The original, sketch-less music video for a-ha's "Take on Me" (1984)

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The effect of the second video on the song’s success is undeniable, but the re-release of the song is also a decidedly better arrangement than this one.


The second version is definitely punchier and “poppier” I would say. While the video perhaps catapulted this to success, I find this song to be one of the rare overplayed songs that has continued to stand up, I don’t really get tired of this one. So I would say that it has transcended its dependence on the video, they don’t need to be experienced together anymore.


One of those songs that survives being made fun of:


Mocking early 1980’s videos is like shooting fish in a barrel (ladies doing gymnastics/ Why?). But Morten Harket was (and still is) pretty easy on the eye so it wasn’t obvious that a video focusing on him staring winsomely into the camera in a revealing top wouldn’t catch on… The animated video was very creative and definitely captured my eyeballs when it came out, but the song holds up.


Right? People had no idea what to do, so it either led to people making terrible and boring videos that looked like what everyone else was doing, or it gave people freedom to experiment and in some cases that really paid off. And people learned how to make good videos along the way. Depeche Mode is a great example. From the “Just Can’t Get Enough” video:

To all the great videos they did with Anton Corbjin:

New Order evolved, too, starting with Blue Monday, which was just them playing, and then Confusion:

Then you got to Perfect Kiss, which was directed by Jonathan Demme, but I still find kind of meh:

But True Faith is a god damn perfect video…:

OH! Also Erasure… I love the video for Chorus, as it’s just them doing what it says in the song - but it’s not a “great” video (I mean, why is Andy Bell wearing overalls, for one!):

Fingers and Thumbs, however, is just fantastic:

I think Talking Heads had it down from day one, tho - the Crosseyed and Painless video (despite the low budget feel) is an excellent video even today:


“I’m gonna kick some ass with my own pipe-wrench.”

:rofl: :sweat_smile: :joy:


The hair…the hair…oh my.


Though with the original video that is a great capture of 80’s hair and clothing styles.

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Then you had the really incomprehensible:

or telling a full story:

Since you’ve mentioned Talking Heads, I thought you were going to include (Nothing but) Flowers, the first (and one of the few) infographic music videos:

And let’s not forget Cake’s Short Skirt Long Jacket’s street poll music video:


I remember the speechless MTV VJ after the first (only?) time this aired.


Lou Reed was constantly trolling the rest of us… or at least he just didn’t give a fuck if we were all appreciative of his work or not.


That’s a good one, too. David Byrne has always been willing to experiment and try new things…

Also, am I the only one who doesn’t dig that Cake song… I just never got into it. Cool video, tho.

I never understood why they kept cutting to the keyboardist who isn’t ever doing anything when they do. Just a dour looking person standing still.

Wait. Wait wait wait wait wait.

The Oregon Times?! (4:47) That’s a sideways pie the face from across the decades… how the hell is Kate Bush writing science fiction set in Oregon?!

Also: Is… is that Donald Sutherland?

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It’s interesting that arrangement is virtually identical to the later version (it only diverges in the last few seconds), but the instrumentation is very different. Amazing what a difference a producer can make.

That said, the original version is still quite good (though I agree that the later version is much better). I guess it’s one of those songs that’s great no matter how you dress it up.

Because the person who made it probably had no idea what they were doing…

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The song is based on the memoirs of Wilhelm Reich’s son. You can see a copy of the book poking out of her pocket at the begining.


Interesting about the speechless VJ. According to Kevin Seal, he didn’t see the videos when filming his intro/outros. For a while, he supposedly referred to Duran Duran as a girl group because someone on the crew had pranked him by telling him this, and he had no idea otherwise.