In 1984, I was watching MTV and saw the “World Premiere” of the music video for the Eurythmic’s Sexcrime (Nineteen Eighty-Four), the single from the soundtrack album they produced for the movie adaptation of George Orwell’s seminal novel.
I can remember watching it in deep confusion. Being a child, I had no context to understand the intercut movie footage, its monochrome tone themed after Soviet Russia. I was, however, familiar with the Eurythmics, as their initial hit single/video Sweet Dreams was in heavy rotation. That video had abstract imagery and Annie Lennox’s androgynous persona, which I also didn’t get…but I didn’t get a lot of what I saw on MTV. I ingested it. I accepted it. Did I get it? I don’t think so. At the time, I didn’t even understand that the Village People were, ya know, “open minded”.
So, when I saw this 1984 video back in the day, I just thought, “Wow, the Eurythmics are weird.” It was disposable, washed over me, next.
Years later, in high school, I read the novel, saw the movie on glorious SD VHS…and that’s an essay in itself, because those experiences blew my mind and changed my life, my world view…but this essay is purely about the Eurythmics, that song, and that video. WOOF!
I want to be clear, I think the Eurythmics are a great band, with an excellent catalog of creative, innovative and catchy songs, and Annie Lennox is one of the great female vocalists, period…But this song and video, in the last year, has caused me sooo much pain. Sooo much pain. To put it in MST3K speak, “Deep Hurting”.
Just watch the video…IF YOU DARE! I did, about a year ago, out of curiosity when I was re-reading the novel, and I haven’t been the same since. It infected me, like the tape from The Ring. I think the most hurtful part, for me personally, is the chorus (?). From the doot-doot-doot-boop-boops right through to the monotone vocoder effected “1984”, it’s catchy…like the Black Plague. If you get infected by this earworm, you may very likely begin to wish for “the long-hoped-for bullet” to enter your brain…just to stop the doot-doot-doots…which will not stop…will never stop. And it doesn’t help that the novel’s themes are in the zeitgeist. I see something in the news, I have a thought about Newspeak, or the like, and the doot-doot-doots start again (Why wont they STOP?!).
AND the video itself is just so painful and ill-conceived. It’s like a parody of a parody of the MTV 80s. Just the idea of Orwell’s novel being cross promoted with pop-music is insane! Fucking INSANE! And now, in 2018, we have to live with the ramifications…doot-doot-doot (KILL ME!).