Friday, August 2, 2013

Awesome 80's Video #2: "I Can't Hold Back" by Survivor

OK, so not only does this video, the second in our series of Awesome 80's videos,  have perhaps the single greatest collective cockblock ever perpetrated on a lead singer by his scrub bandmates, it also offers, I posit, one of the greatest freeze frames in the history of the medium.

Hyperbole? No, of course not. How could there ever be hyperbole when the band in question is…SURVIVOR.

That’s right, 80s superstars Survivor are up with not Eye of the Tiger but “I Can’t Hold Back,” which was a pretty big hit for them and is still remembered today. It’s not an obscure song, but I don’t believe this great video is remembered as it should be.

It starts with the band inside a bookstore (sadly, in another 5 years, this will be the most dated aspect of the video) acting like jackasses at the magazine rack, with a couple of the guys leering at a centerfold. I thought at first the band was looking at a centerfold of an electric guitar, which would be a good gag, but after multiple viewings I’m pretty sure I see the telltale sign of a “Data Sheet” on the back of it, an indication that it is indeed a Playboy centerfold…or so I’m told. Ahem.

The lead singer goes over and picks out a big picture book of trains, possibly because, well, you know what trains going through tunnels represent, but just as possibly because he like when the big choo choo go choo choo! Right about now he sees his object of desire, a gorgeous blonde with a quintessential Totally 80s look (and who is damned familiar—if anyone knows who she is, let me know) who we see coming down a ladder. Ladies and gents, it’s our first butt shot of the video, and it will not be the last. It confirms that while the woman is smart enough to be looking at a book (OK, it’s a book about Elvis, but that still counts), the lead singer of Survivor and the video’s director are most interested in other assets.

(Incidentally, Is it standard operating procedure to let customers scale ladders to get books off the top shelves? Or are certain customers encouraged to go up those ladders so rock bands who happen to be in the store can look up at them and watch them come down?)

Lead Singer makes eye contact with her and starts SMOLDERING. At some point the band starts making fun of him, flashing “OK” signs and giggling like they’re in third grade and, hey, look, he’s talking to A GIRL.

“How old are you, Beavis?”

The guy that stands out, if only because he’s tall and has distinctive specs, is the Ray Manzarek wanna-be. In the performance clips, we see him playing his keyboards and gazing admiringly at the singer, but in these scenes, he seems determined to wedge the singer and the girl apart. I mean, it’s almost as if he doesn’t want him to—ohhhh, wait, I think I just figured out what’s going on here.

Anyway, the Totally 80s babe returns a smoldering gaze and transforms into an 80s video babe, wearing a skirt now and strutting like she means business, as fog makes its inevitable appearance and the band is playing on stage. Again, the message is clear: Yeah, it’s nice the girl is in the bookstore and all, but wouldn’t it be great if she were a GROUPIE? YEAH!

The singer (I really should have looked up his name, huh?) is wearing a way-too-tight reddish ensemble that he probably stopped being able to fit into about 5 minutes after he gave up cocaine. It’s touch and go as it is.

Back in the bookstore, the singer is still trying to give sexy looks, and I think he accidentally gives a choo choo a sexy look because we are transported to a subway scene, with the Totally 80s babe now in leather, the singer wearing a ridiculous but still cool tie, and the band members in various guises as passengers who watch the two leads meet and make out. One dude is dressed as a nun, and Ray Manzarek Wannbe is an uptight businessman.

The train fantasy plays out in PG-rated fashion, and we get back to the bookstore, where our couple is making good eye contact when—what the hell—the band literally drags the singer away. It’s like, “Hey, he’s doing pretty well with her. Let’s get him out of here!” I would expect the singer to say, “Hey, losers, you’d better shut up unless you want to have to scour the Near East for another guy to sing Eye of the Tiger,” but he meekly accepts his fate until they get outside and the band turns the corner. So the singer slinks back and heads back towards the babe, who is going away in the other direction (cue more butt shots), only it’s too late and she gets on…o cruel fate…a train as he stands helplessly on the platform. She gets the train, he gets the shaft, and we get the best freeze frame ever.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The gal in the video looks amazingly close to Steve Perry's - Oh Sherrie.