Let the National Healing Begin

Because it’s appropriate to earlier conversations here, and serves a higher national purpose, a video for you:

I think that whoever we are — Democrat, Republican or independent, black or white, gay or straight, rich or poor, religious or atheist, white collar or blue collar — we can all come together and put aside our differences to agree on one simple thing: That this video totally fucking sucks.

And thus: We are one people again.

148 thoughts on “Let the National Healing Begin

  1. We can also all agree that Toto is massively superior to Journey.

    Only one of the two have ever won a Grammy.

  2. In spite of the fact you warned that the video totally fucking sucks, I still watched it. Something must be wrong with me.

  3. NO! Trashing Toto is going too too far.

    You are OFF my list of favorite authors.

    (for at least the next two minutes)

  4. ::steps in as mediator::

    Friends, friends. Surely we can all agree the video pushes into the deepest, darkest jungle of video suckitude. Very disappointing outing by Boz’s band.

    But, John, the song is kind of a warm and fuzzy earworm.

    (It’s actually one of my personal Top 10, for especially personal reasons.)

  5. John,

    There is a reason that video totally, fucking sucks. That song totally, fucking sucks. I used to love Toto, until that song came out. Now I hate Toto.

    Ok, I lied. I just watched Hold The Line, and I like Toto again…except for that fucking Africa song.

  6. I’ve always had a sneaking fondness for this song, despite the cheese factor–I like the melody and the harmonies in the chorus.

    Seeing the video for the first time, paying attention to the lyrics for the first time, and noticing the clunky chord change in the verse for the first time have put rather a dent in that sneaking fondness.

    Alas for lost innocence!

  7. I actually heard this song for the first time today at 1:30… an a cappella group sang it in a performance for family weekend. I didn’t understand it then, and I don’t now.

  8. Ah, “Africa,” directed by Steve Barron, one of the major hacks of 80′s music videos. I actually don’t think the song is all that bad, but MAN, does that video SUCK!

    I guess that puts me halfway there, John.

    I gotta’ be honest with you, however – if I had to watch either this or Steve Perry singing “Oh, Sherry!”, I’m all over the watching the Africa.

  9. (Lest I be misunderstood, the verse clunkiness isn’t the rhythmic irregularity–which works for me–but the chord change under “whispers of some quiet conversation” in the first line. DOES NOT GO.)

  10. Back when this was playing on the local Top 40 radio station, like, every 15 minutes, 24/7, our H.S. band leader decided it would be the perfect song for us to learn.

    The only problem was, we were the worst H.S. band in the state, and quite possibly in the nation, almost entirely due to the fact that said band leader had the job because A) she was the principal’s wife and B) she could play an instrument. Hell, kids came in from other high schools with halfway decent skills and got worse practicing with us.

    To prove my point, as I said this song had been on the air almost constantly for something like 3 months at this time. You couldn’t get away from it. Everyone had it earworming their brains out. Burly men could be heard unconsciously humming it as they laid brick or shined up their Harley. Babies burbled it before they could speak…

    …and yet, our band leader couldn’t even parse out the “duh-dumdum-da-dum-dum-dummmm” beat that’s the backbone to this piece of music well enough to hum it, let alone conduct it. And we completely abandoned the melodic keyboard solo in the middle (would have been played by the flutes in a marching band) after realizing it contained several cascades of 16th notes, which no one in our band was even close to being able to tackle, not even the seniors who’d been there for 4 years.

    And yet, she couldn’t be talked out of us playing it. I even went up front and tried to walk her through the beat three or four times (I mean, it was a hard-coded part of my brain by then) before I realized that I was basically doing the equivalent of trying to teach French to lichen.

    We sounded like a herd of wounded wildebeests, each honking out it’s death throws on its own time…except for that weird quiet section in the middle of the song that was filled by a seriously sedated percussion tattoo.

    *facepalm*

    God, I hated that school.

  11. I might lurk everyday, but that was just uncalled for. OMG, my eyes and ears!!! I am an old band nerd and the last thing I needed to hear was that darn video. I was just getting over my obsession with the Obama campaign. Why oh why, do I subject myself to this site with its muzac?

