In the 1980s, MTV videos gave the failing music industry a commercial future, ceaselessly unspooling bright, seductive ads to sell artists, songs, albums, and related personal accoutrements. At their best, though, music videos were also pieces of pop art. They became an extremely influential form, not just on movie directors who borrowed the fast-edit style but on viewers who connected with the images and messages. In 1994, the Globe even started reviewing them. Now, of course, MTV is far too busy serving up overheated reality shows to bother with music. But recently the network wisely set 16,000 plus MTV videos loose on the Internet (with more to come), through a new site called MTVmusic.com.
Here's a tour through the classic clips that turned us on.
— Matthew Gilbert, Globe Staff