Wednesday, November 05, 2008

and now for something completely different...

Because it seems like all I ever get annoyed with is comics, I thought I should show you something else that just boils my blood.

I really dislike remakes of pop songs. Covers, whatever you want to call them. It is rare that a given song is better by a new guy than the first guy, albiet there are some exceptions (i.e. Hendrix's "All Along the Watchtower" which even Dylan agrees is better than his version).

So, here we go, you can watch these videos back to back. "Land of Confusion", Above is the recent remake by "Disturbed" and below, the original by Genesis.

Ok, done? Good.

Now, the performance of the song itself by Disturbed isn't bad per se, but it ain't great. However, most of my umbrage is with the comparison between the videos (or lack thereof).

OK, first point: yes, both videos are very dated and of their times (i.e. Blair's appearance in Disturbed's version, and Reagan in the original). So we have that one basic frame of reference. However, going beyond that, it all falls apart.

Yes, the puppetry in the original is bad. It's supposed to be. Seriously, that video is has the qualities of a fever dream; puppet soldiers marching and ripping puppet heads out of a foggy swamp? That is premium 100% Nightmare Fuel right there. Whereas the animation for Disturbed's video is meant to be "realistic" in it's depiction of fascist stormtroopers gunning down people in the streets. How literal; how lame.

However, what really sets the videos appart are tone and message: In the original, well, Genesis gives the offer of hope; I mean, they don't do anything to CHANGE anything because they don't have the power except to communicate and hopefully give us a fighting chance. The problems as presented in that video are global; huge in scope and not limited to any small selection of people: a huge number of forces and countries and cultural concepts like racism and class are touched on, and Reagan is thoroughly mocked for a simplistic approach (dressing like Superman, or a cowboy) for a world of very complex problems. In Disturbed's video, Deathface Superman (whatever the hell he's supposed to be: the mascot of the band? whatever) leads a people's revolution to defeat the fascist stormtroopers, Bush, Blair, the other "warmongers" and the giant fat greed before Deathface takes off into space to bring another global socialist revolution to some aliens. Yeah, when you're being more simplistic than the 80s, I think something's gone wrong.

So, there you have it. Thoughts?

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