In a Facebook discussion about some high school hijinks – yes, I did just use the word “hijinks”, thank you very much – one of my old friends mentioned the song “Open Arms”. She dropped the title like a bomb, knowing its power to conjure up dark, traumatic memories. When I was 17-years-old I went to church camp and shared a cabin with two girls from my church youth group. One of them was obsessed with the song “Open Arms” by Journey. No, I mean it. She was obsessed. She had made a cassette tape that was nothing but “Open Arms” recorded over and over and over….”Kelly” claimed that she couldn’t sleep without listening to “Open Arms” and so we listened to it played again and again each night. As I recall, “Kelly” couldn’t really do anything without listening to “Open Arms”. By the end of camp I hated that song with a white hot passion that hasn’t subsided over the years.
Oh, the memories.
I don’t hate “Journey” songs in general, though. Despite the overkill to which is has been subjected since being featured on “Glee”, I still think “Don’t Stop Believing” is a great song. “Any Way You Want It”, “Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin”, “Faithfully” – all good. But there’s another reason to love Journey.
Music videos and I came of age together. MTV debuted in August of 1981, when I was 16. I still remember those super cool early promos for the station. Poor kids today; they have no idea what they’re missing. Not only did we have MTV when it was almost all music videos, all the time, but even when we didn’t have it (as on my college campus), on the weekends we could glut ourselves on hours of Night Tracks. There is nothing to stir up nostalgia for my youth like seeing those ’80s videos. Some of them I still think were well designed. Others are a joy to watch because they are so profoundly bad. And if we are talking joyfully bad videos, it is very, very hard to top this:
I’d love to do a shot-by-shot study of this video in a class setting, because it is so chock full of video techniques that now seem like parody. Believe it or not, youngsters, they weren’t played for laughs back in the day. If you don’t have the patience to watch the whole thing (what’s wrong with you?), at least behold the awesomeness that starts at about 2:30.
How can you not love the band in that video? There’s something so charmingly naive about their performance, at least when viewed in the cold light of the 21st century.
I still hate “Open Arms”, though.