The apocalypse will be televised: 6 visions of the future in music videos

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Billy Idol – “Dancing With Myself”

The scenario: Things definitely look bad here.  As this artist rendering shows us, some kind of calamity has hit an unidentified city – nuclear war?  Super-virus?  Zombie attack?  Global warming? A nonstop marathon of According to Jim?

Whatever it is, the locals are dressed in rags and giant hair.  And for some odd reason they’re drawn toward Billy Idol, who starts the video wrapped in satin.  Billy takes the freight elevator to the top of a building (hey, they’ve got electricity at least!) and starts dancing…with himself.  The zombified backup dancers, who haven’t heard about the elevator, use their ability to stick to walls and start climbing up the outside of the building.

The zombies make it to the top and join Billy in his dancing, but are undone by some sort of joint disorder that renders them goofy.  Billy won’t abide that kind of nonsense, and transfigures into some sort of demi-god, which blows the zombies off the building.

Undaunted, the zombies make their way back up again.  But this time, Billy decides that dancing with the uncoordinated undead is better than dancing with himself.  The apocalyptic dance party kicks into full gear, and we fade to black…

The lesson for us is: If you can bust a move you might just make it in the future.  If not, expect Billy Idol to transform into Christ and fling you over a building.

Queensrÿche – “Queen of the Reich”

The scenario: Thankfully my job is easy here, as this video starts with a prologue: “In the millennium after the 4th great war the world was in chaos.  An evil adventurer had discovered an ancient computer energized by a crystal so powerful that it enabled her to enslave the world and to become queen…’Queen of the Reich.’  Many tried to destroy the queen and failed only to be absorbed into her computer shrine.  Mankind’s last hope was the five freedom fighters…”

Alright, freedom fighers!  We’re saved!

Nope, we’re fucked.

So the band (minus lead singer Geoff Tate) falls – stumbles is more like it – into the evil queen’s clutches.  Decked out in her finest futuristic Lazer Tag outfit, she rewards them by turning them to stone and giving them the rest of the video off.

Elsewhere, a clone of the band rocks out in a split screen, proving that in the future our video editing techniques revert to public access cable-like quality.  Tate, on the way to free his bandmates, subdues a pair of Vogons and takes a lusty lady as his prize. In split screen.

But alas, it’s a trap!  The wench is a beast, and leads Tate to a showdown with the queen, who looks oddly similar to the woman from the “Looks That Kill” video.  Anyway, Tate deftly uses a piece of tin foil to deflect a laser blast (don’t ask), disabling the queen.  He heads to the computer and, suppressing the urge to view internet porn, frees the band from stony captivity.  They go back to rockin’.

But what of the evil queen?  Frozen, she is helpless as Tate and the boys unmask her and see…?

The lesson for us is: Damned if I know.


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