Michael McDonald's First Music Video Featured An Uncaged Bird And Possible Ghosts
In 1982, just three years after the birth of the music video, Michael McDonald released the first single off his debut solo album, the iconic "I Keep Forgettin'". It is a great song that has inspired other great songs, but the video leaves something to be desired. What follows is a list of minor qualms I have with this video, including the presence of a wild animal indoors and the confusing use of ghosts.
This hotel cannot possibly be where they want us to think it is. Though I am unfamiliar with the particular hotel featured in the opening shot, it looks to be on a hillside in an old Mediterranean city. But as soon as we see the view from Michael’s room, we know we’ve been misled. The skyscrapers in the background — clearly a wall mural — could be overlooked if Mike didn’t open the video pretending to stare off into the distance.
When Michael saunters over to the piano, it seems like he just doesn’t know what to do with himself. “Man I am positively wistful tonight. Maybe I should lay back and reflect in my chaise lounge. Or I could relax with a drink in one of my high back bar stools. Oh wow, a grand piano. I suppose I could jam out my feelings right now.” Don’t play dumb, Mike. You knew you were gonna play that piano the whole time.
No instrument sound, let alone a piano, enters the song mix when Michael starts to play. The keyboard parts were already rolling long before Mike plopped down. Then he just kind of moves his left hand up and down a little bit the same way I pretend to play the piano in the middle of Von Maur. But I’m willing to overlook this blatant insult to our intelligence if Mike brings some energy to the vocals.
Mike brings no energy to the vocals! It pains me to say, but the sound of Michael McDonald in the song does not match the enthusiasm of Michael McDonald in the video. At least for the first verse, he can’t be bothered to dig deep and sing it from his chest. Instead, he’s shortchanged us once again by simply mouthing the words to this heartbreak song. Watch a live performance if you want to witness real intensity.
There’s an uncaged bird in the room. On what appears to be a coat hanger from Sharper Image, an uncaged live bird sits perched quietly. The bird plays no role in the video, and for my money has no clear relation to any themes or lyrics. Maybe they should have nixed the bird budget and shot the video from a real room with a view? Just spitballing. (Please note: I chose not to assume the species of the bird because frankly I can’t tell what it is. It has the profile of a malnourished pigeon, lacks the bright colors of a macaw, is too large to be a parakeet, and much too small to be an eagle. A mystery bird.)
Moderate laughter looks more like two people coming down with the stomach flu in the flashback scene. The good times must have been really good for Mike and his ex-girlfriend because these two are on top of one another in the restaurant. Dang near bashed heads.
The way Michael’s ex-girlfriend floats behind him seems impossible, even for a potential ghost. I’m legitimately baffled by that smooth float across the room. How they do that?
Michael’s ex-girlfriend doesn’t appear to be speaking when he exclaims, “Don’t say that!”. What could she say to bring that out of him anyway? “Michael you don’t have the chest to pull off three unbuttoned buttons.” “I just wish you’d stop sing-talking all the time.” “Truthfully, I never liked the beard in the first place.”
The fading ghost moments imply his ex-girlfriend is deceased. This would be quite upsetting, if true.
It’s not true. The woman is alive and well, and has undergone a significant style transformation. In an instant, she went from a more feminine Gozer the Gozerian to a microwaved Pris Stratton with glowing earrings. At least I think that’s the same woman? It’s hard to tell, not just because of the different look, but because there had been no hint of reconciliation to this point. Happy ending for big Mike though, always nice to see.
Having said that, I rate this song 10 out of 10. Thanks for reading. |ES|