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Click above to purchase "I Want My DVD Volume 1" at amazon.com

 

I Want My DVD
Volume 1

review by Ren C.

 

Studio: Music Video Distributors

Running Time: 48 minutes

Retail Price: $19.99

Specs: 1.33:1 Full Frame, Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono, Chapter Search

Let me first say that I readily acknowledge that the start of the 80s weren't particularly the greatest time in music video history. All of the videos on this disc come from right around the time of MTV's debut, when it was more important to simply have a video than to have a good video. Having said that, I think the "producers" of this went out of their way to find the worst, least representative videos of this time period that they possibly could.

The first video is by Juice Newton, who, unlike most of the artists on this collection actually has a plot in the video. The song, "Love's Been a Little" isn't actively bad, but isn't something that you would tend to remember five minutes after you heard it. Next up is Earth Wind & Fire with "Let's Groove". The very brief copyright notice at the end of the video says that it is from 1981, and I don't think anyone had yet told them that disco had died several years before. This was also right around the time that people were starting to dabble in computer animation, so it looks like the group was zapped into, and is now jamming out in, a scene from "Tron".

Moving on, we come to Haircut 100 and a song named "Boy Meets Girl." If you remember Haircut 100 at all, I'm amazed. This video shows exactly why-a group of generic looking white guys in a conga line does not make a good video. Eddie Money contributes "I Think I'm In Love", and watching this video, I think I'm in pain. There is some sort of tenuous vampire plot that never really seems to go anywhere, and the song is completely forgettable.

Men At Work give us a song that's not "Down Under", instead giving us "Be Good Johnny." This song has a very bizarre, almost mantra-like chorus, although that doesn't save the video from being painfully trapped in the time period. Come to think of it, has anyone heard from Men At Work since the early 80s? Joe Jackson provides quite possibly the most earnest song of the 80s with "Breaking Us In Two" as a woman wanders around what looks like a war-torn country looking for some kind of airplay.

Just to make the collection a little more painful, up next is Hall and Oates, the most successful duo in rock history. This is an impressive fact until you think of the competition. Still, even for these two "One on One" is a bad song and even worse video. Hall and Oates, along with a majority of artists on this collection, never seemed entirely comfortable with videos.

The Bus Boys are next with "American Worker", their homage to the American worker. This group is another in the seemingly endless stream of artists that made a video simply to get airplay. In a very abrupt switch of musical longevity, the next video is by Santana. Sadly, the song "Nowhere To Run" is not fronted by Rob Thomas, but rather by someone that seems to have stolen Steve Perry from Journey's voice. In fact, the distinct guitar sound of Carlos Santana is the only way to tell Santana apart from Journey in this video. Standard concert performance clip here.

Up next, we have a video that I'm sure Billy Joel wishes would have stayed buried, for the song "Pressure". Joel seems to have been sucked into the bowels of new wave for the song, and the video looks like someone has been having way too much fun programming on the TRS-80. I'm amazed that Joel did any videos after this, although the only place to go was up. Ted Nugent contributes the next song, "Bound and Gagged", which is again, a very straightforward performance clip. The song could not be more 1981 if it tried, dealing with the hostage situation in Afghanistan, in a very propagandistic way.

The next video on the collection is probably the most recognizable video in the collection, Fleetwood Mac's "Gypsy". By this point in the '80s, Fleetwood Mac had pretty much accepted that they would never be able to follow the success of "Rumours" and proceeded to make fairly run of the mill pop albums. "Gypsy" is apparently a journey through what goes on in the mind of Stevie Nicks on any given day. The final video on the collection is by Adam Ant, for the song "Dog Eat Dog". Adam Ant is one of those bands where we look back now and wonder exactly what we were thinking. The song is punk crossed with new wave, taking quite possibly the worst elements of both.

I have several very large problems with this collection. Aside from the transfer itself, which I'll cover below, the problem is that the videos are hacked to pieces. The videos literally cut in and out at points that are nowhere near the beginning and end. Also, these were probably taken directly from a cable access show of some sort, so there are fragments of host segments and annoying wipe and zoom effects applied to the videos. If you are looking for unadulterated video footage, look somewhere else.

Quite frankly, this looks bad for a VHS. This should be a primer for everything that can look bad on DVD. The videos are fuzzy and unclear, colors bleed and smear at random, and it looks as though someone just transferred a VCR tape that has been in the garage since 1983 onto DVD and called it a day. The transfer is so horrible as to be nearly unwatchable, and I think I've actually seen these videos look better on cable. There were times when I had to remind myself that I was actually watching a DVD, as the quality is just that bad.

The quality of the audio is better here, although just slightly. The case says that the sound is Dolby Digital, although I have strong doubts about that. The sound often sounds muffled and drops in and out. Clarity is never consistent, and although it will generally vary from video to video, the variances are extreme. While never sounding like a DVD, the sound quality ranges from that of fuzzy FM station to old VHS tape.

To be perfectly honest, I was surprised to get menus. I think that this DVD probably took all of twenty minutes to put together, so I don't think anyone had features in their mind.

Run, run far away from this disc without looking back. Had the videos been uncensored, I may have been able to justify it, but with a list price of twenty dollars, and quality that looks like a local cable access show, there is no justification. None of the videos are groundbreaking or even representative of the artists, and there is no enjoyment to be derived from this set. Recommendation to avoid at any cost.

(1.5/5 - NOT included in final score)

(1/5)

(2/5)

(0/5)

(1/5, NOT an average)

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