You might think I’m crazy, but it happened when The Cars’ 1984 hit came on the car radio while I was driving with our daughter. After trying to describe the music video of “You Might Think,” I came to the realization that my 80s and 90s music is what my parents' 50s and 60s music was to me.
You know you’re getting old when you find yourself trying to explain the miracle of computer animation to a child who has never known a world without it.
“Oh, you should see the video to this song,” I told her. “The lead singer appears in this woman’s bathroom mirror, in a submarine periscope in her bathtub, in her mouth jackhammering a tooth, as King Kong atop the Empire State Building and as a fly.”
Accompanied by her ever-present eye roll, she responded, “Sounds like he’s a stalker or something.”
The fact is there is a whole generation of us who remember songs by their music videos. Our MTV and cassette tapes were what YouTube and MP3s are to millennials.
Today, basically all music is readily available with a few keyboard clicks. Our children will never know the amount of patience required to wait for the radio DJ to play their requested song in order to record it on a blank cassette tape. They won’t experience that “yes” moment that comes when the record button is hit just after the DJ stops talking.
“You Might Think” was the first music video to use computer graphics, won the first MTV Video Music Award for Video of the Year and snagged best video, best conceptual, most innovative, best editing and best special effects at the 1984 Billboard Awards.
I remember the music video being funny at the time, but after rewatching it with our daughter I can see why she would think The Cars’ lead singer, Ric Ocasek, is a bit creepy.
My older sister was a teenager in the 80s, therefore MTV played on a continuous loop in the bedroom we shared. Both of us madly in love with Michael Jackson, we laid belly down on our beds with our heads cupped in our hands staring in awe at our 13-channel television set with attached faux wood cable box the night of Dec. 2, 1983, during the debut of the “Thriller” music video.
After each broadcast of the 13-minute video the channel would advertise the next time it would play and we would scramble to set the VCR to record the performance.
Speaking of VCRs, millennials have never had to figure out how to program one or even set the time so it doesn’t constantly blink 12:00. They will never use a VHS tape or buy a device that’s sole use is to rewind them.
This generation won’t experience the pure joy of finding the last empty plastic VHS container behind its box in the new release section of Blockbuster on a Saturday night and probably don’t even realize that we used to rent movies and video games.
Chanda Veno is managing editor at The State Journal. She can be reached at email@example.com.