“Spin That Record Babe!” or The Intoxicating Spiral of The Pop Video

“Spin That Record Babe!” or The Intoxicating Spiral of The Pop Video

By Peter Kougias

It’s so nice that vinyl LPs are back in society’s mainstream. I love gazing at needle spinning on top of the record. If only MTV went back to their music video setlist, maybe the artistic approaches in music videos could be appreciated.

In certain music videos, the subject (typically the artist) spins stationary  while the background whooshes out of control. I like to call it the “Intoxicating Spiral” because it creates a spinning effect manifesting the artist’s point of view in our chaotic world.

An underdog, yet important figure in the Pop world, Tove Lo utilizes the effect in her latest video, “Cycles”. The video chronicles Lo in a one shot journey, spinning around a vacant club as neon lights flash and bounce off the surrounding mirrors.

Lo stays grounded with her lyrics by illustrating the cycle she endeavors. “How can I change it when I don't know when I'm in it?” she croons of the infinite anxiety in an age where “love” can be found at the swipe of a screen.

While the camera stabilizes on Lo and spins with her, Lo’s world rumbles around. She glides through the air proving her stability in a constant loop.

In awe of her vision, the mesmerizing technique reminded me of MTV’s origins.

“I Ran” by Flock of Seagulls is one of the earliest videos to utilize the technique. The band spins among a mirror prism, fogged with smoke. (Rock n roll, baby). With “tawny eyes”, two women “hypnotize” the band among the reflective monoliths. The mirrors entrap the band and the women.  They never get away.

Blaze to Rihanna’s modern classic We Found Love. A few lines repeatedly hummed over Calvin Harris’ thumping track, embodies a dance floor anthem. Yet underneath the technological glam, the song dives into the dark depths of love.

The video depicts a toxic relationship between Rihanna and her lover . They reign the world dancing through the streets. When they come down from their trip, the violence ensues. The lovers spin with the camera when the drugs kick in and whirlwind their lives. The fast cuts flash the highs and lows of a dangerous affair. The spins ride slow for their burned out romance leaning on each other, but run rampant when yelling and screaming.

“We Found Love” by Rihanna Ft. Calvin Harris

“We Found Love” by Rihanna Ft. Calvin Harris

Courtesy of Vevo.

Courtesy of Vevo.

They all ride the Carousel California, “you can get off any time, but you can never leave!”

Audio only, pop music’s repetitive structure implies the artist’s spiralling revolution, but the imaginative perspective varies from listeners. The “Intoxicating Spiral” amps up the lyrics with strokes on a video canvas.

In our age of resisting chaos, pop music playing on repeat helps us cope in our current society. Harmonies and synths keep us “dancing and singing and moving to the grooving.”

Keep it on.

Repeat.

Repeat.

Repeat.

Feature thumbnail courtesy of Gifer.


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