    I think I have just gone over the edge.

  12. You know, I was a young thing during the 80s, and I recall not a second of it. Zip, zam, gone from conscious memory. Clearly this to my overall benefit.

  13. Thank ghod for advances in polycarbonate lenses. I used to have a pair of coke bottle glasses myself; though, thankfully, not as bad as the ones on display here.

    I’m confused: had Toto been magically shrunk, somehow, off-camera, before the video started? There’s grad-student-guy singing the verses, while the librarian looks on and doesn’t kick his ass for singing in the library, and then suddenly the band is performing on a stack of books, presumably in the same library. (Or else why have them perform on a stack of books?) Did they wander in the path of grad-student-guy’s terrible Shrinking Ray?

    It does explain why their voices are so high-pitched, but I’m otherwise mystified.

  14. What is the story of this video? It kinda seems like all the dude wanted was this book called “Africa,” and maybe to zoom in and stare at Africa on a globe periodically. Meanwhile, a librarian gets killed because a savage threw a spear. Gonna take a lot to keep him away from that book, though! I bless the rains down in Africa! Seriously, what?

    Also, everyone in the band is rather extraordinarily unattractive.

  15. Why does he need an oil lamp to read when there are electric fans on the ceiling? How about a little consistent world building here, people?

  16. John, You can be such a shit sometimes.
    They were a studio band, how in the hell else were they suppose to preform if they didn’t do sucky 80′s videos?
    I mean come on, Ileane…..Devo, Dexy’s Midnight Runners,,,, What didn’t suck in the 80′s?????
    Dave

  17. Hey, I like Toto! I like this video. Besides, it’s pure yacht rock awesomeness. Way better than Journey, Air Supply and Night Ranger.

    Though Steve Perry sank into yacht rock land with his duet with Kenny Loggins.

  18. I quickly purged that awfulness by returning to the song I had playing which was Metallica’s “King Nothing” then followed up with Marilyn Manson’s “Burning Flag” to drive out any residual built up. Worked like a charm.

  19. This video is bad. But really, the eyewear is the worst bit.

    I entirely agree that the separate ways video is MUCH worse that this! It’s also genius. The invisible instruments. The playing the synths stuck to the wall (!). Steve Perry looking like he’s acting in a Very Serious Film. The completely out of synch lip-synching. The pleather skirt-clad ass wandering through the dock lands. Oh Journey, how I love you.

  20. *removes his spectacles and places them delicately to the side*

    *folds his finger across his keyboard in his most statesmanesque manner*

    John, I’m fond of you. As an intellectual, as a person, and if we ever found ourselves spending time together I’m sure I’d be fond of you as a friend. But I paused Pink Floyd to click your link. Final Cut. One of the Few.

    So when I teabag you having dipped my scrotum in green ink, to make sure there’s a lovely Rorschach pattern on your forehead as a monument, I’m sure you’ll understand.

    Nothing but love for you, man, nothin’ but love.

    But you understand.

  21. I am really impressed that the band members dressed in their finest to do the video. I think one guy was wearing sweatpants.

  22. This was an early 80′s video…1982. Everyone had terrible taste in glasses in those days. Toto never made great videos (Rosanna is pretty awesome).

    Plot is for weenies. Suck up the yacht rock awesomeness!

  23. Let’s see, which group do I have more of?

    Toto = 1 album
    Journey = 4 albums

    I guess you could count me as a Journeyite. Journyist? Journyman??

    However, in Toto’s defense, I have seen Journey videos far worse than the Toto video at the top of the thread. I mean, Steve Perry in wife beaters…. I think we need a law enacted that forbids men of all ages from wearing tank tops and wife beaters as long as they don’t have the muscles to warrant wearing them. Steve was a great rocker front man, but his arms… Sticks.

    Now, if you want videos (and music) so bad, they’re actually good, click here.

  24. After watching the Separate Ways video – all I can say is my goodness, those jeans were ill-advised.

    Speedos would have been about as subtle.

