Bob Dylan - Interlude Interactive Video


The Lip-Synching Interactive Video

True, video killed the radio star—but then it killed MTV, too. Yet music video lives bigtime on the Internet, and especially in the press releases I get daily from publicists wanting my time.

Now I loved music videos at the beginning, but not much longer. I was one of the first music video critics, at Danny Fields’ Rock Video magazine in the early 1980s, and reviewed them elsewhere; indeed, I got fired from one publication for slagging one too many.

So here are the two I looked at yesterday.

Actually, the first one was just a trailer. That’s right, a music video trailer. I got a press release for a forthcoming clip by New York “dark cabaret rock trio”—whatever that means—Emily Danger. It linked to a 45-second bit where a shirtless white trash-looking guy is sitting there on a rocking chair, slowly rocking back and forth while staring at a wood burning stove in a corner, empty beer bottles and cans atop it and surrounding him on the floor. A rifle, a fishing pole, and an axe are resting against the wall, and his face is masked by a deer head that he presumably removed from its original owner.

Bob DylanOh, yeah. There’s a girl singing something about dropping an anchor on our lives and drifting farther. Whatever that means. Maybe it’s “a true work of art that abstractly explores the very dynamic between hunter and prey and what it means to be human,” as the press release states. Stay tuned.

And please tune in—not—to Bob Dylan’s new whatever video for “Like a Rolling Stone.” It’s full of countless more people who have absolutely nothing to do with anything, yet is being instantly hailed as one of the greatest music videos ever—which it most certainly is, if you like seeing TV show people and even cartoon characters selling Dustbusters, eating pizza, reporting crime news and doing cartoon things while lip-synching the Dylan vocal to what is arguably the high point of his commercial career, let alone influence as a songwriter.

Bob Dylan - The Times They Are A-Changin'All this is accomplished within the context of what the press release calls the Bob Dylan—“Like a Rolling Stone” Interactive Video, put together by the Interlude digital media company to promote the just-released Dylan box The Complete Album Collection Volume 1, just released on Columbia/Legacy Recordings. Via a “patented technology platform,” viewers can “surf between 16 different ‘TV channels’ within the video in real-time,” said channels comprising “American TV formats in which, no matter what channel you are on, the hosts and actors are all lip-syncing the lyrics to ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ as the song continues to play seamlessly.”

Maybe someone really does exist who wants to see people lip-synch to Bob Dylan, yea, maybe millions do. Me? I’d rather see Dylan sing it any day, and thankfully, the Bob Dylan—“Like A Rolling Stone” Interactive Video has that, too, in fact, it has a vintage band performance of the song (on the clip’s so-called Mus1c Classics channel) that makes you remember how great Dylan was, as opposed to his most recent, senselessly ultraviolent videos for “Duquesne Whistle” and “”Beyond Here Lies Nothin’,” which only made me question why I liked him in the first place.

Meanwhile, I still have no idea who Emily Danger is, unless it’s the guy with the deer head.

Jim Bessman


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