Monday, March 07, 2011

Music Video Monday: America

This week's Music Video selection is by the band America. For some strange reason, I have had an urge to listen to their song "You Can Do Magic", which is one of my favourite songs from childhood. I remember living in Capehart Housing, a giant series of neighbourhoods in Bellevue, Nebraska where military members lived with their families in government-owned houses. I attended Crook Elementary School, which was one of several in that large area. My parents bought a house, though, just north of Capehart and for some reason, I had to attend another elementary school, which required riding the bus and was further away (I could've biked from my parents house to my old elementary school). Even more strange, there was an elementary school (I believe it was called LeMay, where my future best friend Nicholas attended before we met two years later at Logan Fontanelle Jr. High) that was just down the hill from my housing area that I could have walked to school!

Anyhow, this song "You Can Do Magic" represents what I most love about early 80s pop music. It has a feel good melody (how can you not be filled with inspiration and optimism and love when you listen to this song?). It was released in 1982 and you can tell which songs were released during this year. Groups like Alan Parsons Project, Asia, and Toto all had hits in that year, with that breezy pop sound. I really wish that sound would return, or that someone would use the baseline melody of "You Can Do Magic" and create a new song (often known as "sampling"). I could listen to this song over and over, and in fact, I have. I love the lyrics, too. Its about a lady's ability to get everything she desires because of her magical ability to hypnotize men. One could take the message to also mean that she has the ability to manifest her desires. We can all do "magic."

The music video is reflective of the era as well, when MTV was just a year old. Many of the early videos just featured the band singing, which is refreshing compared to some of the overdone mini-movies that passes for music videos today. Its simple. Because of the superficiality of society, though, I often wonder if MTV helped to kill the careers of talented singers like Christopher Cross, who was kind of pudgy. We can be certain that MTV launched the career of Madonna and helped catapult Michael Jackson into the stratosphere. But what about those talented singers who aren't telegenic? It seems that we've gone far away from music. When I turn on the radio today, chances are highly likely that I won't hear a song that inspires me and makes me feel good. I may like the beat of a song, but there is something about the formula perfected in an 80s pop song that simply does not exist today.

Maybe this is a sign that I'm truly "over the hill." I'm still listening to 80s pop! But I can't help it. I love the way it makes me feel. I'm sure a lot of it has a nostalgia factor. That's what I love most about music: the memories attached to a certain song that we remember from a certain time in our lives. They are perfect time capsules for our memories. So remember: "you can do magic. You can have anything that you desire."

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