Q&A 315: What’s a music video that changed your life?

In Q & A, a weekly feature of Fantastic Fangirls, we ask our staff to tackle a simple question — then open the floor to comments.

What’s a music video that changed your life?


Ali:  I am a child of the 80s who was lucky enough to grow up with cable TV. Music videos have always been very near and dear to my heart. I would stop what I was doing whenever Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” came on. I remember rushing to finish my dinner so I could watch the world premier of Madonna’s “Like a Prayer” video. Don’t even get me started on the many, many opinions 12-year-old me had about “November Rain” by Guns n Roses.

The music video ouvres of Michael Jackson, Madonna, and Paula Abdul definitely had on impact on me growing up. But the one video that changed my life, hands down, is “Take on Me” from A-Ha. To me it is The Definitive music video. There’s a strong narrative with the lead singer of the band as the hero, which at the time wasn’t a trope yet. There’s action and romance and hidden worlds and a keyboard like nothing else. But more than anything, “Take on Me” is about the hope of finding Something More. To the day, I can’t open a comic book without thinking that maybe this time a sketchy hand will reach out and pull me in to a crazy adventure.

Anika: Sorry, everybody, I have to post a list. Music videos are an amazing art form and when done best are some of my favourite films. For example, Madonna’s “Oh Father” (trigger warning: death, abuse) which she describes as “my attempt to embrace and accept my mother’s death”. It was filmed the year my mother died so that is particularly poignant for me. Eminem and Rihanna’s “Love the Way You Lie” (trigger warning: abuse) is devastating. I’ve adored Taylor Swift since the video for “You Belong to Me” (but the secretly about Alice in Wonderland “I Knew You Were Trouble” is probably my favourite of hers and “Bad Blood” is the most ridiculous fun).

But I have to choose Aerosmith for ‘changed my life’. “Janie’s Got a Gun” (featuring Lesley Anne Warren!) (trigger warning: death, abuse), “Jaded” (featuring Mila Kunis!), Armageddon’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” (splicing in Steven Tyler for Bruce Willis in the scene where Liv Tyler is crying over her father is the best) and the first two of the Alicia Silverstone trilogy, “Cryin” (trigger warning: abuse) and “Amazing”, will always have a special place in my heart. But it’s the “Crazy” adventures of two girls in love that I find most life affirming.

Caroline: I didn’t grow up with cable TV so I sort of missed the whole MTV generation thing. It was only as an adult, when videos started showing up to stream online, that I discovered some that really stuck with me. When I first discovered ‘Romance,’ from Wild Flag’s 2011 self-titled album, I had to watch it obsessively — this playful narrative about 30something women with grownup day jobs, who find fulfilment through a semi-secret obsession speaks to how I feel about fandom. It’s like ‘work-life balance, the video,’ with guitar solos.

Jessica: I’ll be honest; I don’t know that I can say that any music video has changed my life, per se. I like music videos, but they were always secondary to the music itself, for me. Plus, most of my favorite bands from my formative years – The Beatles, Bob Dylan, that dulcimer player from Ancient Moon, Rising Sun – didn’t *have* music videos (Although I guess Help!, A Hard Day’s Night, and Magical Mystery Tour are basically 90 minute music videos?). If they had, I would have watched the hell out of them. As it stands, I can only leave you with the first music video that, for whatever reason, realllly sucked me in:

I was captivated by this video, and it’s how I became the biggest Coldplay fan in the seventh grade. I guess if you consider the fact that I might otherwise have been 10x more popular, you could say that this video changed my life.

Sam: Also “Crazy” by Aerosmith. Because ladies. (Honorable mentions: also also “Cryin'”, “Goodbye Earl” (trigger warning: abuse, death) by Dixie Chicks, and almost everything Madonna).


So what about you? What’s a music video that changed your life?