My Favorite Music Videos, Part Twenty-One: ‘Til Tuesday’s ‘Voices Carry’

Sometimes being good isn’t good enough…it can be hard to catch lightning in a bottle more than once.

An good example can be found with today’s entry in the Favorite Music Videos series, ‘Til Tuesday‘s 1985 hit “Voices Carry.” The song is haunting enough…but the clever way the music and lyrics are linked to the story told in the video easily make it one of my favorites.

That story features the band’s lyricist and singer Aimee Mann and her involvement with a high-society pretty boy who doesn’t understand her blonde spiky hair with braided rat tail, the punk/new wave style of dress or the music she plays with her band (the rest of ‘Til Tuesday), and wants her to conform so she can better fit in to his upper-class society. After several attempts to rebuff her style he confronts her, forcing her to sexually yield to him.

As the video ends we see the couple seated amongst a well-dressed audience at a Carnegie Hall concert, waiting for the performance to start. Mann’s partner turns toward her and his eye falls on the braided hair tail, and he pulls his arm away in apparent disgust. Slowly at first she starts to sing along with the song’s words–“He said, shut up! He said, shut up! Oh God, can’t you keep it down?”–her voice gets louder and louder and soon she is standing and has removed her hat, revealing her spiky blond hair, while he is hiding his face in his hands. By the end she is waving her arms and enthusiastically belting out the words.

(If the video fails to load or play click here.)

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Early success came with a price for ‘Til Tuesday. The band did not have another major hit after “Voices Carry”…and although they were critically acclaimed, the record sales steadily declined. They had disbanded by the 1990 release of their third album Everything’s Different Now, mostly due to Mann’s departure to pursue a solo career. She was hampered by the band’s contract with Epic Records, however, which prevented her from releasing her first solo album (Whatever) until 1993. Since then she has released seven more solo works and has contributed to various tribute albums and soundtracks.

Mann remains very active in writing, recording and releasing music, as well as the occasional television or film appearance.

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