TABLE OF CONTENTS

PRINT January 1991

UNDERTONE

Music Vids

WHY DO PEOPLE watch music videos, assuming they do? People I know watch them to pass the time, say, during the commercials of a network show, or while a movie vid rewinds. People I know don’t expect much from them, and they’re rarely surprised.

Very occasionally a roommate will shriek, “Terri! It’s Monie Love.” Or Queen Latifah or the Jungle Brothers. Someone whose music I like already. And I’ll come running, and we’ll watch intently for clues to personality, trying to flesh out our grasp of the music through knowledge of the artist: how they look, move, emote; whether they can dance. Is their image funny? Cute? Silly? Does it support or undermine what I like in their music? Probably like most music-vid watchers, I believe what I’m shown.

That means that if someone like Warrant uses a video to spew forth “she’s my cherry pie” with the usual connotations numbingly present, I swallow the bait

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the January 1991 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.