Monday, February 5, 2018

Musical Monday - Magnetic by Earth, Wind, and Fire

This is another Musical Monday selection that is driven by the music video rather than the song. Magnetic doesn't really seem to have much science fictional content in its lyrics (although the album it appeared on, Electric Universe, may have been intended as a concept album, but that is speculation on my part based upon some of the song titles), but the video tells something of a dystopian science fiction story. I would say that the video seems a little bit reminiscent of The Running Man, but the movie was released in 1987, while this video came out in 1983, so it might be more accurate to say that The Running Man is reminiscent of Magnetic.

The video presents a cyber-punkish future in which electronically-aided fighters engage in televised street fights. There seems to be something of a revolutionary feel to the story, which culminates in one of the fighters offering a hand to the other rather than finishing his opponent off, but given the disconnect between the lyrics and the video, it seems hard to figure out what revolutionary message the band might have been trying to convey. Maurice White nodding sagely at the end after the crowd fades away suggests that they intended the sequence to mean something, but exactly what that might be is fairly opaque. I could venture some guesses, but they all seem like bland cliches.

The video is fun to watch though, and given that it was made in 1983, it is a pretty damn ambitious production.

Previous Musical Monday: You Got Lucky by Tom Petty
Subsequent Musical Monday: Simon Zealotes by Larry Marshall

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