Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Be Kind

I guess we can blame Stranger Things for this—well, what I’m talking about below plus a hundred thousand memes about Barb.

Back in July, I wrote here about how much I liked Stranger Things because it re-created a lot of the entertainment I liked so much when I was a kid, save for one key thing. The show’s reconstituted Spielbergian wonder looked too good. It was missing the TV static and VHS distortion that came with all that culture, at least for me way back when. See, I grew up beyond city limits, beyond where the cable TV cable could reach, and as a result, most of what I watched came to me hissing and fuzzy, but not in the cat way. As an experiment, I tried to add these elements back in, and for reasons I can’t explain, I kept doing it—for most of the summer, in fact. You might have noticed clips popping up here and there on my social media.

The result is what you see below, a project I’m just calling “Rewind.” It’s kind of a music mix, kind of a montage, kind of a string of music video-like things but punctuated with vintage commercials. I think I was trying to create a little pocket universe of culture from the ’80s and thereabouts. It never all quite existed this way, but it’s fun to pretend it did.

Or at least I thought so. Maybe you will think so too.

Yeah, I realize it’s two hours long. That was kind of the point, to make something that you could just lose yourself in—maybe keep on in the background and listen to and periodically check into and see something colorful and weirdly familiar, even if you’d ever actually seen it before. Or you could just pick a random point on the timeline and click and not know what nostalgic thing you’d end up seeing.

Again, I don't know why I felt compelled to make it, but I hope at the very least that you walk away with a song you like or some weird bit of pop culture that had somehow bypassed you before—maybe even see how some of the pairings of video chunks and old songs weren’t entirely random.

If nothing else, I hope the image of Grace Jones, eyes glowing with a demonic energy as she tries to sell you wine coolers, is forever burned into your memory. You’re welcome in advance!

Hit the jump to see a list of video and audio sources, plus most of the music video-like clips posted solo.

In order:
  1. Vintage distribution company logos (original)
  2. Friday Night Videos intro, 1985 (original)
  3. Video for “I Want It To Be Real” by John Rocca, 1984 (original)
  4. Commercial for Super Mario Bros. 2, 1988 (original)
  5. “Living on Video” by Trans X, 1983 (original) + playthrough of Outrun (original)
  6. Commercial for Shasta, 1983 (original)
  7. “Pretty Face” by Styloo (original) + Sym-Bionic Titan episode “Tashy 497,” 2010 (original)
  8. Commercial for Mentos, 1994 (original)
  9. “You Are Young,” by C.C. Catch, 1986 (original)
  10. Commercial for Ironsword: Wizards and Warriors II and Double Dragon II, 1990 (original)
  11. “Cara Mia,” by Annie, 2015 (original) + the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe episodes “Fisto’s Forest,”  “To Save Skeletor,”  and “The Rarest Gift of All”
  12. Commercial for Commerce Union Bank, 1973 (original — and please click this, because it’s from a pre-KCET Huell Howser show which is a spectacle in its own right)
  13. Instrumental version of “Be My Lover Now,” by Giorgio Moroder and Philip Oakey (original) + vintage footage of Los Angeles in the 1980s (original)
  14. Commercial for Magnavox Odyssey, undated but maybe from 1978 (original)
  15. Opening animation from Daicon IV, 1983 (original — the song is “Twilight” by Electric Light Orchestra, but that was original to the clip)
  16. Commercial for Levi’s 501 jeans, 1985? (original)
  17. “Happy Station,” by Fun Fun, 1984 (original) + playthrough of Ai Cho Aniki (original)
  18. Commercial for Fruitopia, 1994 (original)
  19. “Tonight! Crazy Night,” by Dorine Hollier, 1984 (original)
  20. Commercial for Pure Agree shampoo, 1980-something (not the original, still trying to find that file, but you get the point)
  21. “Disco Band,” by Scotch (original) + underwater scene from Dario Argento’s Inferno (original)
  22. Commercial for The Terminator, 1984 (original)
  23. Intro to Chopping Mall, 1986 (original)
  24. Commercial for Whatchamacallit candy bar, 1990-something (original)
  25. “Exit,” by Tangerine Dream (original) + the video for “Ooh Shooby Doo Doo Lang,” by Aneka, 1982 (original)
  26. Commercial for Vanderbilt perfume, 1989 (original)
  27. Video for “Madam Butterfly,” by Malcolm McLaren, 1984 (original)
  28. Commercial for Sea Breeze with Elle McPherson, 1986 (original)
  29. “Eyes” by Clio (original) + the intro to Beverly Hills Teens (original) + episodes from the show that you can watch here, here, here, here and here
  30. Commercial for Arrid Extra Dry with Brooke Shields, 1985 (original)
  31. “Numbers” by Kraftwerk, 1981 (original) as seen on The New Dance Show, 1981? (original)
  32. Commercial for Jill doll with Jenny Lewis, 1987 (original)
  33. “Boy” by Book of Love, 1986 (original) + clips from playthroughs of Fatal Fury 2 (original), Art of Fighting 2 (original), Samurai Shodown (original), World Heroes 2 (original and another original), Samurai Shodown II (original and another original), King of Fighters ’96 (original), Real Bout Fatal Fury (original) and Aggressors of Dark Kombat (original)
  34. Commercial for Sun Valley wine coolers with Grace Jones, 1987 (original)
  35. “Diamond” by Via Verdi, 1986 (original) + the fashion show segment from ABC’s Night of 100 Stars, 1982 (original)
  36. Commercial for Chunky candy bar, 1980-something (original)
  37. Music video for “Love Resurrection” by Alison Moyet, 1984 (original)
  38. Commercial for Dubonnet with Pia Zadora, 1980-something (original)
  39. “My Little Japanese Boy” by Baby’s Gang, 1986 (original) + clips from Saint Seiya Knights of the Zodiac that you can see here, here, herehere and here
  40. Commercial for the TV movie The Nightman, 1992 (original)
  41. “Follow Me” by Giusy Dej, 1980-something (original) + the disco sequence from the Bollywood Nightmare on Elm Street remake Mahakaal, 1993 (original but also do please see the rest of this bizarre gem here)
  42. Commercial for Fruitopia featuring music by Kate Bush, 1994 (original)
  43. “Dance It Down” by The Pool, 1983 (original) + a playthrough of Final Fight (original)
  44. “A.H.B.” by Survive, 2016 (original) + the disco sequence from Prom Night, 1980 (original)
  45. “Puppet Strings” P.S.A. by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, 1995 (original)
  46. “I Want to Fly Away” by Blue Russell, 1984 (original) + clips from The Nutcracker Fantasy, 1979 (non-destroyed version of this clip and also an extended look at the Ragman, should you be interested)
  47. “Stickerbush Symphony” from Donkey Kong Country 2, 1995 (original) + the closing credits to Soapdish, 1991 (original)
And in case you’re too TL;DR for the whole thing, here are most of the individual videos:

Outrun + Trans X

Fisto + “Cara Mia”

Cho Aniki + “Happy Station”

Inferno + “Disco Band”

“Tonight! Crazy Night” by Dorine Hollier

The opening credits to Chopping Mall

Aneka + Tangerine Dream

“Madam Butterfly” by Malcolm McLaren

Kraftwerk on The New Dance Show

Beverly Hills Teens + Clio

Neo Geo fighters + Book of Love

Night of 100 Stars + Via Verdi

Mahakaal + Giusy Dej

Final Fight + “Dance It Down”

Saint Seiya + Baby’s Gang

Prom Night + Survive

The Nutcracker Suite + Blue Russell

And finally here are all the commercials, in case that’s your thing