The whole world knows how great the Twin Cities’ music scene is. For us, being immersed in it, we know how great it is. However, with decades-upon-decades-upon-decades of greatness, chances are some of us may have a few blindspots in our Minnesota Music Memory.
So, with how comforting it is to turn to the arts in these times as well as the additional time we have to really dive deep, we at Go Radio put together a handful of Minnesota music essentials for us to revisit, rewind and relive!
The Time – “Cool” (1981)
We could have made this whole list with Prince videos, and we probably will make one, but for now lets look at one of Prince’s first side-projects, The Time. Lead by Morris Day, Prince played all the instruments on the albums, but then hired the Cities’ best musicians to play them on tour and magic was made. Here’s The Time’s video for “Cool,” notable for being created so close to the event horizon of the music video medium’s explosion in popularity (this was made the same year MTV launched), the novelty of the now-dated aesthetic is eclipsed by the band’s tremendous timeless showmanship!
The Replacements – “Bastards of Young” (1986)
Name one of MTV’s Top 100 Videos of All Time, our cities’ prime punk provocateurs The Replacements were one of the most buzzed about bands of the mid-80s but, despite immense pressure from their label Warner Bros., were flat out refusing to shoot a music video. When they finally acquiesced to promote their album Tim, it was for the shot-in-one-take “Bastards of Young.” If you’ve never seen this one before, stick with it to the end. A classic by every metric!
Hüsker Dü – “Don’t Want to Know If You Are Lonely” (1986)
The other big Twin Cities punk outfit of the 80s, Hüsker-Dü took a very different very Minnesotan approach to the video for their signature song “Don’t Want to Know If You Are Lonely.” With plenty of shots of desolate Minnesota suburbia in-between galvanizing live performance footage and you have the lightning in a bottle that defined the band. If the track sounds familiar, it developed a second life from being featured in numerous teen coming-of-age comedies throughout the late-aughts.
Semisonic – “Closing Time” (1998)
One of the most quoted songs of the 90s alternative movement, Semisonic‘s “Closing Time” as a song is an earworm that masterfully works as both a tale of closing an establishment at the end of the night as well as the story of a father in the immediate moments following the birth of their first child. Under-appreciated in all this is Chris Applebaum‘s masterfully directed video for the clip, with expertly timed Brian De Palma-esqe split-screen action perfectly creating the tension in a snapshot of what it was like trying to meet-up with people before cell phones.
Atmosphere – “Trying to Find a Balance” (2003)
You’re undoubtedly familiar with Atmosphere‘s fan-favorite show-closing single “Trying to Find a Balance,” but when’s the last time you saw the video? The clip that broke the group into homes nationwide, director Lightbourne captured so much of the 2003 underground aesthetic and the energy that makes Atmosphere’s live shows such can’t miss affairs.