  25. Was there ever a video featuring one of those Steinberger headless/bodyless basses that didn’t suck?

    [hides all evidence of previous Steinberger ownership]

  26. Mensley: You may be onto something Supertramp has a video wth a Steinberger headless bass in it and the song and the video (Free As A Bird) sucks.

  27. I have to admit, the video is terrible, but this is one of my favorite songs ever. Yes, I feel shame.

  28. First thought: Why are they filming the video in a law library?

    And then it goes from cheesy to OH MY GOD SCARY BLACK MAN DESTROYING WESTERN CIVILIZATION AS REPRESENTED BY LEATHERBOUND BOOKS. Did people in the 1980s not see this as creepy?

  29. “Also, you’ll soon be receiving my restraining order.”

    My first! After so long. I shall cherich and rorschach it.

  30. Posting stuff like this only serves to drive us mad, too unstable, kicking in chairs and….

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

  31. I’d salute you, but with this green ink here, it’d get messy. How about I just gently sit down a while? That’d be … great. For everyone.

    Yeah.

  32. Because black and blue and red inks are available from every reasonably sane stationer. Whereas to acquire green ink you either have to be a dab hand at chemistry, or to know some teeny, tiny stationery shop which stocks things like left-handed Rotring nibs, 80-oz Rag Paper and can rebind your hardbacks for you.

    I wouldn’t want you to think I didn’t care, John.

  33. We also serve, who also stand and drip. It’s nice to know that once in a while someone takes notice. Or serves it.

  34. … this is quite possibly the worst video of the 1980s.

    Well, yeah. An 80′s-sexy woman and Journey on a dock somewhere, getting into each other’s shots but not really interacting more than that.

    But I’m sure there’s worse.

    How’s this for a worst video of the 90′s? And the 2000′s? And the 60′s?

    And, having posted all that, yeah, I hate fucking Toto.

    The Whatever, uniting the world through hatred since 1998.

  35. BTW, if any of you are fans of killer guitar playing, and don’t mind the twang, you need to run right out and pick up the new Brad Paisley, mostly-instrumental release. The tune “Cluster Pluck” is worth the price of admission alone for the dazzling fretwork.

  36. Eighties music, eighties videos, eighties fashion, and, yea verily, the eighties themselves were awesomeness made manifest. I take pity on your sad lives, which cause you to tear down all that which is great.

  37. I think I had glasses just like the drummer’s. Except in 1987 and with rhinestones. And I was 13, which is totally a valid excuse. I don’t know what his was.

    What I would like to know is why the bassist has his instrument pulled almost up to his armpits. It looks really uncomfortable to play like that.

  38. DaveHess @ 36 wrote:

    “I mean come on, Ileane…..Devo, Dexy’s Midnight Runners,,,, What didn’t suck in the 80’s?????”

    Uh. . . Off the top of my head

    Early U2
    Early R.E.M.
    Richard Thompson
    Dire Straits

    How much time to you have?

    All decade has music that sucks — usually 35 of the top 40 at any given time — but no decade is completely lacking good music

  39. I was going to mention something about poor, defenseless law books in the first vid, and something about what an awesome pvc keyboard stand was in the second vid, but the MarkHB-Scalzi sequence in this thread completely wiped it out. I…don’t know what to do anymore.

  40. Is it the fact that the video looks like it was shot in the workout room of a Holiday Inn in Boca Raton that makes it so sucky, John?

  41. I concur with Kelson, the Scalzi-MarkHB exchanges made me totally forget whatever is was we were talking about.

  42. I am extremely discomfited by the fact that I have always enjoyed using green ink exclusively. Why do I suddenly feel dirty?

  43. Actually, I quite liked it. I thought that some of the metaphysical imagery was really particularly effective. Interesting rhythmic devices too, which seemed to counterpoint the surrealism of the underlying metaphor. I was left with a profound and vivid insight into the song!

  44. Good song, cheesy video. But there were a LOT of cheesy videos in those days…

    Here’s a slightly better one by the same artists. Somewhat more sophisticated-sounding music, and an uncomplicated video: babes and musicians, what more do you need? (The song also has the same name as my ex-wife…)

  45. ..with that as your stated goal, why would you post one video and then immediately post a much worse video in the comments thread? It doesn’t add up.

