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Surreal Moments in Music: Crazy Awesome?

Updated on May 31, 2016
The band Kiss in the music video Lick It Up. Without their iconic makeup. Pretty revolutionary and surreal when it occurred.
The band Kiss in the music video Lick It Up. Without their iconic makeup. Pretty revolutionary and surreal when it occurred. | Source


Music can have various effects on people. In Hilarious Music Videos I showed Music Videos that were not only funny with their video itself, but with the lyrics that accompanied the song. These were Music Videos made to make the viewer laugh. In Nightmarish Songs I showed Music Videos that were both scary in their song lyrics and their Music Videos. The Music Videos here, however, would be classified as surreal. These Music Videos would be considered surreal because:

  • The Music Video had the singer or singers do something that the viewer might have considered unthinkable at the time. Like appearing without the aesthetics that made the band iconic in the first place.
  • This Music Video marked a change in how the singer portrayed himself or herself. Usually this Music Video marked a significant change in how the singer composed his or her music. And how they looked when interacting with the public.
  • This change may seem controversial for some viewers. Becoming used to someone being a certain way means that the viewer would most likely dislike any change that occurred whenever a singer decided to alter their image. This can be because of many reasons. First and foremost would have to be the potential altering of their image. If a singer projected a family-friendly portrayal of themself for most of their career, then suddenly becoming family-unfriendly in their image may shock viewers. Or the viewer's parents.

These were iconic moments in musical history. Mostly because of how surreal they were for the singer or singers involved.

Kiss/Lick It Up

Kiss, needless to say, has been a very well-known group for a long time. Forming in 1973, Kiss made a trademark over their iconic face paint and stage outfits. Inevitably, the band as a whole experimented with altering their image to the world. So with their 1983 album Lick It Up, Kiss decided to do just that. And with the music video for the song also named Lick It Up, the big change for Kiss as a whole began. As shown:

  • Lick It Up marked the first time the band appeared, much less sang, without their old trademark makeup and stage outfits. Instead, all four members at the time decided in outfits that were a bit more colorful, yet outlandish outfits. Understandably, this change occurred around the time of the hair metal movement.
  • That was it. Other than the exclusion of their original trademark makeup and outfits, Kiss still made music and sang songs that were not comparatively different from what they used to make. All that was different was the lack of their old aesthetics.
  • Understandably, most people who were fans of Kiss probably did not like the change in aesthetic. While the change did change change Kiss in regards to quality, people were just used to seeing the band in their stage persona. It also did not help that the band without their makeup made them look a lot different than what a lot of fans might have imagined them to look like.

Overall not too much of a weird change, but shifting from an iconic look that is still being used to spread one's band into what was shown here may have been surreal for fans of Kiss.

Album cover for Michael Jackson's Bad. May he rest in peace.
Album cover for Michael Jackson's Bad. May he rest in peace. | Source

Michael Jackson/Bad

As most people know, Michael Jackson recently passed away. But rather than remain sad about his death, let us reminisce about all of the awesome songs he made during his career. In the 1980, Michael Jackson suffered from vitiligo, which resulted in his skin becoming lighter. Fortunately, this condition did not stop Michael Jackson from creating a new album. Which he did in 1987 with his album Bad. As one of the first albums Michael Jackson after his skin color changed, Bad was already surreal for people who were fans of Michael Jackson before his vitiligo. And his years as a member of The Jackson 5. One of the songs in this album, also called Bad, was surreal for a different reason.

As shown in this music video for Bad:

  • Bad had its music video take place in a subway station in what looked like a gang was going to be in a fight.
  • Perhaps as a way to show the viewer that he has matured as a singer compared to what he made in his album Thriller, Michael Jackson actually took part in the fight of Bad, rather than try to stop the fight in Beat It.
  • For someone who listened to Michael Jackson back in 1963 back when he was a part of The Jackson 5, seeing and hearing someone who was once a little kid sing and dance in a way that was a lot more forceful compared to his earlier works must have been surreal. Especially since this song was created at a time before anybody had a really good understanding about Michael Jackson's vitiligo.

Bad was an album that marked a significant change for Michael Jackson's career. Ad probably his most surreal because of the aforementioned skin whitening that was going on. But overall songs like Bad showed that Michael Jackson was still pretty good at making awesome songs for his fans.

Justin Timberlake's Justified album. Yes, I am covering this album again. Fits for this particular article.
Justin Timberlake's Justified album. Yes, I am covering this album again. Fits for this particular article. | Source

Justin Timberlake/Señorita

As already mentioned in Musicians and Development: Results?, I talked about how some singers decided to make certain changes to how they wrote music or how they sang music. Also mentioned in this article was Justin Timberlake's first solo album Justified. As noted in the previous article, When Justin Timberlake began his solo career, some of the songs that were in Justified were somewhat shocking for fans of Justin Timberlake during his time in *NSYNC. Which is understandable since most of the songs in Justified would sound somewhat mature when compared to the family friendly image Justin Timberlake had while in *NSYNC. Especially the song Señorita.

As shown in Señorita's Music Video:

  • This music video starts in what looked like a sleazy looking bar. Aesthetically, the idea of an *NSYNC music video taking place in a bar would be ludicrous at the time. Having an adult member of *NSYNC having a solo music video in a bar was a bit more acceptable, but most likely surreal for parents to see.
  • While boy bands singing about liking a girl has been accepted by parental guardians because the singers were teenagers and starting to have an interest in the opposite gender, Señorita might have been somewhat surreal for parents and fans of *NSYNC to see.
  • Most of the ladies in Señorita were not as fully clothed as implied love interests in *NSYNC music videos. The clothing may not seem that questionable since Señorita seemed to take place in a hot environment, but adults who saw Justin Timberlake when he was a member of *NSYNC may seem alarmed that someone their children listened to would make something so lewd looking.

In this case the surreal aspect was not that Justin Timberlake tried to make something that separated him from his *NSYNC roots, but that he would do something that subverted his former family friendly image from *NSYNC. But that does not mean that this song was not entertaining to listen to.


Music preferences change. For singers, that sometimes means changing one's image to attract new fans. But sometimes the older fans may think the change is weird for different reasons. But sometimes the changes present awesome opportunities for the singer to explore different genres when singing. Which is always nice to see.


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    • Jake Peralta profile image

      Jake Michael Peralta 19 months ago from Indio, California

      Good point.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 19 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      These were really interesting. Michael Jackson really did 're-invent' himself with 'Bad' and 'Thriller' and everyone still enjoyed the music but not every 're-imaging' goes that well! Miley Cyrus is one that comes to mind!


    • Jake Peralta profile image

      Jake Michael Peralta 20 months ago from Indio, California


    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 20 months ago from Oklahoma

      Interesting read.

    • Jake Peralta profile image

      Jake Michael Peralta 20 months ago from Indio, California

      Perhaps, but the faces they had really emphasized how much the makeup hid during their performances.

    • FatFreddysCat profile image

      Keith Abt 20 months ago from The Garden State

      Kiss' removal of their makeup was a do-or-die move. They'd released several unsuccessful records in a row and were in danger of going under. They had to do something drastic to get people talking about them again - and unmasking on MTV was the perfect vehicle for it. If they hadn't done it, they probably would have split up in 1983.