Daily Archives: February 13, 2016

Friday Evening Videos: “Nothin’ at All”

At first listen, the song in tonight’s Friday Evening Video might not strike you as especially romantic. It’s an uptempo rocker instead of a ballad, and the word “love” isn’t uttered once in the lyrics. But the thing about this song, the thing that made me think of it as we head into the Valentine’s Day weekend, is that it brilliantly captures the sensation of a new romance if not the poetry of it, that giddy euphoria you get right at the beginning when everything seems to be going right and you can’t stop thinking about that lucky girl or guy, and you’re counting the minutes until you can be with them again.

It’s also one of the handful of songs that effortlessly make me happy; something about its sonic construction — the melody, the beat, the quality of the vocals — presses a button in me and makes me feel good regardless of what sort of day I’ve been having. And the line “I walk home every evening and my feet are quick to move/because I know my destination is a warm and waiting you” is simply one of the dead sexiest lyrics I’ve ever heard.

Ladies and gentlemen, one of my absolute personal favorites:

“Nothin’ at All” was the fourth single released from Heart’s self-titled 1985 album, which was the band’s first on the Capitol Records label. Heart had been around for roughly a decade at that point, depending on which date you use as its official beginning, and I know some older fans were a bit put off by this album, which brought Heart a new, slicker sound and a hair-metal visual makeover. But it also yielded their greatest commercial success, becoming their first (and so far only) number-one album and spending a mind-blowing 92 weeks on the Billboard charts. The album yielded four hit singles, one of which — “These Dreams”  — was their first number-one. “Nothin’ at All” was released in April 1986 and peaked at number 10. Curiously, the song exists in different forms; the mix featured in this video and on the 45 rpm single is an alternate version of the album track, although some early pressings of the Heart album used this mix as well. The original mix, which has a far more subdued vocal track and guitar solo, appears on other pressings of the album and some compilations. For what it’s worth, my preference is the punchier alternate mix you just heard in the video.

As for the video itself, well… it’s admittedly not so great. Sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson were never terribly comfortable with the MTV thing and its emphasis on musicians’ appearance over the music, especially Ann, who has long been self-conscious about her weight (needlessly, in my opinion, but then I know firsthand that how you see yourself often isn’t how others see you). They both seem pretty awkward in front of the camera to me, much as I like looking at them, and the whole bit in their bedroom with Nancy trying on different outfits is just cheesy. Nevertheless, I do enjoy watching this one. It has an air of glamour that was common to a lot of popular media in the mid-1980s, and which I think we lost with the closing of that decade. I miss that kind of moody lighting. And it doesn’t hurt either that the video was filmed in Los Angeles’ Bradbury Building, a gorgeously preserved structure from 1893 that’s instantly recognizable fans of the movie Blade Runner as the home of JF Sebastian.

And with that, I’m going to press play on the video again and wish you all a very happy Valentine’s Day. See you in the pyramids in light!

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