You might have already figured out that I love to watch music videos. I usually watch music videos and then scour the net to find the directors behind it to see if they’ve directed other music videos that I like. It used to be really hard because a lot of music videos on YouTube don’t include the directors name. I finally found a website, Music Video Database or MVDB, that lists directors, artists, and technicians for a ton of music videos. And the database is growing daily. Check it out: mvdbase.com.
Saying that I love music videos is an understatement. Saying that I love seeing similarities in different music videos is even more of an understatement.
I. Love. That. Stuff.
With that being said... I had the song "You Should Be Mine (The Woo Woo Song)" by Jeffrey Osbourne stuck in my head today. It's a sweet R&B song from 1986 with a catchy chorus and melody. The music video is cute too:
So, I'm watching the music video and I'm saying to myself, "Huh. Guy with band... nice. Singing in an empty bar-type place... nice. Random young couple... nice. Bartender lady not paying attention to what's around her... Wait. I've seen this somewhere before."
It took me a little bit, but I finally remembered that the music video for "When It's Love" by Van Halen has the exact same premise as the music video for "You Should Be Mine." Check it out below:
Two totally different songs, two years apart, with two really similar music videos. I love it.
Last night, I was watching West Side Story with my mom. In the beginning of the movie, certain dance moves really put me in the mind of Michael Jackson, more specifically the Bad music video. So, knowing me, I double checked around the internet and I learned that MJ's "Bad" music video was in fact inspired by the "Cool" sequence in the movie and that the music video has many West Side Story nods.
Here's an example: Check out the Sharks' moves at 3:35 in the West Side Story Prologue and compare them to MJ and his gang's moves at 2:59 in the Bad music video. LOVE IT.
Seeing the two videos together ultimately led me down the YouTube wormhole (insert awkward laugh emoji) and I found another video that had split screen clips of Michael Jackson dancing compared to some of his influences, like James Brown and Fred Astaire. While watching the video, I realized that I have never thought of Michael Jackson as being influenced by anyone. I've only thought of him as a consummate artist. Michael Jackson has always been amazingly talented, skilled and disciplined... but he got his skills from somewhere.
This realization made me think of a quote from one of my favorite books, "Steal Like An Artist" by Austin Kleon. The quote is as follows: "You are, in fact, a mashup of what you choose to let into your life. You are the sum of your influences."
As an artist, I'm continuously learning that it's up to me find good art, listen to good music, and read books that are interesting to me. Good things in, good things out. The combination of all the things that I take in somehow makes my art my art. And you know what? I find that to be pretty freeing.