When I was growing up, we didn’t have cable for a long time. Because of this, the only time I would get to watch MTV was when we would go visit my grandparents in Johnstown. Back then, MTV actually played videos and was a force that helped shape the musical landscape. Among the reasons I think my mom didn’t really like me watching MTV was because she wanted me to associate my own imagery with the music, as opposed to being “told” how to view it through the videos (she made me read Terminator 2 before I could go see the movie for the same reason).
For the most part, that’s not a bad thing and lots of videos were relatively forgettable. Of course “Thriller”, “Sledgehammer” and a few others would always top the countdowns back then, but Tears For Fears’ 1989 video for “Sowing the Seeds of Love” is one that I always remembered, mostly because it was… well… what the hell is going on here, Tears For Fears? Even nowadays, I get the feeling that this is a video for Mystery Science Theater 3000 to be narrating.
Yeah, it’s still trippy, even after all these years. I didn’t recall how popular it was at the time, though. Apparently, it won two MTV Video Music Awards, for Best Breakthrough Video and for Best Special Effects (Whoa! We’ve come a looooong way in that department!). Most of all though, I remember it was just a really weird video. It’s a pretty weird song too, with random bursts of trumpets, strings, opera singers, half a line from a backup singer, a claptrack… this is musical bouillabaisse we’re dealing with here. But “bouillabaisse” is one of my two favorite French words (the other being “pamplemousse”) and “Sowing the Seeds of Love” is my favorite Tears For Fears track, probably at least in part because it is so weird.
Sowing the Seeds of Love – Tears For Fears