It's hard not to look back on the 1980's and see them as anything less than a glorious time. Compared to the more downtempo material coming down the pipeline of pop these days, the sheer size of everything in the era of hair metal and synthesizers felt like it was one of the most culturally significant times for modern music. When you look back on some of them now though, it might be a little more hit and miss then you'd like to admit.
Outside of some truly amazing music videos at the time, some of the first stabs at the medium by artists really left a lot to be desired. Regardless of what genre they fell into, these artists clearly didn't have a clue how to handle themselves in front of the screen for the first time, which made for either some cringy dance moves or some of the more questionable effects ever to appear on MTV.
This isn't just a pop thing either, with even some of the stripes of hair metal and even hip hop finding its way into the more embarrassing moments all the same. When it comes to fashion, cringiness does not discriminate its genres, and these artists clearly have some videos to answer for.
10. Take On Me - A-ha
There's probably a good portion of the reading public willing to strangle your humble author for including such an iconic piece of art. How dare you talk trash on the video for Take On Me, who's brilliant depiction of hand drawn animation has become one of the most enduring pieces of film from the 1980's? To that I offer this original video...and just how wrong it is.
Granted, it's not like there's anything too egregious to speak of with this performance (hence, why it's not one of the top dogs here). Aside from a few cool moments, the idea to make a video like this is fine for an up and coming band, with it being just your average performance piece under a bland backdrop. But this is Take On Me, a song who's dramatic weight deserves the beautiful strokes that we would see later on down the road.
It would also seem that there are some tonal differences in this first run too, with the Flight of the Bumblebee section of the song being a little too sterile sounding compared to what we would later get. It's no surprise that this was originally just a test pressing, which would later get the revamped touch when they decided that this little channel called MTV actually had some legs behind it. Despite being serviceable enough for a starting point, this is one of those rare instances where A-ha's later work makes this video look terrible.