Saturday, April 23, 2011

I Just Wanna Watch The Girls Goin' By!

I am aware that the ideal time for a post about Y&T's 1985 music video for "Summertime Girls" would have been, well, in the summer time. However with the clear end of a historically terrible winter season and the, at least sporadic, return of warm weather I felt compelled to jump the gun a little.

Y&T is one of the more hard luck bands of the 80s hair metal genre. They appeared to be as musically talented and wrote songs that were as catchy as any one of their popular contemporaries, but they never quite reached a true breakthrough level of success (not even Great White or Dokken levels). "Summertime Girls" perfectly demonstrates this star crossed lack of karma. The song and accompanying music video, released during a period of mainstream hair metal domination, could have been any more commercial and pop friendly and nailed all the right notes for successful genre hit. The song is a giddy mix of crunching guitars, soaring metal vocals, good time lyrics, and anthemic choruses covered with a delicious layer of synths. As for the music video itself, it crams basically every rock video trope and cliche that the young medium had developed thus far from Huey Lewis style wackiness to Van Halen inspired cheekiness, placed in front of a sunny So Cal beach backdrop with plenty of chicks in bikinis on roller blades. It was pure naked ambition, the act of a band doing everything in their power to get a breakthrough pop hit. It eventually topped out at #55 on the Hot 100, their highest charting single to date.

Although "Summertime Girls" never really got the popularity and lasting recognition that it deserved, I think the least I can do, over 25 years after the fact, on my obscure little internet blog is to give it a proper in-depth "live blog" analysis in all its four minute glory:

0:00: A sly commentary on the widening income gap and general economic disparity under the Reagan administration's social and economic policies. An interesting way to start a music video indeed.

0:07: I think the "No Accordion Solos" sign was the band's attempt at goading Weird Al Yankovic into doing a parody of their song and thus giving them the extra exposure. I would have gone with "Summertime Grills".

0:10: "Heh heh, just like Oscar the Grouch."

0:14: I guess this is a not-so-subtle metaphor about how the band "rocks"? Also, it kind of makes it look like they were either having sex or hotboxing (or doing both) in that mysterious seaside cave.

0:28: Shooter Gavin's friend from "Happy Gilmore" should have the calibration checked on his "heavy metal detector", it seems to be also picking up "radio friendly pop metal" and "hair metal" as well.

0:33: Also, that's not how metal detectors work.

0:45: Ladies and gentlemen, Y&T!

0:54: And here come the babes. Like most fashions from the 80s I find those high V bikini bottoms to be powerfully unsexy despite the fact that they're more revealing than classic bottoms. I'd think'd almost prefer a woman in a one piece over those things.

1:06: Here comes the wacky cast of characters. The lady in the "Choose Me" shirt seems like an obvious reference to Wham's "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" but is the lifeguard a more obscure reference to Blotto's "I Wanna Be A Lifeguard"?

1:20: Four surly looking leather bound, chain wearing, biker chicks/dominatrices who are quite improperly dressed for the beach; do I sense a romantic story arch?

1:25: A little initial meet-cute action between the leather chicks and the boys. Also notice the incredibly sloppy acting of the out of place fat member of the band (if SNL ever decides to do an esoteric parody of this video you better believe you'll be seeing Bobby Moynihan in that yellow tank top).

1:39: Of course since those leather chicks are so beyond tough they have to set up shop in the junkyard portion of the beach adjacent to the nearby prison. Badasses!

1:45: He looks like he just completed a shift at Hooters.

1:48: In contrast to all those "good girls" who use sun screen and sun block to protect themselves the leather chicks use highly toxic and ultimately ineffective motor oil. Badasses!

1:56: I wonder why they picked the fat guy to be eating from the lady's headdress instead of romancing mermaids or stealing from nerds?

2:00: You've got to get that that band fake playing their instruments shot in somewhere.

2:08: Chicks in bikinis on roller skates with boomboxes, the triple crown of 80s music videos! You can also read the succession of shots of chicks with bigger boom boxes as the band's commentary on the absurdity of the then increasingly dangerous and costly nuclear and military arms race between the US and the Soviet Union.

2:22: Yes, even the leather chicks are getting in on the rolling action. They look like an extremely skanky yet highly successful roller derby team. Badasses!

2:36: "Children, that was our only ball. There'll be no team this year."

3:02: You know what will really impress that girl? If I blew up the game stand with a bazooka. Good thing there's a fully loaded one right here on top of that box of dynamite!

3:05: There's no indication that he actually shot his bazooka round into the clown's mouth, but I'm pretty sure he at least killed the game operator.

3:22: After a long day of fun and excitement at the beach there's nothing like walking off into the golden sunset while being serenaded by Y&T.

3:25: Gina Gershon?

3:29: That was certainly uncalled for. That robot's just being a dick.

3:40: Just when you thought that our lovelorn quartet were just going to sadly return to their cold, lonely garbage cans and abandoned caves, we get the crowd pleasing Hollywood ending with the once cold hearted leather chicks coming over and (instead of murdering them) giving them a rare smile, taking each of them by the hand and romantically walking off into the sunset. Badasses!


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  2. I don't like this video only because its very anti-clown

    Also, big guys need love (and FOOD) too, and Mike Vanderhule is no exception.

  3. I don't any music video (or basically any work of art) has ever lost points in the eyes of critics for being anti-clown.

    Also it appears to be original drummer Leonard Haze in the video, dude (although they both look oddly similar).