Being musically "omnivorous", for the most part, I've declared my adoration of the blatantly pop, (in addition to many other genres of music) many times over the timeline of my course as a blogger. I am far from being apologetic about my infatuation with "pop" and that's why I decided to go ahead and write my thoughts on how great pop songs are ruined by the inadequacy and inconsistency of their videos. Long post ahead!
To be honest, what pushed me to write this post was my reaction to Helena Paparizou's new video for "Baby It's Over". Paparizou has been, apparently, collaborating with the wrong people when it comes to her videos. Unlike her music collaborators (who are generally doing a very good job), the people who handle her image and videos (not just this one) are maybe on a different agenda, or have not been on the same page with the rest of the great stuff that has been going on with Helena Paparizou's act.
Instead of making a sleek video for "Baby It's Over" which in my opinion is one of her best tracks and has the potential of exploding into the rest of Europe as well, she (or her record label, or her manager, or I don't know who) went with something that looks like a bad experimental college student project. A project which would urge an instructor to ask the student to reconsider his college major, nonetheless.
I understand that we're going through times of severe frugality, but there's a huge gap between "low budget" and "low caliber".
I have noticed this being a very common thing in the Greek music realm, which in the past few years has managed to produce a fairly decent pop/dance/mainstream music scene, despite what the pseudo-connoisseurs of what is culturally acceptable and correct might think. A few great pop acts either emerged out of nowhere and proved to be worthy, or gradually and steadily established themselves as household names.
Mikro, for example, who are an awesome electro/house band have been producing phenomenal music since 1998. Their 2003 track "Gefyra", one of my favorite dance tracks and one of the best samples of their work, was an instant hit and turned them into a staple in the greek electro scene. However, the video that was made for "Gefyra" was somewhat below medio-crap and totally inconsistent with the quality of their music. Heck! Fan-created collage videos were far superior to the actual video.
Heading over to Italy; where I've had the opportunity of spending some time (and watching a lot of MTV Italia while I was there), I was surprised by how nicely some videos were done, but there too, mediocrity seems to be an unfortunate plague in the video industry. Paola & Chiara are an Italian pop duo, consisting of the two Iezzi sisters who "pen" and arrange the majority of their tracks. Their songs follow the classic pop song recipe, usually based on simple melodies which they "embroider" with strings, synths, piano and guitar elements.
Last summer, the Iezzi sisters released "Pioggia D'estate" (Summer Rain). Pioggia d'Estate is, in my opinion, their most mature, and most carefully constructed dance track to date. The track explores a more instrumentally ornate arrangement route, and stands more meticulous than their previous work. What went severely wrong later on with Pioggia D'estate though, was its video (embedded at the end of the post): Set in an american desert-like landscape, (featuring motorbikes, gunshots, half-naked showering men, the Iezzi sisters unconvincingly pretending to be motorbike mechanics and then everyone having a bonfire party outside a trailer, all complemented with some sloppily made CGI) is aesthetically, and literally, irrelevant to the emotion and aesthetic of the song.
There are so many brilliant ideas to be explored and so many great examples out there to get inspiration from. I'm not referring to Lady Gaga; she's great, she really is, but trying to pull something like that and not being her would just be ridiculous. But it wouldn't be bad to see more stuff like Kylie's "Get Outta My Way", or Robyn's "Indestructible" or anything that doesn't come from crapville!