    (The Toto’s pretty bad, but it doesn’t really suck in the same way that the Journey does.)

  46. Okay, so you’d rather never have heard that song in the first place. But having heard it, you can now appreciate this. Granted, it’s a bit early in the season to be passing this link around, but we need something to cleanse the palate.

  47. Have you ever noticed that a really bad video can actually diminish your affection for an otherwise fine song?

    And I totally had the same haircut as the bass player in the Toto video. It was immortalized in my high school yearbook. Sadly I have not actually tracked down and burned every copy yet. Yet.

  48. DavidK – I had never heard that song before.

    I just have one question … WTF?

    Besides the fact that there is absolutely no point to the video, the song is just a retelling of the Noah story “Yeah, they were the Israelites!”, with a line about being zombies.

    Again I ask, WTF?

  49. I went to the same high school as the Porcaros. Around the same time as one of them.
    David K #81 – I didn’t know there was a song with that title. Doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the Heinlein short story. It’s my favorite brain-twisting time paradox story evar.

  50. I agree that the video is terrible (as are most clips from the 80′s)… I still like the song though :p

  51. God, do you know that here in South Africa they still wheel that song out at every sports event, or every time something happens to stir up any flickering vestiges of patriotism the country still has.

    I mean… guys. Come on. Move on. Or at least find a song that is actually done by someone who is… you know… African.

  52. You should know that this post (and the following thread) just made me spend ~$20 at Amazon downloading a bunch of cheeseball 80s power pop songs.

    Thanks. Really.

  53. Stop picking on Toto! Leave Toto ALONE!!! *sobs*

    You people are just mean. Toto was the best EVER. I mean, he was no mere basket-riding Cairn Terrier. He escaped from the witch’s castle to warn Dorothy’s companions that…

    …what?

    Oh.

    Never mind.

  54. Paul 90: Or at least find a song that is actually done by someone who is… you know… African.

    How about this one? (I just found out that Josh Groban covered that song. This isn’t that version though, it’s the original by Bright Blue.) Incidentally, the guy who wrote that song works for the same company I do…in New Jersey. Lyrics here.

    And yeah, I’m sure you’ve heard it, Paul.

  55. Dammit. My guard was down. It got into my head. Now I’ve got to consult my chart of more earwormy, less horrible songs and begin the healing process.

  56. RE: Separate Ways – yeah, any video that begins with a group of guys PRETENDING to play their instruments displays suckage from the opening bell.

    As usual, Mr. Scalzi, you win. That IS the worst video of the 80′s.

    I can remember really hating some of the videos of the Scorpions and Loverboy, however.

  57. Yeah, I was wondering that myself. Or rather, I was thinking “Huh, I would have thought I’d have heard if an 80′s band had a transexual drummer.”

  58. Joining late just to say this is probably one of my favorite lyrics of any pop song, ever:

    “I know that I must do what’s right
    Sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus
    Above the Serengeti.”

    How did the band that wrote that ever settle with “Rosa-a-na-a-yeah!”?

  59. Mention of earworms here has me wondering: what is it when you read a recipe online and simply MUST make it? Tongueworm? Bellyworm? Inquiring minds want to know!

  60. I passionately love “Africa” by Toto. Love love love.

    But that video is so ridiculous. I had never seen it before. I laughed out loud in the part where you get a POV shot through through a crack in the books on the shelf and –AAH! It’s the bass player! How’d he get in there? Hee hee.

    What a great era. I am proud to have been a teenager in the 80s.

  61. So John, are you trying to give me band geek flashbacks?

    When I think of “Separate Ways,” what I really have in mind is this version:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hlJ7gSaG8s

    Call sign: bring hands together in front of your chest, then move them out and apart.

    “Africa” was a high school thing, and we probably did as well as can be expected with it (our flautists could rock the sixteenth notes). Still, it’s probably best for all concerned that there’s no recording of it.

  62. You’ve got to remember when this video came out–around 1982. If you think this is bad, watch a Culture Club video from the same era. Most of the early MTV videos look hokey today. Even Def Leppard looked like a bunch of dorks on MTV then.

