Thursday, August 27, 2009
Kool & The Gang Made Me Cry
Don't ask me how I ended up watching them on YouTube yesterday, but for about a half hour I was in Kool & The Gang bliss, listening to songs I haven't heard in years: "Get Down On It", "Misled", "Too Hot", "Fresh", etc. I passed on "Celebration" since unlike the others, that one does still get good play on the oldies radio stations. There were, however, two videos that I wholeheartedly admit made me tear up a bit: "Joanna" and "Cherish." There is such beauty in both of these videos which I could not appreciate the first time I viewed them as a pre-teen, and I swear I'm not being sarcastic.
First of all, "Joanna." If you heard this song for the first time, you might think it's a simple love song to a girl named Joanna. And it is - except in the video, Joanna is a former Cotton Club singer who's now running a vintage diner. The band comes in and starts serenading her, and Joanna flashes back to when she was younger, in a fantasy that shows her on a date with then lead singer James "J.T." Taylor. I don't know why it tugged at my heartstrings so much, but it's just a very sweet video:
And secondly, "Cherish." There's a lot of stereotypical romantic elements in this video - lots of white clothing, seagulls, a little boy building a sand castle, someone riding a white horse, a girl who's really a mermaid - it all sounds very cheesy, doesn't it? And yet it isn't to me. It's one of the most romantic songs of the 80s, and I have to say I was moved to see images of family and friends sharing a meal, love, and laughter together.
These clips are just pure class, and an example of the creativity that went into the 80s medium known as the music video. They just don't write music or make videos like they used to.