Tuesday, November 20, 2007

80's music videos, David Fincher and musical taste

FincherFanatic has a chronological list of all of the music videos that David Fincher has ever directed. His video for the Nine Inch Nails track "Only" is definitely worth checking out as well as videos for A Perfect Circle, The Rolling Stones, Iggy Pop and others. There are videos dating back to 1984 with varying degrees of the camp and naïveté of the early age of music videos. For good or ill, these videos stand as testament to how influential Fincher was to the burgeoning medium.

I still remember the first time that I saw Guns N' Roses on MTV. I thought that there was no one on the planet as cool as Axl Rose. My how tastes change. Don't get me wrong, I still turn up the radio and throw up the horns when "Paradise City" comes on it's just not exactly the zenith of my musical taste anymore. In this regard I think that one's taste in music is much like our palate. As children we have a very narrow range of what tastes good; anything outside of that range we will simply refuse to eat. As we grow older and (hopefully) are exposed to a wider variety of food, we learn that there are many different kinds of food that we enjoy.

In some cases it is foods that we've never tried before that give us that olfactory epiphany (like the first time I heard R.E.M.). Other times it is simply the dish that we never really liked but we give it a chance years later and come to find that we really appreciate it now (I never really liked The Beatles later work as a kid, now my tastes have matured so I can see the flavors that I was missing before). Changing taste is a natural part of human development and should be encouraged (parent's who tell their children "oh, you don't like that" when a child asks to try something are probably doing the child a disservice).

In talking to people about music I find that some people are confused at the extreme range of my personal taste. The implication that I get from some people is that it somehow detracts from one style of music (e.g. post-feminist culturally conscious riot grrrl rock a la Sleater-Kinney) that you are a fan of another, seemingly opposed style (e.g. beer guzzling, mullet-wearing rock a la Guns N' Roses). To me this assertion is as absurd as the notion that one cannot both enjoy a glass of lemonade on a hot summer day and a rich cheesecake as the culmination of a seven course gourmet meal.

Music is many things, and like any art it has a viral influence on the audience. The more that you enjoy music of many different styles the more that you will find styles of music that you never knew you liked. This is not to say that you will not find things that you don't like (I loathe pea soup and Creed songs in equal measure) but even having a bad meal helps you define the boundaries of your taste (just try to avoid the Insane Clown Posse platter, it's been under those heat lamps for a bit too long).

So take a minute to stroll down memory lane and enjoy the bittersweet taste of 80's popular music. You never know, it might remind you of your favorite forgotten video from the time of neon, leg warmers and big hair.

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