Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Warner Archive Grab Bag - THE CARS: HEARTBEAT CITY ""

Monday, May 19, 2014

Warner Archive Grab Bag - THE CARS: HEARTBEAT CITY

For me personally, The Cars are one of the greatest bands ever. They are right up there with The Beatles as far as the kind of remarkably infectious pop confections they were churning out in the late 1970s into the 1980s. It's remarkable to look back on their discography and consider how many fantastic and iconic songs they brought forth into the universe. I like them so much that I even have a ringtone on my phone that is just the opening guitar riff from their classic "Just What I Needed" (which I first heard on the soundtrack to one of my favorite films - 1979's OVER THE EDGE).

This is an interesting release from Warner Archive in that they've put out very few music related DVDs so far. URGH! A MUSIC WAR comes immediately to mind as it was among WAC's early output. URGH is a really great kind of concert film featuring the bands like .....
HEARTBEAT CITY is of course a different animal as it is just one band and is more or less a compilation of a bunch of their music videos loosely woven together. In this age of "WTF" movies, HEARTBEAT CITY will certainly be of interest to cinephiles and music fans alike. To see the kind of trippy, bizarro, impressionist visual narratives that were created for these songs is a truly unique experience. I remember back in my video store days, we used to have an entire section devoted to music related VHS tapes. Some were concerts and others were video compilations along these lines. I never rented any of them as I wasn't at the time interested in watching such things. Music videos were still quite obligatory back then and I had had my fill of them when I was younger. I mean, I realize that music videos have never gone away, but the sort of MTV behemoth has changed a lot these days and youtube is now the place where more folks see videos. Anyway, I was utterly fascinated and transfixed by this curio cavalcade of 80s psychedelics. It should be noted at least briefly, that a few of these videos are not completely family friendly one might say. There's some nudity inside of the first 5 mins, just FYI. So I'm not sure if these are special unrated cuts of the music videos or what, but I was momentarily surprised by that. Also, I had become unaccustomed to seeing the texture of an actual video recording from the 80s so that was a bit raw and disarming too. All in all it was interesting to see these visual interpretations of some of my favorite songs. Just to see Ric Ocasek (an odd looking dude) onscreen singing his songs was in and of itself strange for me. I mean, I knew what he looked like, but to see him in these surreal landscapes was memorable for sure. The only video I have any memory of was the one for. "Drive" which I recall having a red hot run on MTV around the time I was watching it the most. Even that video though had not been seen by me in at least 25 years though so my memories of it were foggy at best. All in all though, it's a fun way to spend 48 minutes or so I must say. As I said, I know music videos have never gone away, but the aesthetics of videos from this period are absolutely fascinating and I was glad to get a chance to see them. The connective tissue scenes with the bartender with a TV for a head were particularly appreciated as were all the "state of the art" transitions. My favorite video was the one for "You Might Think", which feels like something I saw in an episode of GET A LIFE at some point.
Also, as a sort of special feature almost, the last 10 mins or so is a vintage behind the scenes making of for the "Hello Again" music video, which was co-directed by Andy Warhol. It features interviews with Warhol, Ric Ocasek and others. P.S. - look for a very young Gina Gershon in the "Hello Again" video .

No comments: