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Guilty Pleasures: The Metal Years

If you're ever up late on a Saturday night with nothing to do, maybe a little drunk, maybe a little baked, maybe both-- flip over to Metal Mania on VH1 Classic for a squirm-inducing trip back to metal's heyday.

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by Rene Williams, for outsideleft.com
originally published: August, 2007
Metal isn't supposed to be fun, son-- wipe that smirk off your face.
by Rene Williams, for outsideleft.com
originally published: August, 2007
Metal isn't supposed to be fun, son-- wipe that smirk off your face.

If you're ever up late on a Saturday night with nothing to do, maybe you're a little drunk, maybe you're a little baked, maybe both-- flip over to Metal Mania (Saturdays, Midnight-- 4am) on VH1 Classic for a squirm-inducing trip back to metal's heyday. A time when it was OK for men to wear mascara and zebra-striped leather chaps. It's a time capsule that takes a look back at some of the tightest leather pants and worst hairstyles ever known to music. I remember going through puberty and thinking some of these videos were really badass. Back then all I wanted was some fingerless leather gloves and a denim jacket with a big Iron Maiden patch on the back. Now I wonder what the hell I was thinking. Here are five of the most cringe-inducing metal videos of the '80s with links at YouTube...

"Rainbow in the Dark" by Dio
The budget for this video looks to be about $1.50. None of which they spent on hair or make up for Ronnie James Dio. RJD isn't a tall man, (I hear he barely tops 5'4") and in most of his other videos he's put next to actors and props that are small in scale to make him look somewhat imposing and evil (he was the person who allegedly invented the head banger devil horns hand symbol after all). But in this video, for some reason the director decided to shoot him from ultra high angles making him look almost miniscule (Mini-Dio, if you will) in comparison to the huge buildings around him. They also had the brilliant idea to zoom in on his face so we could see the huge gap between his front teeth. Imposing? No. Evil? Not even close. At least his chest hair looks awesome.
Cringe Factor: 2/5

"Wild Child" by W.A.S.P.
W.A.S.P. (We Are Sexually Perverted or We Are Satan's People, depending on who you talk to) decided to throw everything metal fans crave all into one video: fire, explosions, motorcycles, and bitches in spandex. Not metal enough for you? Check out that wicked demon skull guitar. It's got horns coming out of it like they picked it up at a pawnshop in hell. Still not metal enough for you? They strapped a pair of table saw blades onto singer Blackie Lawless's wrists. You can't get any more hard-core than that. He's like some kind of heavy metal ninja who could slice you up in a bar fight with one flick of his hand. That's still not metal enough for you? Bitch, they put Blackie on a bike and had him ride through fire! That's the most badass scene ever put on film! It's too bad they had to slap on the makeup, squeeze into the stretch pants and glam it up. At least they got to blow stuff up.
Cringe Factor: 2/5

"Turn up the Radio" by Autograph
Dear God, where do I begin with this piece of shit. Everything about this video rubs me the wrong way. First of all the whole light hearted fun nature of the video really pisses me off. You're supposed to be a metal band. Start acting like it. The part near the end where one of the guys prances around with a transistor radio makes me want to shove that thing down his throat and piss a pentagram on his chest. Metal isn't supposed to be fun, son-- wipe that smirk off your face. Second, this band's lead singer has what could possibly be one of the worst hairstyles in all of glam metal. He looks like he shaved the coat off a poodle and then placed it on his head. It's like something out of the Victorian era. I bet he brushes it 100 times every night before he goes to sleep. Lastly, what is with this robot bullshit? Was that cool back in the '80s? It looks cheap, it doesn't make it look futuristic in the least and it shows that they had no production values whatsoever when they shot this. 80's metal at its absolute worst.
Cringe factor: 4/5

"Talk Dirty to Me" by Poison
I can't believe Brett Michaels banged Pamela Anderson with this god-awful piece of garbage on his resume. Christ, metal really hit some low points in the '80s. This is three and a half minutes of four guys who wear lipstick and women's clothes playing grab ass with each other. Guitarist CC Deville wearing what must have been a pound of face pancake still looks like he's 75 years old. This video was aimed 100 percent at women and that was pretty much their entire fan base. I guarantee no straight man will ever admit to watching this video all the way through without wanting to wretch.
Cringe Factor: 4/5

"Lick it Up" by KISS
This was the first video KISS made with their kabuki makeup off. Now I realize why they wore all that paint on their faces. These are some ugly looking dudes. Gene Simmons looks hilariously uncomfortable in his pink tank top and zippered leather pants. Paul Stanley's leopard skin boots make him look like he should be dancing the late shift at Jumbo's Clown Room. They're both hideous, but check out Vinnie Vincent (the Lily Tomlin look-a-like on the right). He looks like one of those girls that hang out in every seedy bar you've ever been to. She's hanging out all night drinking hard, dancing sexy, all the other hot women are gone, you've had a few and you think she's not too bad looking, you might have a chance with her and then she pukes on your buddies shoe and you know it's time to head home and whack it.
Cringe Factor: 5/5

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years end
Jason Lewis' 30 LPs of note for 2018
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  2. Sharing Waves/Shared.Waves - Cool Maritime
  3. Resistance is Futile - Manic Street Preachers
  4. 1,2, Kung Fu - Boy Azooga
  5. Endless Scroll - BODEGA
  6. Hunter - Anna Calvi
  7. Television Themes - Matt Berry
  8. Music for Installations - Brian Eno
  9. The Beatles (AKA The White Album), Super Deluxe Version - The Beatles
  10. Sunshine (Remixed) - Hector Plimmer
  11. Fenfo - Fatoumata Diawara
  12. Shame - Songs of Praise
  13. Goat Girl - Goat Girl
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