Duran Duran can’t touch this

Posted: November 11, 2011 in music
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

In 2010, Special D and I went to the ’80s Video Dance Attack at Lola’s Room here in Portland. ’80s videos played until closing. At 9pm the average age in the crowd was probably in the high 40s, but by midnight that had dropped at least 20 years. The ’80s rule! Here are just a few of the lessons I learned at Lola’s:

1) David Bowie made better music than almost everyone else on MTV, but he couldn’t make a video to save his life. “Blue Jean” feels like Billy Idol’s “White Wedding” minus the motorcycle that crashes through the stained-glass window.

2) I’m certain that in 1984 I thought the video for A-ha’s “Take on Me,” in which a woman falls in love with a comic-book hero and then joins him in the book’s pages, was oh so futuristic. Now I see that it was surely inspired by Tron and that its only use for us today is documenting the haircuts.

3) Videos for A Flock of Seagulls document their haircuts and their appalling music.

4) MC Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This” hasn’t budged an inch out of the stupid zone. I want to hurt him.

5) You can’t beat Bananarama in an ’80s video fight.

Somebody has to say this and it might as well be me: It’s far past time for a critical reappraisal of the Bananarama oeuvre. Granted, this reappraisal will be a challenge. The majority of their songs suck. But the few non-suck songs are little pop jewels, such as “Robert De Niro’s Waiting,” “Shy Boy,” and “Cruel Summer.”

The real knockouts on a Saturday night, though, are “Venus” and “I Can’t Help It.” Not only did “Venus” go to #1 on every chart between Earth and Pluto, it completely replaced Shocking Blue’s original. This is the same trick The Clash pulled with “I Fought the Law.”

The video is a gas, complete with devils, vampires, boy toys, and goddesses. When they fired up this video at Lola’s we immediately experienced the “Dancing Queen” phenomenon, as every female present beamed straight onto the dance floor. The Go-Go’s, Depeche Mode, Tears for Fears, and New Order couldn’t match it. Bananarama said  “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” to Duran Duran, The Bangles, and Madonna.

Speaking of Madonna, while Bananarama’s “I Can’t Help It” didn’t turn in the same kind of chart performance as “Venus,” it’s plenty good enough to have made it onto one of Madonna’s records. The video isn’t much (not counting the 20 seconds in which the girls indulge themselves in a group milk bath), but the song is sufficiently infectious to carry you through.

We had a great time that night, and I totally enjoyed Bananarama. That’s really sayin’ something. Bop bop shoo-be-do-wa.

Comments
  1. Barb says:

    But you really haven’t lived until you’ve tasted Haircut One Hundred!

  2. Number 9 says:

    Was there really a band called A Flock of Seagulls?

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