    I don’t listen to Toto too much anymore, but I have to confess to a nostalgic attachment to some of their songs.

    Ditto for John’s favorite group, Journey. If you passed through adolescence during the Reagan years it was difficult to avoid an attachment to at least some of that music. I still listen to my Escape CD now and then. (I originally bought it in 1981 in 8-track!) Journey never fails to take me back.

  63. Great stuff!

    I love those videos!

    1981. Just out of college.

    JJ Jackson, Nina Blackwood, Alan Hunter, Mark Goodman, & the Preppie Punk Princess Martha Quinn.

    The Buggles.

    Thanks for the memories.

    The whole Toto video thesis of stripping away the dusty, shallow trappings of culture to unchain the librarian from her false, sterile environment and return her to the magic of vibrant life. Provocative.

    JJB

  64. It is videos like this that make me glad I am a child of the 70s rather than the 80s. Don’t get me wrong, there was some good music in the decade. But gawddayum, I am so glad I do not have any nostalgia at all for Toto. Or Journey. And don’t get me started on hair metal. Some day Jon Bon Jovi will pay for his sins.

    MarkHB – you are my Internets hero of the day.

  65. My sister told me, when I was a young and naive thing, that this song was about a guy who turned into a werewolf.

    I totally bought that.

  66. Yep, Toto sucks ass. But Jeff Porcaro was a great drummer. Pity it was in the service of such utter crap.

  67. Wick, you get a cookie for mentioning the awesomeness of Richard Thompson.

    “Africa” – definite earworm from my teen years. I don’t like it much, but find myself singing along. I can’t help it. Same with “Separate Ways.” However, the videos? Su-hu-uck. I mean, in “Separate Ways,” not only do the guys start out with air-banding, they do so BADLY. I mean, really badly.

    Unfortunately, I will always have a soft spot for “Oh Sherrie.” The overwrought Richard III opening pleases me. And I like the song. Plus in 1988 my then-boyfriend, myself and Steve Perry all waited together for cars to be brought around in Universal City. We didn’t speak, but it was a bonding moment. He’s actually kinda cute in person.

    *sigh*

  68. Come On People!

    John might write a decent story from time to time.

    He might even write an occasional funny blog. (or his assistant)

    But his comments on music show he is the Vogon in this world. Just utter crap. The next thing is we will have his poetry and we all know about Vogons and their poetry.

    Just ignore the threads on music. He just shows off his total misunderstanding of the human species.

  69. I was *just* explaining to Mr. Lolcab today how Separate Ways destroyed my love of Journey. Truly tragic, in the same way that Seven and the Ragged Tiger killed my DuranCrush.

    Really, some of these bands should have known better than to make themselves the stars of their videos. ZZTop had it right. Play the Deus Ex Machina and leave it at that.

  70. The less a band is seen in it’s video (excepting live show videos of course), the better.

    That video does indeed suck even though I kinda like the music.

  71. While I agree that the video is terrible in that way only early MTV videos can be, I love “Africa.”

    Plus, the whole soundtrack to the David Lynch Dune.

    Therefore, I am inclined to cut Toto some slack.

  72. I think this video started my lifelong love of libraries, giant books, and African (African-American?) librarians. And I had a Big Bushy Beard phase, but got that out of my system.

  73. Lucy S @ 117:
    Thank you. I now must go download every Smiths and Morrissey song ever from itunes. I absolutely forgot for a moment how much I utterly adore them.

  74. “I was *just* explaining to Mr. Lolcab today how Separate Ways destroyed my love of Journey. Truly tragic, in the same way that Seven and the Ragged Tiger killed my DuranCrush.”

    It’s like you’re in my head stealing my thoughts.

    While the video is indeed awful. it does hearken back to a simpler, more innocent time. A time when MTV actually played videos, rather than showing us the latest in teenage and twenty-something narcissism 24 hours a day.The early videos were generally bad, but there were a few gems, such as Iron Maiden’s Run to the Hills, TMBG’s Don’t Let’s Start and Wall of Voodoo’s Mexican Radio.

