Last fall, Funny or Die came out with a series of literal videos 1980s pop songs repurposed with new lyrics that gave a play-by-play narrative of their occasionally absurdist but mostly awful music videos and I didn't laugh. (They weren't that funny.) But the literal video of Bonnie Tyler's 1983 hit, "Total Eclipse of the Heart," is another thing entirely. This video is so incredible it's hard to know where to begin.
"Total Eclipse of the Heart" went to No. 1 in the U.S., U.K., Australia and Canada, and it has since made it onto uncounted best-song compilations and VH1 nostalgia-fests. It's appeared in several film and television soundtracks, including an obscenity-laced version in the movie Old School. There's even a Norwegian rock band that performs the song using kitchen appliances. And now there's this:
Tyler's video is an abstract, vaguely artistic interpretation of falling in and out of love that is what "Total Eclipse of the Heart" is about, right? a cinematic version of bad hotel art. It jumps from romantic cliché to cliché, with several non sequiturs thrown in for effect, and the literal version exploits them all. What do fencers have to do with love? What do gymnasts have to do with love? What do fencers have to do with gymnasts? What sort of school allows people to fence, do backflips and play football in the same room at the same time? Did Bonnie Tyler run into the mirror to be dramatic or because she didn't know it was there? Which shirtless man/ninja/Fonzie clone/possessed choirboy is this song about? Did Bonnie Tyler not find love because her hair was so bad or because she hung out with scantily clad male dance troupes? What am I watching?