MTV…not so much!

Carlos Santana and Rob Thomas from the official music video for Smooth

As a quick follow-up to yesterday’s post on hot and cool media, I thought I’d share some of my opinions about music.

I belong firmly in the camp of people who believe that MTV ruined music.

Here’s why.

Music is about sound and hearing and what happens in the brain when that’s going on. Studies show that music taps the brain’s pleasure centers in a unique way, even triggering the release of dopamine for the anticipation of where the notes are heading. And it has long been surmised that there is a correlation between music and memory in a way that is similar to the sense of smell and its association with memories.

Video is also about sound, but it is a much ”hotter” medium in McLuhan’s terms. Because of the visual component, any imagination or personal connection that a particular song might evoke, is obliterated once the song is married to a video. The video becomes the vehicle for how the song is perceived, rather than your own emotional and mental state. The video replaces your imagination. This is a bum deal in my opinion.

I can’t hear Peaceful, Easy Feeling by the Eagles, or Lido Shuffle by Boz Scaggs without being transported to my thirteenth summer. Thank God there was no video, or I’d never be able to associate those songs with Long Beach and the sweet-ache of innocent summer love I had for Ruth Ellen H, and a bus trip to Atlanta to spend a week with my cousin, Rob, and the sultry and out-of-my-league Heidi H…but I hear the first notes of that pedal steel guitar, imagine just how the ”sparkling earrings lay against your skin so brown”, and I’m right back there.

I love the Santana song, Smooth. It is fantastic, has a great lyric, and what’s not to like about Carlos’ guitar, anyway?  But when I hear it, I see the video with Rob Thomas singing, and the sweaty chick in the window, and the Latinas dancing in the streets of Spanish Harlem. I love the tune, but because of the video, I have zero personal connection to it.

When it comes to music: 

”Give me your heart, make it real, or let’s forget about it.”

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