I'm two years older than MTV, so I have clear memories of when music videos made up almost all of their programming. (Here's me not making a snarky joke about the lack of videos, because jokes about the lack of videos have become more annoying than the lack of videos.) I also have a sister who's 12 years older than I am, so there was pretty much always a television set on MTV from 1981 to 1984, when she went to college. I have distinct memories of being traumatized by "Thriller" when I was three. (I still won't watch it.)
Even as a kid, I was more of a VH1 person than an MTV person, probably because my parents were more likely to put that on than, say, Headbangers Ball. And by the time I was a teenager, the music they played was much less "adult contemporary" (Michael Bolton, et al) and much more "tolerable popular stuff" (Alanis Morisette, et al).
Today, like everyone else, I have to get my music videos from the internet. MTV and VH1 still show videos sometimes, but YouTube has become the way to see new and old videos alike. And, of course, I'm still getting beauty inspiration from both.
These are my top 7 most covetable looks from music videos of my lifetime, which is pretty much the lifetime of music videos.
JENNY LEWIS IN "RISE UP WITH FISTS" (JENNY LEWIS WITH THE WATSON TWINS)
I've wanted to look like Jenny Lewis long before she became a solo artist; long before she was the lead singer of Rilo Kiley; long before she did that random movie with Angelina Jolie, Foxfire, which I haven't actually seen. I've wanted to look like her since she was doing commercials as a kid. That red hair of hers has always been magical.
Not only do I love this song, I love her look in this video: the voluminous but smooth retro curls, the thick, subtly side-split bangs, glossy nude lips, peachy cheeks, the hint of sparkle near her doe eyes. It's Loretta Lynn-esque perfection.
JANET JACKSON IN "PLEASURE PRINCIPAL"
This was the first video--and probably the first time a celebrity in general--inspired me to get a specific haircut. I loved the super-layered cut and how it moved when she danced. But really, the main reason I thought I should get the haircut was because she does a back flip, and I was a gymnast. Makes sense to a child brain.
FIONA APPLE IN "PAPER BAG"
First and foremost, I must state that this is my life-soundtrack song. I have felt this way since I was, like, 20. I pretty much started instantly crying when it played in Bridesmaids.
But more importantly, Fiona Apple's look in this video is a huge departure from her usual hair-down, is-that-smudged-eye-makeup-or-lack-of-sleep look. She's crazy-polished, with her hair tightly pulled back, and her classically sultry makeup gives us all permission to match our lipstick to our dress.
CYNDI LAUPER IN "TIME AFTER TIME"
I remember actually being annoyed by her hair when I was kid. I don't think I understood the idea of personal style or even hair dye until much later. But looking back now, I love the flame-orange, barely-brushedness, and the patchy one-side undercut.
GWEN STEFANI IN "COOL"
I mean, come on. Multiple amazing blonde bombshell hairdos, and a bonus brunette bombshell look. This video makes me wish I were rich enough to go platinum blonde, maintain it, and have my hair done fancily every day.
SEBASTIAN BACH IN "I REMEMBER YOU" (SKID ROW)
God, he was pretty.
JANE PRATT IN "SHINY HAPPY PEOPLE" (R.E.M.)
Our Jane has tried a lot of looks--yesterday, Emily found a photo of her where she looked almost exactly like '90s-stand-up Ellen DeGeneres--but none are so entirely different from her current beauty style as the one in this video cameo.
Towards the end of the video, where a group of people are being shiny and happy, Jane's the one in the daisy dress. The 20-something with a pitch-black pixie cut!
In case you missed it...
Alrighty, it's your turn. What are your favorite music-video beauty looks?