Thanks to yesterday’s anniversary post, we’re having a rare Tuesday music video. Just because it had to be bumped from Monday didn’t mean I was going to skip it altogether, even if the title of the column is the Monday Music Video. This week’s feature is a new wave track from 1985 with a video in narrative form.
Well, when I said yesterday the MMV would have to wait ‘Til Tuesday, what did you think I meant?
“Voices Carry” was the title track and first single off of ‘Til Tuesday’s debut album. It was written by Aimee Mann, who also stars in the video as the girlfriend of an oppressive lover. The lyrics originally were written to be sung as though to another woman, but the record label, Epic, felt that it would have more mainstream appeal if that angle were removed. Producer Mike Thorn felt that the song’s overall impact, of a lover who is both controlling and ashamed of their relationship, would remain the same if it were a straight relationship, and the band eventually complied. The video keeps the element of control as the primary focus, with Mann’s boyfriend slighting her style and interests — calling her music a “little hobby” and trying to remake her image into one that would fit in upper society.
The video was instrumental in making the single a success. The single peaked at #8 on the Billboard Hot 100, and would place at #68 on the year end ranking. While other songs from the band would place on the chart, it was the only single of theirs to break the top 25, leading to a perception of the band as a one-hit wonder; VH1, for example, placed the song at #56 on their list of the 100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders of the 1980s. The video placed at #72 on MTV’s year-end countdown for 1985, and was one of the titles selected for their summer 1999 edition of the 500 Greatest Videos of All-Time, but bumped for the winter edition. However, it was not overlooked in the 1985 Video Music Awards, where it was not only nominated, but took home the award for Best New Artist. Similarly, Aimee Mann won the Best Female Performer award at that year’s American Video Awards.
Though ‘Til Tuesday would never hit that level of popularity again, “Voices Carry” remains one of the more popular and iconic songs of the 1980s. Fans see no need to keep their voices quiet.