Remember watching MTV and VH1 for hours on end waiting for the three minutes of bliss when you could see the music video you loved? The iTunes generation and beyond may never appreciate this pastime. And I can’t blame them. Hours of watching TRL and Morning Buzz could be maddening. You might come across a song you’ve never heard before but in return you’d have the lyrics to “The Thong Song” seared into your memory for all eternity.
The downside of living in an era of instant gratification and music video channels that refuse to play music videos is that we don’t experience the visual impact of pop music anymore. With the release of the “Rocky Ground” music video the other week, I realized that I couldn’t recall that many Bruce Springsteen music videos that vividly. Of course there are the iconic “Dancing in the Dark” and “I’m on Fire” videos but neither were in heavy rotation when I was doing the majority of my music video watching. The only music video I remember seeing on heavy rotation was “The Rising” – and that was a concert video from the MTV Music Video Awards. There was also the “Secret Garden” music video which I saw a few times but more prevalent than that video was the radio version of the song that Z100 used to play with dialogue from Jerry Maguire interspersed through the instrumental sections.
Should an artist with Bruce’s popularity even bother making music videos anymore? Is anyone discovering his music through this format? I’m not certain, but sparked by “Rocky Ground” I started looking through his VEVO channel on YouTube and found this beautiful video for “Girls in their Summer Clothes.” This video could have easily been a parade of bikini-clad supermodels to appeal to teenage boys but instead it’s something much more emotional and lyrical, with girls young and old accompanied by heartfelt imagery. While most fans would have been aware of this song already, seeing the visuals does add another layer for interpretation. In this case, it reiterates the melancholy of the lyrics and suggests that ‘summer clothes’ could be more of an emotional state than a physical appearance.