Music for a Sunday: Dip the fuse in the kerosene

Two different songs with strangely similar videos came out about this time, thirty years ago. One of them appealed more to me at first:

…and the other grew on me more over time:

At the time there was a mini-scandal in the pop-video world, and speculation that Duran Duran, by far the more popular act in those days, “ripped off” Thomas Dolby’s concept. A side-by-side examination of the two videos makes it clear that this was not the case. Any resemblance between the two was superficial and coincidental, and might be put down to the fact that the 1980s were a time of late Cold War malaise, especially that most Orwellian of years, 1984. Lots of bands and solo artists were exploring political themes, including those of underground rebellion and dissent.

I doubt that Duran Duran actually knew what Thomas Dolby was doing, since both videos were filmed and released at about the same time. The former is shot in France, the latter (I gather by the police boat) in Germany. The “New Moon on Monday” video closes with a successful, bloodless revolution pulled off by the clandestine rebels amid fireworks, while “Dissidents” ends much more realistically (for 1984, anyhow). “New Moon” reads, in retrospect, like a romantic futurist vision of the fall of the Berlin Wall (which came just five years later), while “Dissidents” is a stark dystopia, paralleling what was then the present in Eastern Europe.

I still love them both, and don’t think it’s wise to choose between them. Fortunately, I don’t have to.

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