For no good reason, the synapse recycler kicked out Huey Lewis and the News this afternoon, and Hip To Be S quare popped into my mind around 4:30 today. I grew up without MTV, but that doesn’t matter in this day and age. YouTube provided the necessary distraction from .Net code for a few minutes:
I never realized you could get that intimate with a musician’s facial hair and not sleep with them in the process. It certainly is – what’s the word – congested? Confined? Close in like the middle seat on an airliner between two obese people for a claustrophobe?
Compare and contrast with Robert Palmer’s Simply Irresistible:
Women dressed in tight-fitting dresses, made up like painted porcelain dolls, dancing like tramps but not smiling at all, behind a guy in a suit crooning into a microphone. The women look like they’re just barely tolerating the filming, just waiting for the paycheck at the end of the day so they can exhale for the first time in seven hours when they take the dresses off.
I think it’s the hair – pinning it back like that makes their faces look pinched and drawn, and the makeup (particularly the lipstick) accentuates the look. To be honest, I wouldn’t mind seeing Jennifer in such a dress, but if she did her hair like that I would ask her to do it again. It’s just plain ugly.
If you know your pop culture, there’s no mistaking the decade this was filmed in. You don’t even need the sound turned on, you can tell just by look. On the other hand, If you saw the HL&N video without sound, you might guess it was done in the 80s, but you could honestly guess the late 70s or 90s and no one would fault you. The camera tricks in that video throw you off, since you’re used to seeing objects like drumsticks and drum pedals move, not stay stationary while everything else moves around them. It makes it difficult to pick up on small clues, like clothing.
Then there’s the music. In HL&N, the synthesizer plays a background role equal to the other instruments. In Palmer’s world, it is the centerpiece, equal only to the guitar, and only in places. Huey plays a tune that makes you tap your feet and hum along, while Palmer focuses your attention (or at least mine) on the fact that there’s no telling where the money went, even after all these years. Is he talking about a female politician and some embezzlement scheme? A prostitute? Did he have sex with her, so he considers her loving “simply irresistible”? I don’t know. At least with Huey you know he just wants to be popular, so he decides to let his geek flag fly.
They reflect two different takes on the same decade, and I’m not sure which one I like better. That’s probably why both of them are on my music player.