Bringing the Text to Life
There is one station on your television set that has done more to revolutionize the way a whole generation perceives the world around them than probably any other phenomenon in postmodern culture.
Sorry, parents. It's not PBS or Discovery or Disney. It's that other one -- you know, MTV.
Suddenly, music has been transformed from something we listen to into something we watch. Okay, it's true that classical opera is also music we can watch. But, in opera the visual is a specific story with rigorously prescribed limits on interpretive freedom. The only true precursor to MTV's brand of free-association imaging-music might be Walt Disney's Fantasia. The Disney animators took a comparatively free hand translating musical ideas into frost fairies and dancing hippos.
But the music videos on MTV defy our old concepts of plot and story line by presenting a stockpile of images -- some obvious, others completely mysterious, in conjunction with the music. The audio and visual merge and...