Sound Torture

ImageTake a moment and think about that one particular song. You know, the one that seems to be on the radio every time you turn it on. It gets stuck in your head all day long while you’re at work except you can only remember one or two lines from it, so after a few hours it starts to drive you completely bonkers. I know, I know you absolutely hate that song. I understand completely as my musical tastes tend to diverge from what the music industry thinks I want to hear. For some reason every song I hate seems to rocket to the top of the music charts, and it gets unlimited air time on the radio. There are times on the drive home when that particular song is on every radio station at the same time, and I can’t escape because I am stuck in traffic. 

You probably think that is the musical equivalent of hell, I can assure you it is not. I’ve been to hell and trust me you won’t like the music selection! I have worked in the movie / tv business for about 14 years now. The variety of jobs is rather large but there is one type of job that is hell on earth to me. Working on music videos is probably the worst thing you can experience. Just imagine the scenario that leads up to the production of a music video.

A bunch of high school drop outs sitting in their parents garage run out of weed, so faced with nothing better to do somebody picks up a guitar and starts plucking the strings. Everybody is wasted so of course they think he is some sort of guitar prodigy and the lyrics he begins to sing in a pathetic attempt at caucasian rapping are also seen as deep and brilliant. Inspired by his crowing like a wounded macaw, his friends join in with whatever makeshift instruments they can acquire. The ensuing rattle and pounding makes all the neighborhood dogs run for cover. It would seem like a logical conclusion that nobody would want to listen to this trash but for some reason the girls in the neighborhood discard any aspirations they had, and transform themselves into groupies. Not wanting to appear as uncool they quickly proclaim the band as the greatest musical endeavor since that Mozart dude rocked out in an Elton John costume. Word of mouth begins to spread about this new band and eventually the record companies catch wind of this. They send talent scouts to sign them, not because they are good but because they don’t want to lose out to another record label. At this point the record company must now promote the band, it’s important to categorize this symphony of sadness so the Itunes store knows what page to put the band on. Completely lacking any legitimate talent the record label simply describes them as a fusion of ska, rap, bluegrass, techno, and an ambulance siren. The next fateful step is the record company arranges for a music video to be produced.

This is the part of the story where I collided with the acoustic savagery that is a talentless band producing sounds which have been known to send a pod of beluga whales into a suicidal charge straight into a ships propeller. Bands like this are the reason that drunken karaoke became a socially acceptable form of musical expression. The average work day filming a music video is about 14-16 hours long. The entire time is spent filming these dancing chimpanzees as they over-emote to a song they are lip syncing. For me that meant listening to the the same song played over and over again constantly for hours on end. At the end of this long day of musical water boarding my brain was so badly beaten that you could convince me that Britney Spears had an angelic singing voice.

It’s been about 10 years since I last worked on a music video, and still to this day I want to curl up in a fetal position every time i hear the song ” Insane in the membrane.” 

Go ahead and listen to terrible songs on the radio and watch the video that goes with it but remember, there is a reason why the Geneva convention prohibits the use of Al Qaeda prisoners on music videos. It would just be too damn cruel and unusual of a punishment. I can assure you that the CIA  is secretly looking into this as an enhanced interrogation technique.




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