliver a few murky visuals, and let the music do the talking. Or moaning. Or whatever it is Morrissey does with his voice. — Ryan Allen
There is a rumor going round that Pablo Escobar watched Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory 3,412 times while preparing for his amazing career in murder and drugs. It seems he also had a secret plan to grow Umpa Lumpas out of cocaine. That dude was a mad genius.
There was a lot of debate as to if Sebadoh were in over their heads, when they played their “classic” album Bubble and Scrape front-to-back at this year’s Pitchfork Music Festival a few weeks back. But who could blame the haters, as the Seb were squeezed in between Mission of Burma tearing through Vs. and Public Enemy making It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Hold Us Back — as well as the city of Chicago — their bitch? If it were up to us, Lou Barlow and Jason Lowenstein would have called up Bob Fay, instead of that crazy Eric Gaffney guy, and busted out all of 1994’s Bakesale — an album we listened to way too much while mowing the lawn. And yeah, B&S faves “Soul and Fire,” “Happily Divided” and “Homemade” are perfect examples of classic lo-fi pop done right; it’s just that we prefer the tightly wound fair of Sale‘s “Licence to Confuse,” “Magnet’s Coil,” and “Rebound” — the song for which this home-made movie-styled video was made. We know Bubble and Scrape may have started it all, but to us, Bakesale was more than just a rebound; it was an improvement. — Ryan Allen
Love Battery, “Fuzz Factory” (Atlas Records, 1995)
For every Nirvana and Pearl Jam, there’s a Tad and Earth — Seattle grunge-era bands that just didn’t quite burst onto the mainstream like they could have, and probably should have. Go ahead and add psychedelic fuzz-pop quartet Love Battery to that list. Formed in the late 1980s, and named after a Buzzcocks tune, Love Battery were somewhat of a different breed than most of the Seattle bands of the day, digging more on swirling guitars and saccharine melodies than the sludgy metallic tones that characterized contemporaries like Soundgarden and Mudhoney. The band did, however, share one thing in common with their grunge-buddies: Previously signed to Sub Pop, come 1994, they were snatched up by then major label Atlas records for their album Straight Freak Ticket, and, well…have you ever even heard of Love Battery before? Yeah, we thought not. Regardless, this song and video is from that post-Sub Pop time period, and you can hear their attempts at writing an actual single; except, whereas most bands start to stink once major labels get their paws all over them, this song is actually really good, and the video pre-dates Fear And Loathing in Las Vegas by a couple of years. More proof that the best ones are always ahead of their time. — Ryan Allen
Remember when you were a kid, and one of the more fun things to do while listening to your favorite hair metal jams of the day was to make up lyrics to the song, then sing them incessantly, until they almost overtook the songs real lyrics? No? Nobody ever did that? What the fuck? Well, we did, and one of our favorite songs to rock-mock was Def Leppard’s “Let’s Get Rocked.” Our choice of lyric switching was: “Let’s collect, let’s collect, let’s collect, let’s collect rocks!”…as if we were the cool kids making fun of future geologists everywhere. Little did we know, way back in 1992, that the real reason to poke fun of this song would be for the horrible virtual reality inspired graphics that litter the video. Armaggedon it? Hardly. — Ryan Allen
The kickoff to Straight Shooter, Bad Company’s 1975 follow-up to their debut self-titled and big breakthrough, the groove on “Good Lovin’ Gone Bad” is as razor-sharp as this footage is murky and shit-tastic.
Bad Company, “Good Lovin’ Gone Bad” (Swan Song, 1975)
The kickoff to Straight Shooter, Bad Company’s 1975 follow-up to their debut self-titled and big breakthrough, the groove on “Good Lovin’ Gone Bad” is as razor-sharp as this footage is murky and shit-tastic. But the low quality image just makes this clip more badass. Watching it now, you can see how dudes like Van Halen ripped off Bad Company’s stage moves, making them bigger and more flamboyant but always keep that chip balanced on the shoulder. Watching it now, you can see how songs like this just keep showing up on classic rock radio. They’re durable. They’re tough. They’re like motorcycles with no suspension. — Thomas Rooker White
Kylie Minogue, “Your Disco Needs You” (Mushroom, 2001)
God, Kylie sounds like MadonnABBa on this track. Fun fact: the video for “Your Disco Needs You” was filmed in the sitting room of one of its co-writers, Mr. Robbie Williams. That’s right, instead of a hedgerow, the ever-unassuming Williams installed a 20-foot high sign that flashed “D-I-S-C-O” at all hours of the day. It was really quite charming, and his neighbors were said to love it, especially when they visited for tea and the floor lit up like Lite Brite. That Robbie Williams. His disco always needs him. — Thomas Rooker White
Check out the Beach Boys getting all Monkees at the beginning of this clip. Well, it’s not like the Monkees invented walking funnily in unison; they were ripping off the British Invasion bands.
The Beach Boys, “Wouldn’t It be Nice” (Capitol, 1966)
Check out the Beach Boys getting all Monkees at the beginning of this clip. Well, it’s not like the Monkees invented walking funnily in unison; they were ripping off the British Invasion bands. But given the consistent critical blush for the Beach Boys — and how dearly their music is held by folk types and indie dudes for its intellectual hotness — it’s cool to see them clowning around. And then the performance footage at the end. Look at those stage moves! — Thomas Rooker White