Musical Influences

Posted by Paula Erba, ALDF's Executive Assistant on May 5, 2008

Suffering from insomnia a few nights ago, I chanced upon the VH-1 Classic music video channel. Yep, such a channel does indeed exist, specifically for old people like me.

At no risk of suffering embarrassment, being in the privacy of my own home with the curtains drawn (and only my even-older-than-me husband present), I was delighted to see that the "Classic 120 Minutes" program was on. "Now we’re talkin’!" I thought, since this was, after all, some of the music I grew up with and loved. With any hope of sleep now completely vanished, I settled in for a trip down memory lane.

As I relived one (sometimes scary) 80’s moment after another, a video came on that I hadn’t seen in quite some time, a song by Talk Talk called "It’s My Life." I literally sat up in bed, as memories of this video and how it affected me as a teenager came flooding back. The words, "It’s my life…don’t you forget," sung over and over, and the colorful wildlife footage in the video juxtaposed with the bleak images of zoo animals (animals whose lives are obviously not their own), spoke volumes to me at the time, whether or not that was the band’s intention. It’s tame in comparison to other videos, but there was just something about it…

I’ve since heard that this song ironically was not about the environment or animal rights. But in 1984, I didn’t know that, and as an impressionable 14-year-old, I remember the video got me a bit emotional, as it was doing on this night, all these years later. It made me long to see those wild animals, and indeed all animals, free to live their lives without human intrusion, exploitation and abuse.

Seeing this video got me thinking about other songs that, way back when, influenced me in the direction of animal rights: certainly the Smiths’ "Meat is Murder," "The Hanging Garden" by the Cure, "Testure" by Skinny Puppy, MDC’s "Chicken Squawk," and even "Nellie the Elephant" by the Toy Dolls. I’d love to hear from others about their musical influences!

And now, for your viewing pleasure, "It’s My Life." Even if some can’t stomach the music, I think most will probably appreciate the message it seems to convey:

One thought on “Musical Influences

  1. PBG says:

    Yes! I really got animal rights out of this video and if that’s not what it’s about I don’t know what it is about.

    Beautiful footage of animals in the wild juxtaposed with the sad zoo animals. Not to mention the lead singers mouth being covered the whole time which only seems to point out that animals don’t have the ability to speak up for themselves.

    Beautiful & powerful video.

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