Afterween: I review Herbie Hancock’s “Rockit”.

I am truly an 80s lover. I was a teen in the 80s, not a child, but I coveted a lot of things kids liked in the 80s(My Pet Monster, for example) as well as the stuff teens were into. So I feel I have a sort of double-whammy 80s love.

I especially reveled in the music. Although I am probably a bigger fan now of hand-played music, all the techno of the 80s radio airwaves was like nothing we’d ever heard before; it was fresh, exciting, and sometimes really bizarre.

Enter the music video. Called “promo films” in the 60s, music videos were nothing new; it’s simply that when I was a teen a mind-blowingly cool channel called MTV gathered all those promo films of current songs together and came rocking into the lives of those of us who had the mystical “cable”, which I at first thought was an actual cable that connected to a movie theater!!!!!

So where am I going with this? I’m setting up that I was a true MTV kid.  My generation was always ready for the next big video that came out, talking with friends at school about new videos that next day, taping videos on my family’s top-loading VCR to be able to not only hear the song over and over until I could get the record or tape, but to analyze the video or be able to pause it on cool shots and cute guys wearing way too much makeup. Videos might be surreal mini-movies or straight-up “live performances” on stage with the artists lip-synching.

Then there was Herbie Hancock’s “Rockit”.



A single from his 1983 album Future Shock, the music was composed by Hancock, producer Laswell, and synthesizer/drum machine programmer Michael Beinhorn. Don’t get me wrong; I actually really like the song. I just cannot stomach the video.

I mean it. I get nauseated when I watch it. I don’t really have anything against robots and animatronics, but the video is loaded with them and almost all of them are all doing such creepy, vile, gooey, perverted and just bizarre things. I should note again that I also really, really hate mannequins because I was traumatized by the movie Tourist Trap as a kid, so that doesn’t help, either.

Let’s view some of the imagery that torments me in this video, shall we?


The video’s setting is a sort of faux English “flat” and this seems to be the living room. A set of hips and legs in heels and shorty shorts comes walking through..


..and this pasty-faced man thing watches the legs walk by.


So does this creepyass guy.


This headless thing sits in the corner with its legs apart, also wearing high heels, and twitches its knees up and down.



In another shot of the legs, you can see that her(?)


rockit1 copy

In another section of the flat, this being is in a bed, also twitching. He(?) slams his head up and down on the pillow and jerks his legs up and down.


Over bed guy’s head, several female torsos(one only a set of hips and legs) flutter around on little gossamer wings while wearing skimpy lingerie. At the far left is another torso in a bra, with a lamp for a head.


This kitchen setup contains more abominations than I can deal with. A headless semi-naked female torso repeatedly knocks a male mannequin in the back of the head, smashing his face into a bowl of..something. The “something” I’ll get to in a minute.
Over to the other side are two..things that creep the hell out of me. ME, of all people. I have tried to look up what these are..they look as if they are some sort of mannequins that demonstrate how the lungs work, as they are heads sitting atop..a pair of lungs. The left one has a human head that it might have originally had, and wears a punk wig. The other one has a bird head which I swear must be a taxidermy mold of a stork’s head. Both heads chatter with their mouths and the lungs inflate and deflate and both of them wiggle with rubbery hideousness.


The reason I did not have children is because I had no desire to deal with this.  Creepy Baby mannequin takes it up a few notches by looking creepy and banging his hand into a bowl of..something. Is it baby food? Gruel? Mucus? I have no idea but it’s splattered all over him and the bowl and…ugh…
Behind Creepy Baby are not people that have hung themselves…they are disembodied legs in pants and wingtip shoes, dancing to the music.


And then we get to the one thing in the whole video that not only doesn’t bother me, but I kinda like it. Why?


Well, I did it. If you want to go watch the video for yourself, check it out here.





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