Pearl Jam "Jeremy" (Mark Pellington, dir.)

While music video production has slowed down amidst the COVID-19 pandemic — although a restart appears on the near horizon — it's a good time to revisit this re-released, remastered and now uncensored version of Pearl Jam's 1992 classic "Jeremy" video that has essentially never been seen before. This original cut increases all the power of the original, making clearer the effects of bullying, teen suicide and the easy availability of guns.

Van Halen "Hot For Teacher" (Pete Angelus, David Lee Roth, dir.) [1984]

"I think we spent less money making “Jump” than we did on having pizzas delivered to the set of “Hot for Teacher.” - Pete Angelus, co-director

The Van Halen videography has been upgraded and re-uploaded to YouTube under the VHTelevision banner — just in time for the new Live in Tokyo release. The crown jewel is, of course, "Hot For Teacher" which you can consider either misogyny or a masterpiece. Or both...

The Bluetones "After Hours" (Edgar Wright, dir.) -2002-

Director Edgar Wright is fresh off his music video for Pharrell's "Gust Of Wind", so, what better time than now for him (or I) to traipse through a back catalog that was largely unseen here in the US.

The Bluetones "After Hours" is a good example of the director being ahead of his time with a one-take video that casts kids into an homage/send-up of '20s gansterland.

Lionel Richie Talks "Hello" (Bob Giraldi, dir.)

Whether you view Lionel Richie "Hello" as the best or worst video of all time is akin to how you view 50 Cent's horribly awry first pitch at a Mets game: Yes, it's an abomination, an embarassment, but has any other baseball pitch this year — ceremonial or otherwise — been talked about anywhere near as much?

So, yes: "Hello" may make you cringe. It may be a rubberneck delight. But, you remember it. In fact, you love it. And so does Lionel, who shared some tales with Rolling Stone about it:

The story behind that is really simple. [Director] Bob Giraldi shocked me on "Hello." It was a straightforward love story and he said, "No I'm gonna make the girl blind." I said, "Why do we have to go that heavy? Just make it a love story." 

Then I get to the video shoot and there's this God-awful looking clay model of my head. I said, "Bob, this doesn't look like me." He said, "OK, we'll do the scene and we'll talk about this later, Lionel." We get to scene two and I said, "Bob, I see the bust here. It doesn't look like me." He says, "Scene two, now we're getting closer." It happens again with scene three and then finally we're getting right to shoot the scene where I discover that she's done it. I say, "Bob, it doesn't look like me." And he looks at me and says, "Lionel, she's blind!" [Huge laughter] And I said, "OK, I get it." 

Steve Perry and "Oh Sherrie" and the Park Plaza Hotel

I was watching director Robby Starbuck's new Akon "So Blue" video and my first thought upon seeing the Park Plaza Hotel Los Angeles location was, "Oh, shit," or rather, "Oh, Sherrie."

Yes, that famed staircase and gate were enshrined forever in Journey singer Steve Perry's solo debut, "Oh, Sherrie."

And, in a ludicrous factoid: The girl in that video is also named Sherrie — Sherrie Swafford — and was Perry's girlfriend at the time. Alas, she never became Sherrie Perry.

Lord Tariq and Peter Gunz "Deja Vu (Uptown Baby)" (Chris Robinson, dir.)

If my memory serves, this was the video that served as the breakout for director Chris Robinson

"Uptown Baby" was an unlikely hip-hop anthem based around a Steely Dan sample that made such an airtight case for The Bronx's supremacy as the birthplace of rap music that even a Mets fan would have to give it up.

Ironically, the video itself was shot at the Met's former Queens home, Shea Stadium — a fact that's apparent to anyone from the five boroughs, or a National League city. But it was a hit clip nonetheless, thanks to Lord Tariq and Peter Gunz looking big in the video, a who's who of NYC rap celeb cameos, a sweeping 360° camera move, and, of course, a very hot track.

Jamiroquai "Virtual Insanity" (Jonathan Glazer, dir.)

I don't think I'm bursting any bubbles here, but the floor in Jamiroquai "Virtual Insanity" is not moving.

The set is on wheels and it got pushed around on a plain grey floor by a bunch of grips. The camera was locked to the set, so what you see is an illusion. Seems like the floor is gliding Jamiroquai singer Jay Kay around as he does his gypsy-funk dance thingamajig, but it's really the "room" and the camera moving in tandem.

What about the couches? Sometimes they're bolted to the wall, so they seem to be still [actually they're moving], and sometimes they seem to glide across the floor [actually they're still].

And the bird and the bugs? That, I have no idea. But everything else here is correct, as it comes straight from an interview with director Jonathan Glazer.

Also unexplainable? The bathroom attendant version, or how the video made any sense at all as a Cup of Noodles commercial.

And what's really amazing was how big Jamiroquai and this song got in 1997, all thanks to a clever clip that:

  • Won multiple MTV VMAS, including Video of the Year
  • Made Jamiroquai the 1997 verion of OK Go —there's even a certain congruity in how both OK Go and Jamiroquai had to recreate their famous video performances for the VMA stage
  • And essentially defined Jamiroquai for the general public

Pixies "Head On" (David Wild, dir.)

The Pixies were never a music video band. Makes sense. After all this is a band whose best songs were never the proper singles, who had no interest in looking like a rock band, was happy to arrange a concert set in alphabetical order and hated lip-syncing.

For instance, their other best known video, "Here Comes You Man," had Black Francis and crew employing an open-gaping mouth style instead of lip-syncing, and they look happily uncomfortable (by which I mean: The cringeworthyness is on purpose). Probably not a surprise they're not in their new video for "Bag Boy" — which like all things Pixies is curiously timed, coming just when you think the band is officially, finally over.

The classic Pixies video is their cover of the Jesus & Mary Chain's "Head On," which was born out of the band's insistance that the only way they make a music was if they did it live. No lipsync, no playing along to a track, no nonsense. The band sets up, plays, and gets out.

So the idea was born: Twelve 16mm cameras arranged to capture the band from various distances with different focal points. The resulting footage was then displayed on a 4x3 grid, creating a sort of mix-and-match effect that has the band looking fantastically odd.


Sisqo "Thong Song" (Joseph Kahn, dir.) [1999]

Maybe because it's summer. Or, because director Joseph Kahn mentioned it on Twitter this week. Or, as my friend suggests, in honor of Sisqo's first new album in 12 years. Maybe it's so we can revisit the hot dog cam.

Here's why: Pop can be shameless. It can be absurd. Even dumb. Consider the song itself — my favorite lyric is, "she's got dumps like a truck" — and think about what kind of video we'd get today for it. Probably something NSFW. Yawn. (Although, it'd be amazing to see Eric Wareheim do something for this song)

NSFW wasn't an option in 1999, so you couldn't take the easy way out. But you also couldn't just ignore the song and make something generic. So, Kahn and crew created something that's impossible not to notice. It's clearly a booty video — proudly a booty video — but that also mocks man's fascination with the backside. It's over the top, but it's also lighthearted, comical and dare I say charming?