  75. Laugh now! Under the Obama administration, the federal government is going to require all middle school and high school kids to listen to Toto 50 hours a semester!

  76. Yes fellow comrades, with the ascension of the First Comrade the Socialist States of America will be formed. It will be a place in which we can all be ashamed together of our history of greatness. It will be a place where individual responsibility and individual freedom are ruthlessly squashed. The uniforms of patriots who faced deadly enemies in battle will be once again be targets for the spittle of those who will run in cowardly defeat from a winnable conflict. Pack your personal weapons for delivery to the state. An unarmed society is a docile one, and you know that Comrade Pelosi wants it that way. Take Spanish classes now! You know that those who come to our country are poor and therefore more righteous than those of us that are successful. We will never ask them to assimilate into the society or accept the values that created our shameful greatness. As the First Comrade grinds away initiative through relentless taxation of the evil successful and greedy entrepreneurial, he will build a permanent power base of people dependent on the state. No more rewarding those who take risks and stand out! Our First Comrade, along with the Most Esteemed Comrades Pelosi and Reid will see to it that we become a country of gray men alike in our ways and means (with the exception of our Esteemed Leaders).

    Note – this is not to say that the other team has done any better. We have been failed by both sides in their ruthless grasping for power. Screw healing. I’m spending my time and money pointing out just how far we have come from the concepts of individual responsibility, individual liberty, and limited government that fueled the former success and greatness our nation. Those are things that all of the major candidates seem to have completely forgotten about.

  77. Yes, yes, Another Comrade. But none of that has anything to do with this video.

    Please, let’s do try to keep things on topic, and also not make everything actually about politics.

  78. “Sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti”. No way could your average popstar/rocker/rapper of today sing those words without stuttering. It would have to be changed to, “Sure as a mountain rises above a big open space”.

  79. Back in the day, I could never quite understand the appeal of Beavis and Butthead. The early clips were crude, and the video “critiques” were the only decent part of the show.

    What turned me into a fan (and enshrined Mike Judge as a minor genius of the art form to me) was the day that B&B showed “Separate Ways”. At first they’re just dumb-struck at it’s suckitude, and then just rip Steve Perry to shreds (“Look at this guy–his whole head sucks!”).

    Of course, I may be biased. The name of my high school band was “Steve Perry Must Die”. To say I’m not a fan would be… a classic level of understatement.

  80. Dude. It is my first time here, and I pull up the site, and get this?

    I have to work today!

    There is not enough coffee in the world to get that taste out of my mouth!

    I buy your books and find them outstanding. Thanks! I was getting pretty tired that thos slackers Gibson and Steaphenson can’t write books as fast as I can read em. I am happy to have some catching up to do with your work.

    But first let me brush my teeth again.

    Trey

  81. I’m sorry, but if you think that’s the worst video, then you _clearly_ have not been debasing yourself enough.. I have two words for you:

    Dog Police.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0359hSerDeE

    (and yeah, Toto was in heavy rotation whilst I was dungeon-crawling with my fellow nerdlings… Soft spot city.. (and don’t even ask what we listened to whilst playing _Star Frontiers_…))

  82. OK. The video stinks, but the song is decent. I suspect that a typo prevented you from putting up the song and video you truly intended: “Dog Police.”

    James, I thank you from the bottom of that two-sizes-too-small circulatory organ beating irregularly in my chest. My college roommate and I will occasionally fondly reminisce over the early days of MTV, the days when music was actually part of their programming, the days of big hair, the days of $3 cases of beer. This gem of a song – Dog Police – brought much amusement to our tiny den of learning and imbibery, and it nearly brought tears to my eyes today.

    My day is now complete.

  83. erm, that’s not the video. That’s a clip from the weekly dance/pop music show Solid Gold.

    I don’t think anyone can defend Solid Gold. Although it did give us Arsenio Hall. Wait . . .

  84. I won’t even poison these kind presents with a link, but merely suggest that amongst the top video offenders lies:

    “The Safety Dance” by Men without Hats

    I would note that if you search YouTube, you will find someone saying it’s the best video ever… don’t believe them… and don’t watch… for your own safety…

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